I’m a “high-powered attorney” in the same sense that a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 is a “high-powered assault rifle.” Sure, I may have have the appearance of being one: I work for a national law firm, dealing with cases involving huge corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. At the same time, however, I’m far from the partnership fast track. That’s okay with me — the people I work with are nice, and I figure that being at home on a regular basis with wife and child count for more than a few extra bucks at the end of the year . . .

Every once in a while, though, I think about doing something else, and at those times I have contemplated a job with the federal or state government. At the end of the day, the hours are short(er), benefits are good, and the work can be interesting.

Nassau County, New York, however, just took itself out of the running, however. The policies enforced by Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas (above) make the price of admission too high for me. UCLA Professor Eugene Volokh at the Washington Post has the story.

The Nassau County District Attorney’s office bars prosecutors from having a handgun, even at home:

[A]ssistant district attorneys are not permitted to apply for a handgun permit nor own or possess a handgun while employed by the Nassau County District Attorney. Any exception to this policy must be in writing and approved by the District Attorney.

I asked the office about the reasons for the policy, and its answer was:

Our practice of asking prosecutors to not possess handguns is to ensure the safety and comfort of staff, victims, and witnesses, and is consistent with other district attorney’s offices in the New York City metropolitan area.

Okay, Nassau County’s response to Prof. Volokh’s question is vacuous, especially when you consider that staff, victims, and witnesses have to encounter police officers, federal agents, and other members of alphabet agencies who most certainly are authorized to carry firearms, and most likely are doing so. The idea that an armed attorney might – I don’t know – set off an anxiety attack in those people, or go on a shooting spree at work while an armed police officer might not is just incoherent. This is even more troubling when you consider that employees in the D.A.’s office will often find themselves prosecuting cases against some of the worst elements of society.

While I might have some sympathy for the position that the D.A. doesn’t want untrained employees bringing firearms to work and leaving them unsecured (a bit of negligence that police are not immune to) there’s absolutely no reasonable basis for a policy banning employees from owning handguns. Other than the fact that someone higher up wanted to score some political points, the constitutional rights of the employees be damned.

Just so we’re all clear, this is akin to the D.A.’s office banning its employees from having abortions, engaging in homosexual relationships, voting for Republicans, or simply being of Japanese ancestry. The fact that the office saw fit to actually enact this policy — and that its attorneys and other staff tamely agreed to it — speaks volumes about both the D.A.’s leadership, as well as the mentality of the people who have chosen to work there — all of whom are in part responsible for enforcing the law and protecting civil liberties in Nassau County.

To make matters worse, Prof. Volokh also points out a wrinkle that makes Nassau County’s gun ban even more shocking: this policy may actually be in violation of New York state law. N.Y. Labor Code § 201-d specifically states that an employer cannot “refuse to hire, employ or license, or…discharge from employment or otherwise discriminate against an individual in compensation, promotion or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of…an individual’s legal recreational activities outside work hours, off of the employer’s premises and without the use of the employer’s equipment or other property….”

Handgun collection is a “lawful, leisure-time activity, for which the employee receives no compensation and which is generally engaged in for recreational purpose”; it falls into the subcategory of “hobbies.” It’s conducted “off of the employer’s premises and without use of the equipment or other property.” And whatever the DA’s office worries about prosecutors killing their co-workers might be, those worries don’t fall within the category of “material conflict of interest.”…

So handgun collectors would likely be protected by the statute as well as the Second Amendment. The same would be true for recreational handgun target shooters, if the ban on “possessing” handguns is read broadly enough to cover possessing of a rented or borrowed gun for the duration of the activity. And ordinary handgun owners, who are interested in self-defense rather than collecting, would be protected just by the Second Amendment.

Perhaps this is also what happens to a disarmed populace. Not only are they disarmed against physical attack, but apparently they lose their willingness to defend their own constitutional and statutory rights.

Even when they are lawyers.

 

DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

[Hat tip: Felix.]

53 Responses to Nassau County, NY District Attorney’s Office is Disarmed

  1. First, Re public sector law work. The SEC is the highest paying. My brother is a upper level manager at one of the district offices. Loves it. His wife is vp if legal at a major corporation.
    Re Nasshole DA, it would appear they want to be sure to only hire far left anti gun zealots rather than those who love liberty.
    They want people who are liberal to the core and willing to do anything the job including advertising to criminals that it is safe to attack them at home.

    • this factoid may be worthy of a Craiglist post. . . sorta like the local paper there did naming all of the gun owners and posting home addresses on a website. Wouldn’t it be cool to post the name and home addresses of all of the local prosecutors? Yeah, to say there would be a worker revolt is an understatement. . . . well, no more speeding tickets enforced for awhile as the po-po would be assigned to babysit prosecutors.

        • How many people just let out of prison for charges that were trumped-up would love to know the prosecutor who put them away can’t have a gun at home?

          That DA just may incite a mass running for the exits of his employees…

          *snicker*

  2. The road to hell…

    By the way (yes I’m an old guy and actually spell out words) 1 hour and 19 minutes of Gene Wars….not giving any comment tator that much of my time.

    • If you know how to spell words why did you spell ‘commentator’ “comment tator”?

      Just curious…

      (I know I can’t spell worth a flip…)

      🙂

    • It’s like a comment tater tot – delicious snack or side dish! “I don’t feel comfortable yadda, yadda, yadda…” I’ve been hearing that uttered so many times and don’t give a flying fish whether you feel comfortable or not. My 2A rights trump your comfort so sayeth this low-powered lawyer.

  3. $20 says that cutie has a gun at home because, well, because she sets the rules. that and since it is public knowledge her folks are unarmed even at home. . . . it makes sure she can protect herself when the locals decide to ride her train, if you know what I mean.

    • Cutie, sort of…. But no woman who is, or imagines herself, attractive thinks that the rules apply to her… There is absolutely zero chance that she obeys the rules she sets for others. A lawyer. A politician. A woman. No effing way her ivory tower is afflicted by law, policy, anything.

    • It is more likely she has a big person with a big gun, not that she has the papers to carry herself IMO. Pretty much one of the first rules of being a gun control hypocrite, have someone else do your dirty work.

    • “. . . it makes sure she can protect herself when the locals decide to ride her train, if you know what I mean.”

      If your Boo Shannon was ‘pulling a train’ would be willing to be the caboose?

      🙂

  4. Yup, seems to me to be a clear violation of the individual civil rights of an employee under color of law. there is no conceivable basis for denying employees the right to keep and bear arms away from the workplace. Further, there are innumerable DAs who have been threatened–and more–who are granted concealed carry licenses for their own protection. Stupidity at the highest level. One of these guys should sue. And the employees did not “tamely” accept this policy, they “lamely” did so.

  5. To bad this policy can’t be brought before the Utah State Supreme Court. It is a very clear violation of NY law and our beleaguered Constitution. Allow it to stand, and what will they want to ban next in your home? Don’t say free choice or free will. They’ve already done that with this rule.

      • She is clearly violating the law her legal staff knows that. They are also civil servants so she just can’t tell someone to pack up his/her desk. So my guess is that the assistant DA’S agree with her or they are ignoring her illegal order.

  6. Why do I think they also have the ability to enforce these ridiculous rules? I bet you have to jump through all manner of hoops in NY before you can buy a gun, and that those hoops are cycled past offices like this so they know if you try to buy a gun in defiance of their unconstitutional, illegal prohibition. Good luck in TX, we’d just say “yes, sir, you bet!”, and add another gun to the collection.

  7. Wow. Talk about infringement…
    I guess I’ve got mixed emotions. First is to call BS on this blatant infringement of the Second Amendment.
    Then it’s F### ’em. They are the government.

  8. “Any exception to this policy must be in writing and approved by the District Attorney.”

    All animals are equal, pigs are more equal.

