Having served in the Marine Corps, I am familiar with the perils of scuttlebutt, an old Navy term for water cooler talk that now means rumors and gossip. In law enforcement, a lot of the recent scuttlebutt focuses on off-duty and retired officer carry laws, covering what you can and cannot do under the 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.
LEOSA sounds pretty cut and dried. But unfortunately, it isn’t.
Vague language, confusing amendments, and a relative shortage of interpretive case law have allowed scuttlebutt and confusion to take over common sense application of its principles. And clarifying this law and what it means for law enforcement officers and retired law enforcement officers is a large part of my job as attorney for the National Rifle Association.
by James Baranowski