Troubled Rochester City Court Judge Leticia Astacio tried to buy a shotgun Monday but was turned away at three separate stores, according to law-enforcement sources.
The attempted purchases came on the day she was being derided in the press for getting an $11,000 pay raise – like all city court judges – though she has gone to work only two days in the last year.
Astacio responded – on Facebook Live – to that reporting with upset at being singled out, and with concerns about her personal security.
Based on accounts from three people familiar with the events of Monday, this is what seems to have happened: The judge went to the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Greece and attempted to purchase a shotgun.
The staff at the store refused to sell her the gun.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said that was due to store policy.
Astacio is on probation for a misdemeanor drunk driving incident. Typically, a person on misdemeanor probation is allowed to own and purchase firearms – unless the particulars of that specific probation prohibit it. No such restriction has been reported in the case of Leticia Astacio, and she did not respond to Facebook Messenger inquiries about it.
Gun dealers are legally allowed to use discretion in the selling of firearms. If they don’t feel good about a sale, they may decline the sale. Further, individuals and stores may have policies that are more restrictive than legal requirements.
Whatever the reason, based on interactions at the Greece Dick’s, employees refused to sell her a gun. Notified of this, Judge Astacio became very upset.
But not deterred.
She then apparently went to the Henrietta Dick’s Sporting Goods store, sometime after 8 p.m., and tried to buy a shotgun there.
The Dick’s company, however, has an internal computer system that connects its stores. And when a gun buyer is denied at one store, that person is flagged and refused at all Dick’s stores.
Sources say Astacio was denied at the Henrietta Dick’s and at the Henrietta Field and Stream – another Dick’s business that’s on the same computer system.
Sales clerks, after Astacio left, contacted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the matter and forwarded what it learned to probation officials overseeing Astacio’s case.
What does all this mean?
Leticia Astacio does not seem to be legally denied the right to own a gun, and the Second Amendment applies to her as much as it applies to anybody else. Even with her legal and professional difficulties, it’s likely she could legally buy a gun.
And she had spoken of her concern for her safety – wondering in a Facebook Live ramble if the state of New York – her employer – was doing enough to provide her security. Buying a shotgun in order to protect yourself is a reasonable action taken by reasonable people all the time.
But Astacio’s public behavior has been sometimes odd, and has been of concern to people in the public and in her profession.
And may have triggered the caution on the part of the Dick’s employees.
On a day when she was upset about the way she was portrayed in the paper and on the evening news, Leticia Astacio tried repeatedly to buy a shotgun.
And she was refused.
And people were concerned enough to call the police.
Maybe that’s nothing, and maybe it’s not.