In the old Soviet and East German police states of the Cold War, police kept secret files on scores of common people. Information was fed to the police by thousands of clandestine sources – and a seemingly banal or routine interaction with nearly anyone could lead to a surprise “knock on the door” by authorities. During the late Soviet era, communist leadership moved away from the executions and purges of the Stalin years and began to increasingly rely upon medical professionals to diagnose “enemies of the state” as insane – thus, a routine trip to your doctor could lead to a visit from police.
Although the Cold War ended over two decades ago, a lawsuit filed December 17 in U.S. District Court in Rochester, NY alleges that such heavy-handed police-state tactics are presently being employed in Andrew Cuomo’s New York. The suit, filed by attorney Paloma Capanna on behalf of plaintiff Donald Montgomery, alleges that the New York State Police ordered the permanent confiscation of Mr. Montgomery’s registered handguns after he sought treatment for insomnia. The confiscation was ordered under Cuomo’s “SAFE Act” gun-control law.
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