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LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS SAFETY ACT (LEOSA)
Signed into law on July 22, 2004, by President George W. Bush and codified as 18 U.S.C. §§ 926B & C, LEOSA was intended to afford qualified active (QLEO) and qualified retired law enforcement officers (QRLEO) the privilege of carrying a concealed firearm in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and all other U.S. possessions (except the Canal Zone) notwithstanding any other provision of the law of any state or political subdivision thereof.
In 18 USC § 926B(c), "qualified law enforcement officer" is defined as an employee of a governmental agency who:
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, or apprehension under section 807(b) of title 10, United States Code (article 7(b) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice); is authorized by the agency to carry a firearm; is not the subject of any disciplinary action by the agency which could result in suspension or loss of police powers; meets standards, if any, established by the agency which require the employee to regularly qualify in the use of a firearm; is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance; and is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm. Additionally, 18 USC § 926B requires that the individual must carry photographic identification issued by the governmental agency for which the individual is employed that identifies the employee as a police officer or law enforcement officer or correctional officer of the agency.
On-duty status determines LEOSA-eligibility. Thus, as long as the person meets the definition of "qualified law enforcement officer" in an on-duty capacity, whether an officer is a full-time, part-time, or reserve peace officer is not relevant in determining whether a person is a "qualified law enforcement officer" under LEOSA. LEOSA's definition of "qualified law enforcement officer" does not include a requirement that a person have law enforcement authority off-duty.
In 18 USC § 926C(c), "qualified retired law enforcement officer" is defined as an individual who:
separated from service in good standing from service with a public agency as a law enforcement officer; before such separation, 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 had statutory powers of arrest or apprehension under section 807(b) of title 10, United States Code (article 7(b) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice); before such separation, served as a law enforcement officer for an aggregate of 10 years or more; or 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; 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 that State; 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 photographic identification; or 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 photographic identification; is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance; and is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm.
Not all police agencies, departments issue their retired and fully qualified law enforcement officers with photo ID, this has created an issue. There is some debate regarding this requirement to show other ID, and some military members have successfully demonstrated that a military (retired or otherwise) photo ID is sufficient ID for the purposes of LEOSA.
Photographic identification issued by the agency from which the individual separated from service as a law enforcement officer that identifies the person as having been employed as a police officer or law enforcement officer and 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 photographic identification issued by the agency from which the individual separated from service as a law enforcement officer that identifies the person as having been employed as a police officer or law enforcement officer; and 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 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 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.
So called "Gun Free Zones"
Not exempt from 'Gun Free Zones' 10USC922(q)
LEOSA does not override the federal Gun-Free School Zone Act (GFSZA) which prohibits carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of elementary or secondary schools. Although the GFSZA authorizes on-duty law enforcement officers to carry firearms in such circumstances, off-duty and retired law enforcement officers are still restricted from doing so unless they have a firearms license issued from the state in which they reside and then it is only good for the state in which they reside. Individuals must also obey any federal laws and federal agency policies that restrict the carrying of concealed firearms in certain federal buildings and lands, as well as federal regulations prohibiting the carriage of firearms on airplanes.
What You Can Not Carry
Prohibited items are:
Full Auto Firearms
To qualify for LEOSA, the active or retired officer must re-qualify annually. Currently the practice is in Maryland that if your agency/department/etc. offers qualification, you should qualify there. If your agency/department does not, the Maryland State Police Training Commission has been doing the recertification (shooting qualification), for personnel they have previously verified are qualified under LEOSA. They do this as a curtesy to other retired officers. Fee is $50, includes training, two courses of fire (day/simulated low-light), minimum score for each is the same as active police officers and both must be passed, a written test. Upon successfully completing all of these requirements, a photo ID "Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Concealed Firearm Carry Certification" card is issued to the qualified officer.
Benefits State Handgun Permits In Addition To
This is subjective. Originally, when LEOSA was relatively new, the MDSP Training Commission head instructor did recommend that officers also apply for the normal MD State 'Wear and Carry' (aka CCW) permit. I believe this was because there was some ambiguity in the early years about who exactly qualified as a active or retired LEO. There have been two amendments to the law since then, and it is now very clear and little ambiguity. Many more law enforcement agencies and officers are now aware of LEOSA, and recognize it as it was truly intended - a national CCW permit for active and retired LEO's. So I have not heard the Training Commission recommend getting a Maryland State Permit in several years. The biggest advantage to having other State permits in addition to the LEOSA permit is that it adds additional credibility and helps LEOSA qualified holders to understand and communicate better with individuals that only have a State Permit.
