Reform of H.R. 218 LEOSA - H.R. 1156 The LEOSA Reform Act

This is the legislation that the Society has endorsed in an attempt to reform legislation known as H.R. 218, The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA.)

Representative Don Bacon (NE-02), introduced H.R. 1156, The LEOSA Reform Act, on February 13, 2019.  It has two original co-sponsors: Representative John Rutherford (R-FL-4) and Representative Pete Stauber (R-MN-8).

 

LEOSA Reform Act (H.R. 1156) Talking Points

The bipartisan Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) (H.R. 218, Public Law 108-277) was enacted into law in 2004.

• The federal law established guidelines allowing experienced retired or off-duty officers who maintain proper training to obtain certification allowing him or her to carry concealed firearms.

• The desired purpose was to create a shared national policy between states allowing officers and retired officers to carry their firearms without requiring the officer to obtain a state permit, granted they are qualified and have received appropriate credentials.

• The original LEOSA had wide, bipartisan support. It has since been amended twice, in 2010 and 2013, with strong bipartisan support, to clarify and expand the authorities granted and expand the number of law enforcement professionals covered. Both amendments were signed by President Obama. (See "End Notes" below.)

The LEOSA Reform Act (H.R. 1156) corrects a number of gaps and weaknesses still remaining in the LEOSA despite the significant progress that has been made. As currently written, the statute contains a number of unintended restrictions and vague language resulting in resulting in conflicting interpretations which effectively limit the ability of officers and retired officers to carry their firearms wherever they are.

The LEOSA Reform Act adds specific language to address these gaps and reinforce the original intent of the law, which is to allow broad concealed carry authority for off-duty and retired officers without the need to obtain a state permit, granted they are qualified and have received appropriate credentials.

The LEOSA Reform Act does not put more guns into our communities. Individuals affected by this legislation already have the authority to carry concealed weapons in most locations. Rather, this law will help ensure guns already in the hands of trained and certified law enforcement officers and retired officers can safely and legally be carried in the state the officer resides, and when the officer is travelling between states.

In fact, the LEOSA Reform Act will help ensure firearms do not end up in the hands of criminals by allowing law enforcement officers and retired officers to keep their firearms safely on their person, rather than being forced to leave them in vehicles in parking lots of locations currently restricted from carry.

Those carrying in accordance to LEOSA are men and women who have faithfully served and protected our communities. A primary benefit of the LEOSA Reform Act is providing additional safety for the communities where the officers and retired officers live and visit by ensuring that they are best equipped to protect us all. This will also ensure these dedicated professionals have the ability to defend themselves against those that may seek to do them harm.

The current gaps/unintended restrictions the LEOSA Reform Act seeks to change are:

1. Federal Gun Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) - The GFSZA currently does not permit carry for those pursuant to LEOSA even though possessing a state CCW permit does. Thus, having a state CCW means you can carry in school zones but carrying under LEOSA does not. We wish to revise the GFSZA to include an exemption for LEOSA.

2. State, Local, and Private Property Open to the Public, including Common Carriers - LEOSA currently does not override the prohibition of CCW carry on common carriers (e.g. city buses, subways, AMTRAK, etc.), nor does it override the ability of private property owners of otherwise publicly accessible property (e.g. shopping malls, stores, movie theaters, etc.) from prohibiting carry. We wish to revise LEOSA to allow qualified law enforcement officers (QLEOs) and qualified retired law enforcement officers (QRLEOs) to carry on common carriers and on state, local, and privately-owned property that is otherwise open to the public. (Courthouses and Law Enforcement facilities would continue to be restricted, as would carry on commercial airlines.)

3. National Parks - LEOSA currently does not permit carry in National Parks but having a state CCW permit does. We wish to revise LEOSA to specifically allow carry on all federally owned lands/properties that are otherwise open to the public.

4. Magazine size limitation - LEOSA currently provides an exemption from state/local restrictions on ammunition, but it does not provide an exemption from such restrictions on magazine size. Thus, one can carry hollow-point ammo under LEOSA even if it is prohibited by state/local laws, but LEOSA does not allow an exemption on magazine size limitations. We wish to revise LEOSA to also provide the magazine size exemption.

5. Qualification Issue - LEOSA certification currently requires annual qualification to the state standard for law enforcement or on the qualification standard of their former employing agency. This is a problem for those who reside in states for which there is no state standard for law enforcement, those states that have different standards for active versus retired law enforcement, and those states that prohibit certified law enforcement firearms instructors from qualifying retired officers. We seek to revise LEOSA to provide multiple options for meeting the annual qualification requirement and, at the option of the state, extend the training requirement from every 12 months - to up to every 36 months.

6. Certain Federal FacilitiesLEOSA currently does not allow carry in Federal civilian public access facilities. We wish to revise LEOSA to allow carry in a Facility Security Level I or II civilian public access facility (e.g. US Post Offices, Social Security offices, and similar Federal facilities otherwise open to the public.) (Federal Courthouses would continue to be restricted).

Overall point to be made - This is not a Second Amendment or gun rights issue. This is a public safety and law enforcement safety issue.

 

END NOTES: Previous amendments clarifying and enhancing LEOSA

1. The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Improvements Act of 2010 (S. 1132, Public Law 111-272)

  • Made changes to extend coverage under LEOSA to include law enforcement officers of the Amtrak Police, Federal Reserve Police, and law enforcement officers of the executive branch of the Federal Government
  • Expanded the definition of “firearm” to include ammunition which is not prohibited by federal law
  • Revised the definition of "qualified retired law enforcement officer" to:
    • Include officers separated (currently, retired) in good standing from service with a public agency as a law enforcement officer; and to
    • Reduce the years-of-service requirement for such officers from 15 to 10 years
  • Revised:
    • Requirements for firearms certification for such separated officers to allow firearms training in accordance with the standards of the officer's former agency, the state in which such officer resides, or if such state has not established training standards, standards established by a law enforcement agency within the state or those used by a certified firearms instructor; and
    • Mental health requirements for such officers.

2. Section 1089 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310, Public Law 112-239)

  • Revised the definitions of "qualified active" and "qualified retired" law enforcement officer to include the term "police officers"
  • Made changes to clarify coverage under LEOSA to include military police officers and civilian police officers employed by the U.S. Government
  • 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.

 

 
Sponsor:

 

Representative Bacon, Don [R-NE-02]

 
Current Co-Sponsors:
  • Rep. Stauber, Pete [R-MN-8] * (2/13/2019)
  • Rep. Rutherford, John H. [R-FL-4] * (2/13/2019)
  • Rep. Meadows, Mark [R-NC-11] (2/22/2019)
  • Rep. Lesko, Debbie [R-AZ-8] (2/22/2019)
  • Rep. Norman, Ralph [R-SC-5] (2/25/2019)
  • Rep. Yoho, Ted S. [R-FL-3] (2/26/2019)
  • Rep. DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN-4] (2/26/2019)
  • Rep. Hagedorn, Jim [R-MN-1] (2/26/2019)
  • Rep. Barr, Andy [R-KY-6] (2/27/2019)
  • Rep. Cole, Tom [R-OK-4] (3/4/2019)
  • Rep. Wittman, Robert J. [R-VA-1] (3/4/2019)
  • Rep. Stefanik, Elise M. [R-NY-21] (3/4/2019)
  • Rep. Shimkus, John [R-IL-15] (3/4/2019)
  • Rep. Gooden, Lance [R-TX-5] (3/4/2019)
  • Rep. Newhouse, Dan [R-WA-4] (3/7/2019)
  • Rep. Emmer, Tom [R-MN-6] (3/12/2019)
  • Rep. Mast, Brian J. [R-FL-18] (3/18/2019)
  • Rep. Katko, John [R-NY-24] (4/2/2019)
  • Rep. Cloud, Michael [R-TX-27] (5/2/2019)
  • Rep. Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [R-WI-5] (5/14/2019) 

 * = Original co-sponsor

 

Current list of organizations that support this legislation:

  1. Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI (SFSAFBI)
  2. Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA)
  3. National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO)
  4. Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)
  5. Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service (AFAUSSS)
  6. FBI Agents Association (FBIAA)
  7. National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
  8. Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department (SBA-NYPD)
  9. National Sheriffs Association (NSA)
  10. Port Authority Retired Police Association of New York and New Jersey (PARPA NY-NJ)
  11. San Francisco Veteran Police Officers Association (SFVPOA)
  12. ATF Association (ATFA)
  13. FBI National Academy Associates (FBINAA)
  14. San Jose Police Officers Association (SJPOA)
  15. Air Marshal Association
  16. Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC)
  17. Association of Federal Narcotics Agents (AFNA)
  18. USAF Police Alumni Association (USAFPAA)
  19. International Union of Police Associations (IUPA)
  20. Retired Police Association of the State of New York (RPASNY)

 

If your Congressional representative has already co-sponsored this bill, please send him or her a letter or a message thanking them for doing so.  If he or she has not done so, please urge him or her to co-sponsor the bill and/or be otherwise supportive of the bill.

 
Legislative Text for H.R. 1156 LEOSA Reform Act
 
 
Sample Letter for House of Representatives
 
Downloadable and Fillable Letter for House of Representatives (PDF)
 
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