January 19, 2007
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS SAFETY ACT
By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst
You want us to summarize the 2004 Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act and State Police policy with regard to law enforcement officer certification to carry firearms under the act.
The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) allows qualified active and retired law enforcement officers who meet specified criteria to carry concealed firearms (with some exceptions) anywhere in the country, subject to certain limitations.
Any officer carrying a firearm under this law must also carry a photo identification certifying, or along with certification, that he is qualified to carry the weapon. Under State Police policy, retired law enforcement officers must possess a valid state gun permit as a condition of certification.
LEOSA is a federal law that, with certain limitations and conditions, exempts active and retired “qualified law enforcement officers” from state laws and local ordinances prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons. Under the law, qualified law enforcement officers may carry concealed weapons (not including machine guns, silencers, and destructive devices) anywhere in the country subject to two limitations. Private property owners may restrict or prohibit such weapons on their property, and states may restrict or prohibit them in or on state or local government property, installation, building, base, or park (18 USC § 926C(e)).
Officers carrying firearms under this law should also verify and comply with any restrictions applicable to military and federal facilities and parks before attempting to enter such locations, according to the State Police.
Eligibility Criteria to Carry Concealed Firearms
Retired officers qualify to carry the firearms under the law if:
1. they retired in good standing (other than for reasons of mental instability);
2. before retiring, they had statutory arrest powers and were authorized by law to engage in or supervise people engaged in performing specified law enforcement functions;
3. they retired (a) after at least 15 years aggregate employment as a law enforcement officer or (b) after serving less than 15 years (but after completing any applicable probationary period) because of an agency-determined service-connected disability;
4. they have a nonforfeitable right to benefits under the employing agency's retirement plan;
5. they may legally possess firearms under federal law; and
6. during the most recent 12-month period, they met applicable qualification standards that apply to active law enforcement officers carrying the same type of firearm as the concealed firearm (18 USC § 926C).
Active law enforcement officers qualify if they:
1. hold arrest powers and are authorized by law to perform specified law enforcement functions,
2. are authorized by their employing agency to carry firearms,
3. are not the subject of any disciplinary action,
4. meet agency standards to carry firearms, and
5. are not prohibited by federal law from carrying firearms (18 USC § 926B).
The law prohibits officers from carrying concealed firearms if they are under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance.
A retired officer carrying a concealed firearm under this law must carry photo identification with, or along with, a certification that in the last year, he was tested or otherwise found to have met the issuing agency's or state's standards for active sworn law enforcement officers carrying firearms. The certification must be issued either by the agency from which the officer retired or from the state in which he lives.
An active law enforcement officer must carry his agency-issued photographic identification when carrying concealed weapons under the law.
State Police Policy
The Division of State Police provides a training and qualification program for (1) retired state police officers and (2) retired out-of-state police officers living in Connecticut.
Under State Police policy, a retired law enforcement officer applying for initial LEOSA certification must submit a retiree application to the State Police along with:
1. the results of a criminal history record check performed by the State Police Bureau of Investigation,
2. a notarized affidavit from the agency from which he retired attesting to his qualifications as a law enforcement officer for the purpose of this law (retired out-of-state officers only),
3. a signed release and indemnification form, and
4. a completed fingerprint card (DPS-125-c).
The officer must also successfully complete four hours of handgun training and possess a valid Connecticut gun permit.
When an applicant completes training, he gets a photo identification and a certificate indicating his compliance with the federal law, and the make, model, serial number, and caliber of the handgun on which he qualified. The documents are valid for one year.
Additional information on the law and the State Police training program is available at http://www.ct.gov/dps/cwp/view.asp?a=2153&q=303746.
A copy of the law is attached.
The State Police will conduct training sessions for retired state police officers and retired out-of-state police officers now residing in Connecticut on the following dates: March 24, 2007, March 31, 2007, and April 7, 2007.