2010 amendment In 2010, LEOSA was amended by the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Improvements Act of 2010, which specifically extended coverage to include law enforcement officers of the Amtrak Police, Federal Reserve Police, and law enforcement officers of the executive branch of the Federal Government. The provisions for disqualification on mental health grounds and the provisions regarding qualifications to carry a firearm were amended, and the number of aggregate years for retired officers was reduced from fifteen to ten. In addition the definition of a firearm was expanded to include any ammunition not prohibited by the National Firearms Act of 1934. This was done to exempt qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from the prohibitions against carrying hollow-point ammunition that is in force in New Jersey (except for their peace officers and active federal law enforcement officers) and a few other locations. The concept of "retirement" was replaced with "separated from service" and the requirement that the retired officer have a nonforfeitable right to retirement benefits was eliminated.
2013 amendment In 2013, LEOSA was again amended by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013, effective January 2, 2013 after President Obama signed Public Law 112-239 (H.R. 4310). Section 1089 of the NDAA contained language which further clarified that military police officers and civilian police officers employed by the U.S. Government unambiguously met the definitions in the original Act. The definitions of "qualified active" and "qualified retired" law enforcement officer include the term "police officers" and expanded the powers of arrest requirement definition to include those who have or had the authority to "apprehend" suspects under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Senator Patrick Leahy, a key sponsor of the bill, remarked "The Senate has agreed to extend that trust to the law enforcement officers that serve within our military. They are no less deserving or worthy of this privilege and I am very pleased we have acted to equalize their treatment under the federal law". He further stated "The amendment we adopt today will place military police and civilian police officers within the Department of Defense on equal footing with their law enforcement counterparts across the country when it comes to coverage under LEOSA."
The first known criminal prosecution against an individual asserting concealed carry privileges under LEOSA occurred in New York in People v. Rodriguez, Indictment No. 2917 (2006). Rodriguez was a full-time construction worker who was also employed as a Pennsylvania State Constable. He was arrested in New York City for criminal possession of a weapon. He testified in a hearing that he was authorized, qualified, and certified to carry a weapon in his state as a constable. The Court took judicial notice of the various Pennsylvania statutes that authorize constables to carry firearms, make arrests, serve process, and enforce the law. Upon applying LEOSA in terms of the known facts, the Court dismissed the charge against Rodriguez and held that he was covered by section 926B though constables are elected law enforcement officers and they lack government funding.
A number of other courts have held that Coast Guard boarding officers are qualified under LEOSA. In People against Benjamin L. Booth, Jr., Indictment No. 2007-940 (2007), a county court in Orange County, New York, dismissed a criminal charge against Booth, an off-duty member of the Coast Guard, who had been arrested for carrying a loaded handgun in a vehicle. The court held that Booth was authorized to carry a firearm while acting as a Coast Guard boarding officer, adding, "Although the proof at the hearing indicates that the defendant engaged in a violation of rules, regulations and policies of the United States Coast Guard by possessing a handgun for which he had no license, these violations do not act to lessen the scope of LEOSA as it is applied in this instance."
Another Coast Guardsman, Reserve Petty Officer Jose Diaz, was arrested for carrying an unloaded handgun in a vehicle in San Fernando, California, in November 2007, but the charge was later dismissed and Diaz won a $44,000 settlement from the city for false arrest. The Coast Guard has issued a formal directive to advise Coast Guard personnel of which Coast Guard personnel are considered to be covered by LEOSA, and the limitations of such coverage.
On June 3, 2016 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington D.C. Circuit ruled (in a 2-1 decision) that a case brought by Ronald Duberry would be remanded for further proceedings. The court ruled that Washington D.C.'s Department of Corrections could not keep retired officers from carrying concealed firearms, saying the 2004 Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act guaranteed that right. The court rejected the city’s argument that the law does not apply to corrections officers. The city had cited the fact that the officers did not have full statutory powers of arrest during their time of employment. The court held that only some statutory power of arrest or apprehension was required (such as the power to take parole violators into custody). In the opinion for the court filed by Circuit Judge Rogers, the court said, " In the LEOSA, Congress defined “qualified law enforcement officers” broadly, to include individuals who engage in or supervise incarceration. Given the breadth of Congress’s definition, the reference to “statutory powers of arrest” necessarily means some statutory power of arrest such as a power to arrest parole violators, and not, as the District of Columbia suggests, only the police power to arrest upon probable cause, see Appellee’s Br. 25."