Nassau County (N.Y.) Assistant DAs Barred from Possessing Handguns:

A reader pointed me to an odd policy:

[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.
And the applicant questionnaire asks the following questions:
1. Have you ever used, sold, or given away any illegal drugs? _________
2. Are you, or have you ever been, delinquent with respect to the filing of federal or state income tax returns? _________
3. Have you ever had a license to possess a firearm in this state or any other state? _________
4. Have you ever gambled illegally? _________
5. Have you ever been terminated from any employment? _________
6. Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense? _________
7. Have you been convicted of any traffic violations? _________
8. Has any state ever suspended or revoked your driver's license? _________
9. Have you ever declared bankruptcy? _________

To be sure, the questionnaire states, "NOTE: AN AFFIRMATIVE RESPONSE WILL NOT NECESSARILY SERVE, IN AND OF ITSELF, AS A DISQUALIFICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT," and at least as to some of these items that must surely be so: Consider the traffic violations question. Moreover, the government is surely free to ask about things that are not themselves illegal (such as declaring bankruptcy, or being terminated from a job) in case they reflect on the person's likely future job performance, or in case they might uncover other conduct that is illegal or that might reflect on the person's likely future job performance.

Still, the firearms question strikes me as something that one wouldn't expect to see in the company of the other questions. The other questions all deal either with misconduct, poor judgment, unreliability, or with something that is often — though not always — the result of misconduct, poor judgment, or unreliability (being terminated from a job or bankruptcy). Why is gun possession, especially licensed gun possession, of similar interest to the employer?

It also seems odd that the question focuses only on licensed possession, given that in many states one doesn't need a license to possess a firearm. I wonder whether that reflects a considered judgment that licensed possession is more relevant to the hiring decision than unlicensed possession, or just a lack of understanding of how guns are dealt with in much of the U.S.

In any case, this struck me as odd enough to note, and to ask further about. Does anyone happen to know the reasons for the policy? I e-mailed the office on the 5th about this, and they promptly acknowledged my message, but I haven't heard back from them yet on the substance; if I do, I'll pass along their response.

Thanks to Mike Guasco for the pointer.

UPDATE: I reposted this to fix a glitch with the comments; if you tried commenting on the original and couldn't, please try again.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Does Nassau County D.A.'s No-Handgun-Possession Policy Violate New York Law?
  2. Nassau County (N.Y.) Assistant DAs Barred from Possessing Handguns: