A New Jersey man has lost access to his firearms after his own doctor reported him to authorities following a dispute.
Attorney James Maggs argued to state Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon during a hearing last week that he felt threatened by a phone call from Alfred Conti, whose guns were stripped due to red flag laws.
“It started out the first few seconds a normal call then quickly he became agitated,” Maggs said. “His overall demeanor I felt became threatening and I became alarmed.”
Maggs represents Dr. Matthew Kaufman and The Plastic Surgery Center of Shrewsbury, NJ. Kaufman had Conti’s firearms taken under the state’s red flag laws following a dispute between the two men. Now, Maggs and Kaufman want Conti’s guns to be seized indefinitely.
The dispute stemmed from neck surgery that was performed on Conti by Kaufman, which Conti deemed to be substandard. After the surgery failed to alleviate chronic pain in his neck, Conti complained, posted negative reviews about Kaufman on the internet, and began to start a social media campaign against Kaufman and his clinic.
Kaufman used the red flag laws in an attempt to strike back at Conti, who Kaufman has also sued for defamation. His scheme has worked like a dream against Conti, as red flag laws can be easily weaponized in civil disputes.
Law enforcement officials maintain that Conti was friendly while they were taking away his guns, and maintained his cool despite the fact that his rights were being egregiously tread upon.
“He was very cooperative in assisting us and his conversation with us,” said Dan Campanella, a Rumson police officer, during the court hearing about Conti’s demeanor.
“As far as (discussing) what had occurred, he maintained he never threatened anybody and has rightful grievances with both parties,” he added.
Currently, there is a class action lawsuit in New Jersey challenging the constitutionality of red flag laws:
A class action lawsuit was filed in a New Jersey court last month to challenge the constitutionality of red flag laws that take away firearms from an individual deemed a threat without due process following an arbitrary judicial decree.
Albert J. Rescinio is a New Jersey attorney representing David Greco, a man whose firearm was seized under the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2018 after the law went into effect in September. He is arguing that red flag laws abrogate the constitutional rights of citizens who have not committed any crime.
“Why can’t you give people the opportunity to know what is going on? To give them the opportunity to be heard?” Rescinio said. “You are being deprived of your constitutional rights without a hearing, without being given the opportunity to know what is going on.”
Rescinio is petitioning the court of law to issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent the implementation of Extreme Risk Protection Orders across the state. The lawsuit has been filed against New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, and several local law enforcement agencies.
Scott Bach, who works as executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, is working on a legal challenge against red flag laws too.
“The system is rigged against the honest gun owner,” he said.
The New Jersey red flag law allows a law enforcement officer, relative, or household member to petition the state Supreme Court to take away an individual’s firearms, despite the fact that they have committed no crime. The judge simply has to determine there is “good cause” to remove the guns, and they are seized by police indefinitely.
Red flag laws, passed in New Jersey and many other states in the wake of mass shootings, have effectively opened Pandora’s Box against law-abiding gun owners.
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