    • Another “Sandy”, during a LIRR Strike, and they (the non-private-chopper-to-elsewhere crowd [not to be confused with many in Manhasset]) will be on each other. And the people that come running, won’t be the rescue team.
      + it’s a warm invitation for an invasion force to land on their beaches.

  9. Systematic workplace-wide governmental suppression of individual civil rights to self-defense.
    Does County law superced NY State Law?
    LongEyelanders- a question: Is Nassau County progtarded corrupt or just criminal incompetent and stoopid?

    Thought experiment- what if all Attorneys in Nassau County were denied birth control, on the grounds that its a conflict of interest or some silliness.

    Can you imagine the hue and cry, the flapping of feathers and clacking of beaks in feminazi-land?
    Someone’s head would be served on a platter for daring to consider it…

    Does this provide an opportunity for a class-action lawsuit? This is begging for an activist lawyer or conservative legal rights entity to draw attention to the hypocrisy and stoopid in NY government.

    • “Does this provide an opportunity for a class-action lawsuit?”

      Wondering that myself.

      Only problem is, can they do it anonymously?

      They may need whistleblower protection…

    • I think the way I’d approach this is for the spouse of an assistant DA to apply for a permit. Then, this DA fires the assistant DA. He sues. His wife has a fundamental right to keep a handgun in the home. He, a husband, is being fired for his wife’s exercise of her right. Where does this lead?

      A husband is an employee of a Catholic school. He can be fired if his wife uses the pill?
      An employee is fired because he marries a person of the wrong faith or race?
      A government employee is fired because his spouse campaigns for a Republican?

  10. We have some family friends who live in Westchester County. Wife get appointed to the bench (not sure which one, fairly low level). Husband is ecstatic, because wife can finally get a carry permit – pretty much only judges, DAs and the super-rich can get carry permits in Westchester.

  11. I work for a national law firm, dealing with cases involving huge corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

    I also worked for a national law firm, dealing with matters involving huge corporations and governments with not just millions, but billions of dollars at stake. It was the biggest mind job of all time. And then I got out, made more money and actually got home at night in time for dinner.

  12. She’s advocating being defenseless. I wouldn’t shed a single tear if she or anyone from her office was victimized by a NY thug. Then again, she’s probably got armed security on standby like most anti-gun hypocrites like Obama and Bloomberg.

  13. If my boss would tell what I can or can’t do in my spare time, he would be talking to my lawyer (in this case that would be intresting) and I would be looking for another job. this is absolutly ridiculous

  14. The policy is a work rule, not a law. They’re lawyers. Just ignore the work rule and litigate if challenged. At least they won’t have to pay attorneys fees.

    • “Dear Ms. Singas,
      As an attorney under your supervision and employed in this department for XXX years, I refuse to abide by your policy prohibiting me from owning and/or carrying a firearm as allowed by the laws of this state. If you chose to terminate my employment my attorney will promptly file a suit for wrongful termination.
      Respectfully,
      John Q. Public”

  15. Somewhat repeating myself from over at Volokh, but part of the problem here is that these attorneys are at increased risk due to their jobs. They are involved in sending people away to prison for years, decades, and maybe even the rest of their lives. We have all heard of cases where defendants, convicts, or their family, friends, and acquaintances attempt to threaten or exact revenge on prosecutors. Apparently, even in jurisdictions where carry permits are hard to come by, prosecutors are typically considered in enough danger that they qualify for such, along with judges and police. Instead, this DA has, in essence, pasted a sign on their backs telling the world that her prosecutors are unarmed and essentially defenseless and vulnerable.

    • Excellent arguments. And it is good that our noble legislators have carved-out a special privilege for judges and prosecutors. And, did they ensure that these specially-privlidged individuals are trained and periodically qualified just like their police?

      No? You are kidding! Do you mean to tell me that un-trained and un-qualified agents of the State are walking around among us carrying Gunzzzzzz? Why is that?

      Oh; it’s because it doesn’t require all that much training and qualification to ensure the safety of the public for an individual to carry a gun in public?

