By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- In 2004 then President George W. Bush signed the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA).
The act was introduced to Congress as H.R. 218 and if a policeman knows about this act he/she most likely will refer to it as H.R.218.
What H.R. 218 did was give police including military police officers the ability to carry a concealed firearm in any State or US possession, such as Puerto Rico.
This type of law enforcement concealed carry permit has nothing to do with the civilian concealed carry permits that States can issue to their residents.
The most important difference about an H.R. 218 concealed carry permit is–all 50 States have to honor the permit.
As of July 2013 all 50 States have some form of civilian concealed carry permit. However, unlike a drivers license issued in one State and honored in all of the other 49 States there is no one State that will honor all 49 other concealed carry permits or have their permit honored by all of the other 49 States.
The H.R. 218 is a special concealed carry permit for actively working cops and retired cops. There is a process to apply depending on each State’s protocol. You have to qualify each year on the handgun you plan to carry and when you have your H.R. 218 permit you can travel the 50 States and all US Territories with your legal handgun.
This includes: Washington D.C., New York City and the dreaded anti-gun city of Chicago.
The problem was when H.R. 218 first went into effect it failed to include Federal retired law enforcement such as FBI or ATF agents. So the bill was amended and they included military police both active duty and retired, but the wording was allegedly confusing to civilian law enforcement, so retired military police of any and all branches of the DoD and Coast Guard were denied the ability to have the H.R. 218 permit.
H.R.218 has been amended again this year and now there is specific wording that addresses military police both active duty and retired.
If you are retired military police, security forces, or master-at-arms you can qualify and carry a concealed handgun. Each State has (I believe-don’t quote me, (New Jersey may not)) set up an application procedure for former Federal law enforcement (this includes old military cops) members to acquire an H.R. 218 based concealed carry permit that has to be honored in every state.
I am a retired Air Force Security Forces policeman and I live in Wisconsin. As soon as the new amendment to H.R. 218 went into effect in 2013 the Wisconsin Department of Justice (Do J) modified their application process to include retired military cops under the former Federal law enforcement application process.
Last week after fulfilling a lengthy application process to include qualifying on the handgun I will be carrying, the Wisconsin DoJ issued me what I believe to be the first, former Federal law enforcement concealed carry permit assigned to an old Air Force retired cop.
If you are a retired military policeman from any branch of the DoD, you need a total of ten years service as a military cop. So even if you changed career fields and were not a cop your entire Air Force career that is OK, as long as you have at least the minimum ten years of military police time.
You have to be able to prove it on your DD 214. In actuality you do not have to be retired from military law enforcement. You have to only have ten years as a military cop. So if you have a DD 214 that can document you were a military policeman for ten years,(even if you separated before a twenty year retirement) that will work. If you are interested in having an H.R. 218 based law enforcement concealed carry permit, the first thing you need to do is contact the Department of Justice (or equivalent of) in your State of residence. Each State must have a process for former police officers to acquire a concealed carry permit.
There is precedence at least in the State of Wisconsin for an old Air Force policeman to have qualified and received an H.R. 218 permit, I am that precedence. One issue of the newly amended H.R. 218 is any active duty military policeman can with proof of current handgun qualification carry a concealed handgun out in the civilian world of all 50 States.
According to H.R. 218 any military cop from any branch of service (to include a reserve or Guard cop) can acquire their own privately owned handgun and carry it concealed off base. That will be a new experience for military commanders to deal with.
Even after you have your H.R. 218 permit tread lightly, there are a lot of people in power, especially on the east coast and in Chicago who might not completely understand that Federal law trumps anti-gun State statutes.
I contacted the Secretary of the Air Force’s office and was advised that the DoD is working the issue with intent to come up with DoD directed certification credentials for current and qualified former military cops to carry concealed under H.R. 218.
Times they are a changing in the world of military cops, old and new.
Major Van Harl UASF Ret / [email protected]
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]
Qualified individuals can now apply for LEOSA online at www.leosaarmy.com