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Scope of the LEOSA Act regarding Concealed Carry by Law Enforcement

Question: Under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act thatsexempts qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from many local and State provisions regarding concealed carry, are there any there any state or local police depts that still will not honor it. I plan to drive from SC to NY and need to know.

Answer: If a person is covered by the LEOSA, then “notwithstanding any other provision of the law of any State or any political subdivision thereof,” he or she may carry a concealed firearm in any state or political subdivision thereof. See Title 18, USC, Section 921, which defines “state” to also include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions. Thus, the LEOSA-qualified person does not generally require a state-issued CCW permit to carry a concealed firearm.

However, there are two types of state laws that are not overridden by the federal law, these being “the laws of any State that (1) permit private persons or entities to prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their property; or (2) prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park.” This does not mean that LEOSA-qualified persons are prohibited from carrying concealed firearms in such areas, but only that they must obey whatever state laws apply on those two points. They are free to disregard all other state and local laws that govern the carrying of concealed firearms.

The LEOSA overrides state and local laws, but not other federal laws.  LEOSA-qualified individuals must continue to obey federal laws and agency policies that restrict the carrying of concealed firearms in certain federal buildings and lands.

Whether or not a person is covered by the LEOSA depends entirely on whether or not he or she meets the definitions in the federal law for either “qualified law enforcement officer” or “qualified retired law enforcement officer.” It does not matter whether or not a given individual is defined as a “law enforcement officer” under the law of his state; only the definition in the federal law applies.

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