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Blasdell man gets his firearms back after long court battle

Michael K. Goodfellow went to State Supreme Court to get his guns back.

Blasdell police took his weapons from him 2½ years ago, following a domestic dispute when he threatened to harm himself. He was not charged with any crime. And he went through a mental evaluation.

But when Goodfellow went to police to get his guns back, they refused to return the firearms – three rifles, two shotguns, two pistols and a revolver – explaining that he needed a court order.

It took him a year and a half to get the weapons back.

State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Chimes eventually agreed it was time the weapons be returned, and signed the order in early February.

Goodfellow picked up his guns Feb. 9, after producing the court order signed Feb. 5, according to Lt. Joseph Gramaglia of the Blasdell police.

“Police departments generally don’t return guns without a court order, and that includes us,” Gramaglia said.

It is a matter of safety, Gramaglia said.

“I don’t give guns back without a court order,” he said. “I don’t want that on my conscience.”

The case goes back to the evening of July 22, 2013, when Goodfellow apparently was having a very bad Monday. Police received a call from Goodfellow’s wife, who said that the couple had argued and that her husband was talking about suicide.

Goodfellow was walking along Miriam Avenue in Blasdell saying his goodbyes to people, according to the police report, and he carried a pistol.

The Blasdell officers who responded later reported that Goodfellow, then 36, did not give them any trouble when they found him. He turned over the pistol and went peacefully to the police station.

He also agreed to surrender other firearms he owned – standard law enforcement procedure in cases involving domestic arguments or suicide threats – and an officer who went to his house collected seven more guns. Altogether, Goodfellow gave up a .22 rifle, a LR .308 semi-automatic rifle, a Marlin 22LR, a Mossburg 500A shotgun, a Taurus revolver and two pistols, a Walther P22 and a Glock 27. Police also confiscated Goodfellow’s pistol permit.

Goodfellow was not charged with any crime, Gramaglia said, and the report describes him as “very cooperative at all times.”

Following procedures outlined in the state’s Mental Hygiene law regarding people who may be a danger to themselves or others, officers took Goodfellow to Erie County Medical Center for a precautionary psychiatric evaluation.

Goodfellow was “subsequently evaluated and released” from ECMC, he said in his lawsuit.

A year after he was picked up, the suit said, Goodfellow asked the police to return his weapons. The Police Department told him he needed a court order and in December 2014, Goodfellow sued.

The Erie County Pistol Permit Bureau reviewed his case and found no grounds to suspend his permit, his lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also asserted that Goodfellow was not the subject of any order of protection, and that he has no other legal matters pending that would make him ineligible to own or possess firearms.

Goodfellow could not be reached to comment on the amount of time it took to recover his property.