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Cleaning Up the LEOSA Mess

Democratic and Republican Legislators Launch Effort to Improve Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act of 2004

October 22, 2009  |  by - Also by this author

When the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act of 2004 (LEOSA) was signed into law by President Bush, it granted active and retired law enforcement officers the right to carry a concealed firearm in all 50 states provided they met certain requirements. Unfortunately, it did not create a mechanism that would allow retired officers to exercise this right.

Earlier this year, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) submitted S. 1132, a bill designed to clean up the LEOSA mess. Today, Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) introduced companion legislation-H.R. 3752-in the House.

These proposed laws would do the following:

  • Clarify the status of Amtrak Police and other federal officers
  • Grant LEOSA carry rights to current and retired law enforcement officers (with civilian arrest powers) who work or have worked for a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
  • Reduce the amount of time that an officer has to serve as an officer from 15 years to 10 years to qualify for LEOSA carry rights
  • Create a procedure for retired officers to meet the requirements necessary for LEOSA carry

Forbes said the primary purpose of the new legislation is to provide retired officers with a way to exercise their LEOSA rights. "The states have drug their feet and made it impossible for them to comply," he explained.

If the LEOSA improvements bills become law, retired officers will need to have an official ID from their agency and qualify with a state-certified firearms instructor who qualifies police in their states of residence. This could make it much easier for retired officers from say Wisconsin or New York agencies to exercise LEOSA carry rights.

Unfortunately, there is no enforcement teeth in the proposed laws. So states that still want to drag their feet likely will. But Forbes says the legislation could help officers from the anti-LEOSA states who have retired to other more LEOSA-friendly states.

Forbes believes the Senate bill has an excellent chance of making it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee for a floor vote this year, especially since its sponsor Leahy serves as chairman of the committee.

On the House side, things look a bit tougher. The House Judiciary Committee is chaired by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) who may try to prevent it from reaching the floor.

If Conyers does block the legislation, Forbes says he will use a congressional procedure called a discharge petition that requires 218 votes from the overall House to move the bill to a vote. Forbes thinks he has a good shot at success. "I'll tell you there are a group of people on the Democratic side who would not want to vote against this bill."

Forbes is "very optimistic" that the LEOSA improvement legislation will be approved by Congress in time to reach President Obama's desk next year.

However, he added that law enforcement officers should call their senators and representatives and voice their support for the bills. "Calls are much more effective than letters and e-mails," he said.

H.R. 3752 is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Union of Police Associations.

Tags: Concealed Carry, LEOSA, Retired Officers


Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

ispcapt @ 10/22/2009 6:31 PM

In your article re LEOSA changes you wrote "This could make it much easier for retired officers from say Illinois agencies to exercise LEOSA carry rights." You should check your facts before you make erroneous assumptions.

IL has had a statewide program implemented for retired officers since early 2005 and was one of the first states to implement a program for retired officers. Many states are far behind IL in implementing LEOSA and some other states have copied their program after IL's.

The amendments currently being proposed does not sound like it would change that much for the way IL currently implements the program. Currently all a retiree needs to do to get qualified in IL is a retired ID card (the amendments do not change that requirement) and then contact the ILETSB with the documentation. The retiree will then be sent a listing of the qualification dates where the retiree can select where and when to shoot.

Go to http://www.irocc.org/ . The process is explained there and the retiree can download the forms he needs to submit to get the qualification shoot dates/locations.

It's about a simple of a process as can be implemented, provided a person is able to read and understand.

editor @ 10/23/2009 7:12 AM

Ispcapt: That's great news about Illinois. The state was very reluctant at first to abide by LEOSA. And I was unable to find its LEOSA policy yesterday on deadline. Thank you for the update, and I apologize for the error. I will do my best to correct this by finding a state that has "dragged its feet" to replace Illinois. Thank you for reading PoliceMag.com.

Thor Odinson @ 10/23/2009 3:46 PM

Now if CO would catch up for retired officers. After working for 3 departments in 2 states I wound up in CO and nobody here wants to even acknowledge LEOSA exists so I use the CCW laws. With my old department burying its head in the sand I hoped CBI (Colo Bureau of Investigation) would step up. No, they cite liability issues! Maybe it will take more federal amendments. Thor

ispcapt @ 10/25/2009 7:29 PM

Actually, IL was NOT dragging their feet implementing LEOSA.

Prior to LEOSA being passed there was a bill in the IL legislature to do exactly what LEOSA does. The IL legislature was in recess when the federal bill was passed. They were due to return in Oct 2005 and there was more than enough votes to pass the IL bill and the governor had already said he would sign it. After the federal version passed the IL bill was pulled since it didn't do anything that the federal law does.

IL was one of the first states in the nation to fully implement LEOSA for retirees with the full implementation coming in early 2005. Several other states contacted us to get our program and pattern their programs after IL's. Again, IL was fully operational for retirees long before most every other state. So "dragging their feet" is definitely not an accurate statement.

The only delay implementing LEOSA was deciding which state agency would be responsible for issuing qual cards to retirees. There were 3 agencies being considered - the ISP, the ILETSB, and the Dept of Professional Regulation. None had the statutory authority at the time LEOSA passed to assume the responsibility. In the fall of 2004 the IL legislature gave the authority to the ILETSB. Committees were formed to set up the regulatory rules. The ONLY real delay was setting mandatory annual qual shoots. The hold up was the resistance from small towns/agencies who fought the state mandating that all LEOs have to fire an annual qual shoot. Prior to this time there was nothing mandating any qualification for any LEO.

So again, the "IL dragging their feet" is another untrue rumor which was spread by those who didn't do their homework or know the facts. Fact - simple to get, they just need to take some research. Internet gossip columns and unsubstantiated rumors by those who weren't involved in the process are not resea

kasommer @ 1/22/2010 7:45 PM

Hope someone can advise. What relief is there to a LEO if a public facility attempts to require them to not carry? Said facility is public and not a school or government building. Is this a civil or criminal violation on the part of the facility? If you have accurate knowledge please email since I'm not a regular visitor to this site.

Thor Odinson @ 5/10/2010 4:21 PM

What happened to the Senate and House bills to clean up LEOSA as reported in October 2009. Earlier this year, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) submitted S. 1132, a bill designed to clean up the LEOSA mess. Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) introduced companion legislation-H.R. 3752-in the House. Did Conyers try to block it and did Forbers have to resort to that "discharge petition". Where are we? Thor 05/10/10

Thor Odinson @ 5/10/2010 4:25 PM

Quick Follow-up---What are the anti-LEOSA states and what are the more LEOSA-friendly states??. What is the source of such info??

TacticalEdge @ 5/25/2012 8:13 PM

We need another update to the LEOSA laws. or atleast in Ohio. I think we need a system that enables retired guys to get a ID to be used for LEOSA. Alot of agencys in Ohio will not issue retired ID's to their officers because they claim it's a liability issue. My case inparticular is our department issued ID's until a new cheif took over about 6 years ago. He now will not issue any ID's and if a officer already has a ID and looses it he is shit out of luck because they will not re-issue one. Now the officers cannot carry because they dont have the proper ID. They qualify under all requirments Except having the ability to obtain a ID. it would be nice if the FOP or Police unions would get someone behind a national or state ID system where you can take your documents, pension documents ect to prove your retired and get a ID issued. that way it takes the politics and the anit-carry Cheifs out of the picture. Anyone else in Ohio or other states had this Issue?

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