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A veteran had his antique guns confiscated after returning from a visit with his therapist. Arthur Lovi, 72, has been embroiled in an expensive legal battle after Illinois police officers confiscated his guns after the therapist reported what she herself deemed “not a viable threat.”
Arthur Lovi’s counselor claims that during a therapy appointment the senior citizen veteran made a threat against another doctor who treated his now-deceased wife a decade ago. The Arlington Heights therapist informed local police officers about the alleged verbal threat as per established policies, but also noted that Lovi was not a danger to either himself or others.
Years ago Cindy Lovi was reportedly falsely diagnosed with having a simple cold by the allegedly threatened doctor; however, during an appointment with a different doctor the following day, Lovi’s wife was told that she actually had leukemia. The Illinois veteran’s wife died several weeks later. The grieving husband wondered if the lost day of treatment could have impacted her survival rate.
During an interview with a local media outlet, Arthur Lovi had this to say about his thoughts about the initial treating physician:
“I’ll have hard feelings about it until the day I die. Not that a day would make a difference, but maybe it would have. I’ll never know. I felt like [during the recent therapy session] the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I don’t start trouble, I don’t look for trouble, but if somebody starts it with me, I’m going to stand up for myself. That’s just the way I’ve always been.”
While discussing the very emotional issue with his therapist, the Illinois veteran also spoke in detail about a 1960s Air Force crash he was involved in that has haunted him to this day. Lovi also talked about the drug overdose death of his son-in-law and the drowning death of his three-year-old granddaughter during the same appointment. The painful life experiences are what led the veteran to speak to the therapist. He had been seeing a Veterans Administration psychiatrist as well.
Illinois police officers came to Arthur Lovi’s home after the phone call from the therapist and asked if he owned any weapons. The retired veteran told the officers that he had three antique guns, including a century-old musket. The veteran’s home is decorated with a plethora of antiques, including vintage telephones, tea kettles, and old kerosene lamps. The guns sat upon his fireplace and were kept unloaded out of safety concerns for his frequently visiting grandchildren.
Lovi also reportedly told the officers that he had never fired any of the weapons. The law enforcement officers left the property without incident, but the reprieve did not last for long.
The doctor who misdiagnosed Cindy Lovi’s cold was then contacted by the police about the alleged threat. The doctor stated that he did not believe that his safety was in imminent jeopardy from Arthur Lovi. The situation should have ended there – but it did not. Prior to midnight the same night, Lovi’s son answered a knock at the door and saw five police officers standing on the front porch.
Police officers maintain that Lovi voluntarily turned over his guns when asked, but the veteran feels that the antique firearms and his FOID card were confiscated. The incident spawned the filing of a civil rights violation lawsuit by the elderly man. The legal action was filed by Meyer & Kiss LLC, a Chicago-based law firm. In the lawsuit, Arthur Lovi detailed his version of a contentious conversation with the officers leading up to the gun confiscation.
Lovi claims the officers threatened to “tear up his home” if they were not permitted inside, but the police report referred to the homeowner as cooperative and gave up his guns voluntarily. Several days after the late night encounter, the Illinois veteran called the police station and an officer came to the home. According to the lawsuit, when the man’s deceased wife was brought up during the course of the conversation, the officer thought Lovi became too upset and deemed that a psychiatric examination was necessary. The veteran claims that he was told if he did not get into the ambulance willingly, he would be handcuffed and physically escorted into the waiting squad car. An excerpt from the Arlington Heights Police report detailing the incident reads:
“Lovi agreed to have the Arlington Heights Fire Department paramedics respond to his residence and be transported to Northwest Community Hospital to speak with doctors there. Arlington Heights Fire Department responded and transported Lovi on a voluntary admission basis.”
Arthur Lovi’s attorney, Dan Kiss, had this to say about the gun confiscation:
“That’s an extreme abuse of power. It’s bad enough to come to someone’s house and take their guns. It’s another to get them effectively imprisoned under phony allegations of mental illness. We want a fair amount to compensate him for what he was put through. Not just the shock and embarrassment of police coming to his home without legal reason but also the direct attempt of police to try and have him civilly committed.”
The veteran was released the following day after treating doctors decided that the elderly man was not a danger to himself or others. Once Lovi had his release from the Northwest Community Hospital in hand, he went to the Arlington Heights Police Station to attempt to retrieve his antique guns and FOID card. The Illinois senior ultimately made a total of three trips to the same police station to regain possession of his property.
During one visit, he also took a letter from the therapist who reported the threat to the law enforcement officers. Lovi claims he was once told this his FOID card had been mailed to Springfield, which reportedly was later found to be untrue. Two months after the incident, the veteran utilized his NRA membership to find a law firm to help him foster the return of his guns and the FOID card.
The civil rights lawsuit alleged that one of the antique weapons was damaged and that both Lovi’s Second and Fourth Amendment rights had been violated. The civil litigation is ongoing and preliminary motions have been heard on several occasions. According to Arthur Lovi’s attorney, there have been settlement talks, but both parties remain very far apart from agreement.