A “qualified retired law enforcement officer”
is an individual who:
retired in good standing from service with a public agency as
a law enforcement officer for reasons other than mental instability;
before retirement 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;
before retirement was regularly employed as a law enforcement
officer for a total of 15 years or more or completed any applicable
probationary period of such service, and then retired early due
to a service-connected disability;
has a non-forfeitable right to benefits under the retirement plan
of the agency;
during the past 12 months has met, at his/her own expense, the
State of residency’s standards for training and qualification
for active law enforcement officers to carry firearms;
is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating
or hallucinatory drug or substance; and
is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing a firearm.
How do I qualify to carry under the provisions of this bill?
If you are a qualified retired law enforcement
officer must carry on your person a photo ID issued by the agency
from which you retired from service as a law enforcement officer
that indicates that you have been tested or otherwise found by
the agency to meet the standards established by the agency for
training and qualification for active law enforcement to carry
a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm.
A qualified retired law enforcement officer must
carry a photo ID issued by the agency from which you retired from
service as a law enforcement officer and a certification issued
by the State in which you reside that indicates that you have
been tested or otherwise found by the State to meet the standards
established by the State for training and qualification for active
law enforcement officers to carry a firearm of the same type as
the concealed firearm within the past 12 months.
I am a retired officer living in
Florida. I was an active
officer with the Chicago Police Department. How and where do I
get my photo id and certificate to carry?
The photo ID is issued by the agency from which
you retired from service as a law enforcement officer.
The certification is issued by the State in which
you reside and indicates that you have been tested or otherwise
found by the State to meet the standards established by the State
for training and qualification for the State’s own active law
enforcement to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed
Am I allowed to carry a firearm on an airplane?
No. As an off-duty officer, you are not able
to fly with a concealed weapon according to the current Federal
aviation regulations. The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act
does not affect federal laws, such as those enforced by TSA.
Federal law does allow officers (and regular citizens) to bring
their firearms with them in their checked luggage. (They do have
to declare the firearms to airline personnel.)
On June 29, 2006, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced the “Safer
Skies Act of 2006,”
S. 3621, which would
permit qualified local law enforcement officers to carry accessible
weapons while onboard an aircraft.
The legislation defines a qualified law enforcement officer
as one who is a “direct employee of a government agency that employs
more than 400 employees.” Although NAPO
believes it is important that all of the nation’s law enforcement
officers are included in this right to carry, we feel that this
bill is a step in the right direction.
Will current state laws still restrict or continue to prohibit officers
from carrying firearms legally within a particular state?
The new Federal law exempts qualified off-duty
police officers from the application of state law. For example,
a qualified off-duty officer is allowed to carry a concealed weapon
in a public area but must follow the regulations imposed at federal
buildings, schools, airports, etc.
Does this mean all states have to change their carry laws to reflect the
new federal law?
State laws are not required to change. This is
a new Federal law that exempts qualified active and retired law
enforcement officers from local and State prohibitions on the
carrying of concealed firearms.
As a security guard with a homeowner’s association, am I adversely affected
by H.R. 218?
Private employers are still allowed to set their
own standards and qualifications for carrying a firearm on duty.
As an officer with NYPD, I wasn’t allowed to carry between jurisdictions
while off-duty. Is this still the case?
A qualified officer should be able to carry a
concealed firearm while off-duty as long as you are in compliance
with the requirements of the Federal statutes.
Will an officer be able to carry in a state like New York or D.C. which have strict licensing
Yes. However, this law shall not be construed
to supersede or limit the laws of any State that permits private
persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of
concealed firearms on their property or prohibit or restrict the
possession of firearms on any State or local government property,
installation, building, base, or park.
My agency has a policy that does not allow me to carry a firearm while
off-duty? Am I still legally allowed to do so? Or must I follow
Unless you’re trying to get fired, it’s probably
best if you follow your department’s policies.
My former agency and/or my State is not familiar with the new law and
they have no procedure in place to qualify me and issue me the
required document stating that I have met the active duty law
enforcement standards for qualification with the firearm I intend
to carry. What should I do?
The law has only been in place for a very short
time, and many States and/or agencies may not have fully acquainted
themselves with its effects, nor considered how they can or will
qualify retired officers. NAPO recommends
that retired members first check with their former agencies, if
they live close enough to them to make it practicable, to see
what options might be available.
The next recommended step would be to contact the State
Attorney General, the State Police, or whatever State agency has
the authority over law enforcement officer standards and training
to learn the latest information on how the States are going to
qualify retired officers. If
you continue to met resistance from your agency and/or State in receiving the
required documents, consult a lawyer to determine what are you
next possible actions toward being able to carry under H.R. 218.
Senator Kyl Sponsored Bill to Improve H.R. 218
On July 29, 2005, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
introduced the “Law-Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act,” S. 1605,
which will help ensure that H.R. 218 will be easily, fairly, and
broadly implemented. Specifically, Section 8 of Senator Kyl’s legislation
will reduce the number of years a law enforcement officer has
to serve in order to qualify to carry, from 15 years down to 10
years. The bill also designates new forms of identification
that can be used by qualified law enforcement officers whose agencies
or states refuse to issue the certification required by H.R. 218.
NAPO worked hard to get H.R. 218 passed in 2004 and continues
to be frustrated by the difficulty some of our members are experiencing
in being able to get the right to carry by their states and agencies. NAPO supports the “Law-Enforcement Officers’
Safety Act” and Senator Kyl’s efforts to ensure that all qualified
off-duty and retired officers across the nation will be able to
carry firearms for the protection of themselves, their families
and our nation’s communities, as it is stated in current law.
S. 1605, Sec. 8
SEC. 8. IMPROVEMENTS TO THE
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS' SAFETY ACT.
Section 926C of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
(1) in subsection (c)--
(A) in paragraph (3)(A), by striking `was regularly employed
as a law enforcement officer for an aggregate of 15 years or more'
and inserting `served as a law enforcement officer for an aggregate
of 10 years or more'; and
(B) by striking paragraphs (4)
and (5), and designating paragraphs (6) and (7) as paragraphs
(4) and (5), respectively; and
(2) in subsection (d)--
(A) in paragraph (1), by striking
`or' after the semicolon;
(B) in paragraph (2)(B), by striking
the period and inserting `; or'; and
(C) by adding at the end the following:
`(3) in those States or for those law-enforcement agencies that do not
issue the identification or certification required by paragraph
(1) or (2)--
`(A) an identification issued by the agency from which the individual retired
from service as a law enforcement officer;
`(B) a photographic identification issued by an agency of the State in
which the individual resides, such as a driver's license or a
State identification card; and
`(C) a document issued by the State in which the individual
resides that either certifies that the individual is authorized
by the laws of that State to carry a concealed firearm, or, in
those States that do not provide mandatory and objective standards
for the issuance of such a license, certifies that the individual
has received training in the safe handling of firearms or has
completed a firearms safety or training course for security guards