A Brief History
On June 22, 2004, President George W. Bush signed into law HR 218, known as the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. This law gave police officers in good standing and properly retired officers the legal right to carry concealed weapons (guns) in any jurisdiction in the United States. That means an officer from Los Angeles can go on vacation to New York City and be allowed to carry his gun.
The logic behind this legislation was to provide law enforcement personnel with the ability to defend themselves against vengeful criminals while off duty or when retired. These off duty and retired police officers also add a measure of safety to the public by putting thousands of responsible and trained armed adults in public that can react in an emergency. A few places are exempt from carry by other than on duty officers, such as certain federal buildings, some amusement parks, schools (elementary and secondary), courts and airplanes.
The officers allowed to go about armed have to be ones that would be armed if on duty, and have to have current range qualification. They must carry proper identification as an officer or retired officer, and documentation of having qualified with a pistol within the past year.
Later amendments to the act made sure that military police and certain federal law enforcement officers would not be excluded by these provisions. Additionally, it was made clear that off duty and retired officers would not be excluded from carrying hollow point bullets (as New Jersey has a law against any but on duty law enforcement officers carrying hollow points).
Another important amendment to the law is that officers no longer have to be “retired” from law enforcement, they only have to have served a total of 10 years in that role and have been separated from service in good standing.
Another restriction on officers carrying weapons off duty is that fully automatic weapons are not allowed under this act, nor are silenced weapons or “destructive devices” (such as bombs, sawed off shotguns, etc.).
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you agree with this legislation? Tell us if you think this law is a good or bad idea and why in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
United States Congress House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Of 2003. Ulan Press, 2011.
The featured image in this article, a White House photograph of President George W. Bush signing the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, June 22, 2004, downloaded from the White House website at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/07/images/20040722-5_d07220-1-515h.html, is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain.
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