New York county imposes drug test on concealed carry applicants

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

A federal judge in Syracuse, New York is set to hold a hearing tomorrow on a request for an injunction blocking many of New York’s latest restrictions on concealed carry holders, but new infringements on the right to keep and bear arms seem to be popping up by the day in the Empire State. The latest? A requirement from the Nassau County Police Department that all those applying for a concealed carry license must include the results of a urine analysis in their application packet.

The new provision was first picked up by Second Amendment attorney Stephen Stamboulieh, who posted a letter allegedly sent by the NCPD to at least one gun owner interested in acquiring a carry license. In addition to some other odd questions like asking if applicants have ever been treated for a developmental disability or whether there are minors in the home, applicants are also instructed to include “urine drug testing results” conducted by a US Department of Health and Human Services certified laboratory. The pee sample must also be submitted to the testing facility within 15 days of the applicant receiving notice, or else the department won’t move forward with processing their application.

This doesn’t appear to be a mandatory part of the new concealed carry laws imposed at the state level, which begs the question of who exactly decided that gun owners in Nassau County should be forced to pee in a cup before they can exercise a right protected by the Constitution.

There are plenty of reasons to object to this new requirement, starting with the constitutional concerns. This is a right we’re talking about, but New York continues to treat both gun ownership and carrying as if it’s a privilege to be doled out only to a chosen few after close and careful scrutiny of their background. That’s not how rights work. We start from the premise that our rights are intact, though we might lose them if we’re convicted of certain crimes or adjudicated as mentally defective. New York, on the other hand, starts from the position that no one gets to carry a firearm and only some individuals will be granted the ability to do so in a handful of locations if they’re able to demonstrate their worthiness to government officials. That’s about as far away from the “general right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense” that the Supreme Court outlined in Bruen as you can get without banning gun ownership outright.

And practically speaking, this drug-testing requirement is going to be ridiculously easy to get around. As I was telling my colleague Ed Morrissey of HotAir and our VIP Gold members during today’s live chat, I drive past a head shop in Powhatan, Virginia every time I have to go to Richmond, and I crack up every time I do when I see the signboard outside the business advertising fake urine for sale. I had no idea just how easily available that product is until I started doing a little research for this post and found multiple companies selling pretend pee, even on platforms like Amazon. Anybody intent on gaming the system is likely going to be able to do it if they’re willing to spend a little extra time and money to do so.

Most applicants, however, won’t have to worry about testing positive. Instead, this is just another needless imposition placed on them before they can exercise a constitutional right. They’ll have to come up with extra money for a drug test and perhaps even take time off work to drive there and produce a sample and then wait for the results before they can turn in their application; a burden that may prevent some folks from applying altogether.

For the anti-gun politicians shaping policy in New York that would undoubtably be a benefit, not a drawback to Nassau County’s mandated drug tests. I’d be curious to see what the courts might have to say about it, however, and hopefully we’ll all soon get that chance.