Officers who are currently employed by a governmental agency must meet seven requirements to come within the allowance of 926B to carry concealed weapons in any state:
1. You must have statutory arrest powers and be 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.
2. Your employing agency must have authorized you to carry a firearm.
3. You must not be subject to any disciplinary action.
4. You must meet departmental standards of firearms qualification.
5. You must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
6. You must not be prohibited by federal law from receiving a firearm.
7. You must carry a photo ID issued by your department.
As long as you meet these conditions, and subject to the common limitations discussed above, no state or local laws can prohibit your carrying a concealed weapon nationwide.
Retired officers who are not currently employed by a governmental agency must meet eight requirements to come within the allowance of 926C to carry concealed weapons in any state:
1. You must be retired in good standing from service with a public agency as a law enforcement officer, other than for reasons of mental instability.
2. Before your retirement, you must have had statutory arrest powers, with authority to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of-or the incarceration of any person for-any violation of law.
3. You must have had a total law enforcement employment of at least 15 years, or must have retired with a service-connected disability after any probationary period of employment.
4. You must have a non-forfeitable right to retirement benefits.
5. You must maintain annual firearms qualification, at your own expense, to the same standards required of active officers.
6. You must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
7. You must not be prohibited by federal law from receiving a firearm.
8. You must carry a photo ID issued by your department that certifies your current compliance with qualification standards, or a departmental photo ID plus a state-issued certificate of current qualification compliance.
Federal Restrictions Still Apply
As the law is written, qualified officers are exempted from most restrictions imposed by state or local laws. Federal laws affecting possession of firearms will still apply, however. For example, firearms are restricted on the grounds of federal prisons, military installations, courthouses, and other government buildings. Neither 926B nor 926C affects applicability of such restrictions.
And even though your possession of a concealed weapon may be permitted in your home state and other states where you travel, this act does not allow you to possess a firearm at an airport screening area or aboard a commercial aircraft.
When traveling by air, your firearm must be packed, unloaded, in a locked, hard container to which you have the key. It must be sent by checked baggage and must be declared at check-in. Ammunition must also be shipped only in checked baggage, packed in fiber, wood, or metal containers that prevent movement of cartridges, and the amount is limited to 11 pounds. Airlines may impose additional restrictions that you can usually determine from their Websites.
Before shipping or taking your weapon on any common carrier, you may want to check restrictions by calling or visiting the Website of the Transportation Security Agency, www.tsa.gov.
Dual Effects of the Law
There are two significant consequences of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. One is that it substantially enlarges your authority to carry a concealed weapon throughout the country. The other is that you must consider federal law before making a decision to arrest any active or retired officer for carrying a concealed weapon in your jurisdiction.
Attorney Devallis Rutledge, a former police officer and prosecutor, defends officers and agencies at Manning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez.