Pharmacists On Long Island Increasingly Trying To Pack Heat

They Don't Like The Idea, But Hate Notion Of Getting Robbed Or Shot More

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Pharmacists across Long Island are racing to protect themselves.

This action has been deemed necessary amid desperate and deadly robberies tied to painkiller abuse, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

There is a new vigilance for rattled druggists — security cameras, hidden panic buttons, alarms, bulletproof glass and oxycontin supplies removed.

On top of all that, pharmacists are now going for gun permits to pack a pistol.

“I hate to say it — it’s either him or me. So we are going down that road again. We are going to apply for that pistol permit and I’m going to start carrying a gun again because the current situation has pushed me to this. It’s not something that I want to do. I hope I never have to use it,” Uniondale pharmacist Donald Cantalino said.

Cantalino once had a gun two decades ago, but gave it up. But on the heels of David Laffer’s unspeakable drug store murder spree in Medford last Father’s Day and the ATF agent’s killing following the recent pharmacy robbery in Seaford, he and others feel the need to protect themselves, their employees and customers from armed thugs desperate to score highly addictive painkillers.

“I don’t like guns at all — not at all. I don’t even have a gun at house,” Seaford pharmacist Amin Ladha said, but added when asked why he wants one, “so many robberies in my neighborhood.”

Officials in Nassau and Suffolk point to a sharp increase in gun-permit applications over the past six months.

“Applications for handgun permits are up. We see a rise on people wanting to be able to defend themselves,” said Andrew Chernoff of Coliseum Gun Traders.

Gun experts are explaining to pharmacists there is a six-month processing wait for background checks. And they are suggesting a basic firearms training course in safe handling and correct use.

How do customers feel about “locked and loaded” pharmacists?

“I see exactly where he’s coming from, because that’s scary. So he’s carrying a weapon to defend himself,” patron Barb Steifel said.

“So I’m in the midst of a shootout? When I’m trying to get medication? I don’t think so,” Caprise Johnson said.

Cantalino said he’s leaving nothing to chance anymore.

“They may shoot first and ask questions later. So my new theory is I would rather be judged by 12 jurors, than carried by six pallbearers,” Cantalino said.

Others are hiring retired cops, cutting back hours and refusing to fill certain prescriptions.

More than 250 of Long Island’s 600 pharmacies are independent mom and pop drug stores. Many of them say they are reluctant to make changes because they want to remain “community” pharmacies.

What do you think of pharmacists packing heat? Would that make you feel more or less safe? Sound off in our comments section.

  • Bethany Rice

    Had to tweet this. I ride when I can – but will have to do this all next week. More people certainly should.
    Welcome to my site registered advisor.

  • ks

    Ok. in a small rural pharmacy, we are vulnerable to armed robbery. The deterrent should be an armed pharmacist as well s armed techs. It is a FACT that guns DETER crime. Even the FBI results show this to be true. Deal with facts. When the Germans were disarmed by Hitler, crime got really bad. The Brits, disarmed, are fair game for crime. The list goes on.

  • CommonSense

    Arm the good citizens. It’s about time people stop fearing guns in responsible hands. Put the criminals on notice. Stand up for your rights. It’s about time that the law abiding have the same defense as the thugs that are running our streets.

  • fritz von

    Now all the good little liberals like firearms?

  • greene_teeth

    Mom and Pop pharmaceuticals started this centuries ago. When is the deliveries for untreated mary jane coming to town? I cannot do meth or methadone or cocaine or any type of glue or pine needles or crystals or sugar or alcohol. Mom and Pop cookies just about killed me. I would prefer standalone ingredients to make my own cookies.

  • Larry Schwarz

    Pharmacists should not carry guns.A gun shot can strike an innocent person and guess what.If it came from The Pharmacists gun the pharmacist is likely to be hit with a wrongful death suit.We have had many Pharmacy robberies here in Salt Lake City.They give them what they want and Police catch the punks over 90% of the time.I agree there have been some deaths on Long Island,This is Tragic.Pharmacies should take extra security,perhaps hire off duty Police to work as security.But no guns.If a Pharmacy gets robbed give the punks whatr they want,The cops will get them.If The Pharmacist gave them arsenic then The Pharmacist would face charges.Facing charges and being convicted by a jury are two different things and a good lawyer could get this tossed.To bad it’s not a perfectt world.

    • Michelle

      I am a pharmacist. The people robbing pharmacies are there to get drugs. Plain and simple. We can assume the robber is either under the influence or going through withdrawal. Either way, they are not in a normal state of mind. You don’t know if you will survive the robbery. I would rather carry a gun and have the option of defending myself than take my chances on a drug addict robber. If you don’t feel safe with your pharmacist carrying a firearm, then don’t go to that pharmacy. The pharmacist should have the right to self defense, regardless of your opinion on the matter. My employer doesn’t allow weapons at work, so I don’t carry. But I would like to.

    • Nick

      You’re right Schwarz. That’s why Hitler didn’t let Jews pack heat either. What if they took a shot at a Nazi and missed? They would have been sued than. The Gas Oven is a much better alternative. Or in the case of the pharmacists, the casket is better than a law suit, yes?

    • Hire off duty police

      Why are they so cheap to hire off-duty police for security with the prices of medication .First thing they should do is hire off duty law enforcement before getting guns and have shootouts in stores.

      • DanTe

        You mean the same police that keeps shooting innocent bystanders in shootouts?

        Stooopid Jew.

  • The Facts

    All law abiding, capable and well trained citizens and legal residents should exercise their Second Amendment rights and make our communities safer. The police cannot be everywhere to prevent crimes and stop those in progress.

  • lawman

    couple 380″s one for pharmicist, one for clerk… thagt should be sufficfient

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