This article is from the Law Officer  - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - by Laura L. Scarry

President Barack Obama quietly signed the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Improvements Act of 2010 on Oct. 12, 2010. It went into effect immediately. This Act, S.1132, amends the previous Act, frequently referred to H.R. 218 (i.e., LEOSA or National Concealed Carry Law).

After being signed by President George W. Bush on July 22, 2004, H.R. 2181 left many questions unanswered. The S.1132 amendment seeks to clarify those questions and adds further substance to the concealed carry law.
Under both Acts, two classes of persons—“qualified law enforcement officers” and “qualified retired law enforcement officers”—are permitted to carry concealed firearms while off duty in any jurisdiction in the U.S., across state lines, regardless of any state or local law to the contrary, with, of course, certain exceptions. One exception is that private citizens are permitted to prohibit the possession of concealed firearms on their property. Another exception is that a state can restrict the possession of a concealed weapon on its property.

S.1132 modified certain language and issues under the sections of H.R. 218 defining what it means to be a qualified law enforcement officer and a qualified retired law enforcement officer. A tremendous amount of effort went into modifying the section for qualified retired law enforcement officer due to the lack of consistent state standards.

Qualified Law Enforcement Officer

To be considered a qualified law enforcement officer a person must be an employee of a governmental agency who 1) “is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, and has statutory powers of arrest; 2) is authorized by the agency to carry a firearm; 3) is not the subject of any disciplinary action by the agency which could result in suspension or loss of police powers;2 4) meets standards, if any, established by the agency which require the employee to regularly qualify in the use of a firearm; 5) is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance; and 6) is not prohibited by federal law from receiving a firearm.”3

This privilege applies only to those qualified law enforcement officers who are carrying the “photographic identification issued by the governmental agency for which the individual is employed as a law enforcement officer.”4
Qualified Retired Law Enforcement Officers

To be considered a qualified retired law enforcement officer people must meet the following criteria: They must have 1) “separated from service5 in good standing from service with a public agency as a law enforcement officer; 2) before such separation6 was authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, and has statutory powers of arrest; 3)(A) before such separation, served as a law enforcement officer for an aggregate of 10 years or more; (B) separated from service with such agency, after completing any applicable probationary period of such service, due to a service-connected disability, as determined by such agency;7 4) during the most recent 12-month period, has met, at the expense of the individual, the standards for qualification in firearms training for active law enforcement officers, as determined by the former agency of the individual, the State in which the individual resides or, if the State has not established such standards, either a law enforcement agency within the State in which the individual resides or the standards used by a certified firearms instructor that is qualified to conduct a firearms qualification test for active duty officers within the State; (5)(A) has not been officially found by a qualified medical professional employed by the agency to be unqualified for reasons relating to mental health and as a result of this finding will not be issued the photographic identification as described in subsection (d)(1); or (B) has not entered into an agreement with the agency from which the individual is separating from service in which that individual acknowledges he or she is not qualified under this section for reasons relating to mental health and for those reasons will not receive or accept the photographic identification described in subsection (d)(1)8; 6) is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance; and 7) is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm.”9

This privilege applies only to those qualified “retired” law enforcement officers who are carrying a “photographic identification issued by the agency from which the individual separated from service as a law enforcement officer that indicates that the individual has, not less recently than one year before the date the individual is carrying the concealed firearm, been tested or otherwise found by the agency to meet the active duty standards for qualification in firearms training as established by the agency to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm; or (2)(A) a photographic identification issued by the agency from which the individual separated from service as a law enforcement officer; and (B) a certification issued by the state in which the individual resides or by a certified firearms instructor that is qualified to conduct a firearms qualification test for active duty officers within that state that indicates that the individual has, not less than one year before the date the individual is carrying the concealed firearm, been tested or otherwise found by the state or a certified firearms instructor that is qualified to conduct a firearms qualification test for active duty officers within that state to have met—(I) the active duty standards for qualification in firearms training, as established by the State, to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm; or (II) if the State has not established such standards, standards set by any law enforcement agency within that State to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm.”10

As illustrated above, S.1132 designates new qualification procedures that will make the process easier for a retired or separated law enforcement officer to meet the requirements of firearms qualifications. Firearms certification is now permitted to be in accordance with the standards of an officer’s former agency or the state where they reside. If the state in which they reside has no state training standards, then the standards established by a law enforcement agency within the state or by a certified firearms instructor for active officers within that state will do. These revisions were necessary to address the concerns over which standards to apply in those states with no standards.
The qualifications for retired officers must be the same as that for active-duty law enforcement officers, and the firearm used in the qualification must be of the type the individual intends to carry.

Further Revisions

The recent amendment expands the definition of qualified law enforcement officers and qualified retired law enforcement officers to law enforcement officers employed by the Amtrak Police Department and the Federal Reserve. The expanded definition also includes any “law enforcement officer or police officer of the executive branch of the Federal Government.”11
S.1132 also permits qualified law enforcement officers and qualified retired law enforcement officers to possess and carry any ammunition that isn’t expressly prohibited by federal law or subject to the provisions of the National Firearms Act.12 That said, possession and carrying of any submachine gun, firearm silencer or destructive device is still prohibited.13
No doubt, the new amendments may pose additional questions for officers desiring to carry weapons across state lines. Nonetheless, S.1132 is getting law enforcement officers closer to doing so without negative repercussions.

References

  1. Codified at 18 U.S.C. Sections 926B (for current law enforcement officers) and 926C (for retired law enforcement officers).
  2. S.1132 added the italicized language.
  3. 18 U.S.C. 926B(c).
  4. 18 U.S.C. 926B(d).
  5. S.1132 replaces the word “retired” and deletes “other than for reasons of mental instability.”
  6. S.1132 replaces the word “retirement.”
  7. S.1132 replaces the word “retirement” and “retired” and reduces the aggregate years of service from 15 to 10.
  8. The italicized language is new per S.1132.
  9. 18 U.S.C. 926C(c).
  10. 18 U.S.C. 926C(d). The italicized language is the new language of S.1132. 
  11. 18 U.S.C. 926B(f) and 926C(e)(2).
  12. 18 U.S.C. 926B(e)(1)&(2) and 926C(e)(1)(A)&(B).
  13. 18 U.S.C. 926B(e)(3) and 926C(e)(1)(C).

 

Do not construe this column as legal advice. Each police officer should consult with an attorney in their jurisdiction for legal advice.

Editors Note:  LEOFF1.Net has been asked to advertise insurance for retired officers who choose to carry a concealed weapon.  We do not accept advertising, but the insurance seems to be a good idea.  You should probably check with your homeowners insurance company, the NRA or other firms about insurance.  The firm that contact us is LEOSA-HR218 Self Defense Protection. It is run by a retired Secret Service agent but we do not know much about the firm and make not specific recommendation as to how good this insurance or the company actually is.