      Oh, OK. Now, tell me why a single mother living in Harlem working 2’nd shift at a 7-11 isn’t exposed to a still greater risk of assault or murder than a DA working 9-5?

      These special carve-outs for judges, DAs, prison guards, men-of-means, guards of the property of men-of-means are an unexploited opportunity for PotG. They represent a fissure into which we could – if we mustered the effort – to drive a wedge.

      Why are these privileged people allowed to carry guns without training comparable to that required of the police? Compel them to train and qualify! It’s for the public safety!! They won’t? OK, then explain why they don’t represent a threat to public safety? Oh, they are careful law-abiding people. Just like that single mother? Oh, no, these law-abiding people are exposed to special risks of assault? Just like that single mother working 2’nd shift at a 7-11 in Harlem?

      Ostensibly, we carry on this dialogue with our legislators; but our real audience is the voter. Just exactly what is the difference between the Old-Fat-White-Judge and our single-mother in Harlem? The Young-Urban-Professional-Double-Income-No-Kids- Assistant DA and our single-mother in Harlem? The prison guard and our single-mother in Harlem?

      Isn’t it perfectly clear that our legislature is there to serve the interests of the elite judge, DA, guard, man-of-means? Isn’t it equally clear that our legislature doesn’t care one wit about the single-mother in Harlem?

      Once the voters get the idea – that the single-mother in Harlem does NOT matter – then we can talk about Sheriff Clark’s and Chief Craig’s constituents. Have their constituents demonstrated that they are responsible bearers of guns?

  16. Sounds like a good start. More government employees should be disarmed. Citizens should own weapons, not government employees.

    • the ACLU are a bunch of bottom feeders. They only take cases where they can financially stranglehold city governments and defend the rights of Pedophiles . The ACLU can kiss my backside.

  17. Johannes, about half way through this I started hearing Rod Serling saying “You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. …”.

    Whoa.

  18. In all likelihood, the DA’s office has already excluded gun owners from employment in the first place. Check out the employment application package from the DA’s website:

    https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10473

    On p.4 is an “Applicant Questionaire,” which asks:

    Have you ever used, sold, or given away any illegal drugs?
    Are you, or have you ever been, delinquent with respect to the filing of federal or state income tax returns?
    Have you ever had a license to possess a firearm in this state or any other state?
    Have you ever gambled illegally?
    Have you ever been terminated from any employment?
    Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?
    Have you ever been convicted of any traffic violations?
    Has any state ever suspended or revoked your driver’s license?
    Have you ever declared bankruptcy?

    The form goes on to say that a “yes” answer will not necessarily disqualify an applicant. Yeah, right.

  19. I’m sick of the “assault weapon” term, an improper term of propaganda. Off topic, okay, but I despise it. NY, nuff said. How bad is it to disarm people in a Country when it is stated you have the Right to be armed? A sickness.

  20. Nassau County. I grew up there 60’s and early 70’s. Left a long time ago and rarely go back. Insanely high taxes and extremely corrupt politics. Indictments and convictions of county and township level politicians for various forms of graft and influence peddling were non-stop. I don’t think any of this has changed — except back then the voters were a lot more conservative than now. Back then, an enterprising DA chose to seek murder charges against a homeowner for failing to retreat upstairs during a home invasion, and instead shooting the criminal who was fully inside the home at the time of the confrontation. Just like this DA would do. Except back then, the grand jury refused to indict, and at the next election the DA was kicked out of office. A good outcome that would probably not happen today.

  21. Darwinism at its finest. Definitely a violation of the 2nd. I wonder if Hillary would be on the same page as this crap? Posting their home addresses sounds like a good idea.No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS
    Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word. mrpresident2016.com

  22. I does appear that this rule may very well been in effect long before Ms. Singas’s tenure. It appears she had nothing to do with this. Nice try in attempting to make some kind of issue for a lackey like her opponent to use.
    Furthermore, that rule has nothing to do with the issues of this race. Stick to the issues, how about learning the issues of the race. Gun control has nothing to do with the DA race.
    The main issue is her opponent has NEVER prosecuted a single case.

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