New York SAFE Act Says NO New Assault Weapons for Retired Cops

By Roger Katz & Stephen D'Andrilli

Can New York Police Officers Possess “Assault Weapons” In Their Personal Capacity, Outside Of Their Professional Duties?
Can New York Police Officers Possess “Assault Weapons” In Their Personal Capacity, Outside Of Their Professional Duties?
Arbalest Quarrel
Arbalest Quarrel

New York, N.Y. –-( The New York public, as with police officers themselves, holds lovingly, perhaps, or, perhaps, not so lovingly, to the adage: “once a ‘cop’ always a ‘cop.’”

The adage suggests, among other things, that no one – even a virulent antigun zealot – takes serious exception, if at all, to a police officer having access to and possession of firearms that the NY Safe Act bans outright, calling such weapons, pejoratively, ‘assault weapons.’

So, most folk, including, and especially, police officers themselves, would maintain that the most restrictive and revolting sections of the Safe Act ought not apply to them even though, for most everyone else, those sections do. But does the normative prescription coincide with actual fact?

What does the NY Safe Act actually say about possession of so-called “assault weapons” by New York police officers?

The New York Safe Act Section 37, as codified in NY CLS Penal § 265.00(22), and, specifically as codified in NY CLS Penal § 265.00(22)(h) says, in pertinent part, that any firearm defined as an ‘assault weapon’ that was lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of the New York Safe Act, namely prior to January 15, 2013, “may only be sold to, exchanged with or disposed of to a purchaser authorized to possess such weapons or to an individual or entity outside of the state. . . .”

So, we ask: Are New York police officers “authorized to possess such weapons?” Well, fortunately, for current, active duty sworn New York police officers, the ban on the acquisition of and possession of firearms defined under the NY Safe Act simply doesn’t apply to them. How do we know this?

New York's "SAFE Act"
The drafters of NY Safe clearly did not wish to extend the prerogative of “assault weapon” possession to retired police officers…

The New York Safe Act does not, itself, provide us with guidance, so we have to dig deeper into the New York Penal Code to find an answer. We look to NY CLS Penal § 265.20, titled, aptly enough, “Exemptions.” NY CLS Penal § 265.20, talks about banned weapons that no one can lawfully possess unless that person falls within the exemption. Among those banned weapons are those defined as ‘assault weapons’ under the NY Safe Act, and NY CLS Penal § 265.20 lists exceptions to weapons’ bans. One such exception exists for New York police officers. But, how is the expression, ‘police officer,’ defined? NY CLS Penal § 265.20, itself, does not say but that Statute refers us to another Statute that does.

NY CLS Penal § 265.20(a) (1) (b), refers us to NY CLS CPL § 1.20. We find that NY CLS CPL § 1.20(34) provides us with a detailed list of and exposition of the definition of ‘police officer’ under New York law. In fact, there are close to two dozen definitions for the expression, ‘police officer.’ So, if a person falls within the definition of ‘New York police officer,’ that officer is legally permitted, in his personal capacity – that is to say, outside of his professional duties as a “police officer” – to acquire and possess firearms defined as ‘assault weapons’ even while the average, law-abiding New York resident cannot.

But, the $1 million question is this: can a qualified, retired police officer acquire, own and possess firearms defined as ‘assault weapons?

In other words, does New York law draw a distinction – a bright line – between “current, active-duty sworn police officers” and “retired qualified police officers?” Well, we remark that retired, qualified police officers can certainly continue to possess, lawfully, those weapons they acquired lawfully before enactment of the NY Safe Act on January 15, 2o13. And that, of course, is true, as well, for the average, law-abiding New York resident who has never worked in law enforcement. But, what about “assault weapons” that the New York officer acquired after the Safe Act took effect? Can a New York police officer – now that he is retired – continue to possess, lawfully, those “assault weapons,” he or she acquired while actively employed as an officer but which were acquired after the Safe Act took effect, or must the officer surrender those “assault weapons?” Curiously, New York law is silent on that question.

We know this much: once a police officer retires, that officer is placed on the same legal footing as any other law-abiding New York resident, who never worked in law enforcement.

Simply stated, the retired, qualified police officer cannot lawfully continue to acquire and possess firearms defined as ‘assault weapons’ under the NY Safe Act.

And, why is that? Once again, we turn to the operative Section of New York law: NY CLS CPL § 1.20. The language of that Section strictly implies that the police officer is current or active-duty. Curiously, early New York Legislation, going back to the 1990s did include language that permitted retired, qualified police officers to lawfully own and possess weapons defined as ‘assault weapons’ as the definition for such weapons existed at that time. Yet, the fact that such language was never finalized into law should tell New York police officers – whether current, active-duty or retired – that the drafters of NY Safe had no desire to revisit the issue and clearly did not wish to extend the prerogative of “assault weapon” possession to retired police officers. Moreover, we have come across no other law in the Consolidated Laws of New York that might otherwise allow a retired, qualified police officer to continue to acquire and possess such “assault weapons” or, for that matter, to continue, lawfully, to possess such “assault weapons” the officer did acquire, lawfully, while in law enforcement but subsequent to enactment of the NY Safe Act.

Assault Weapon Ban
Assault Weapon Ban

The Bottom line is this:

if you are a current, active-duty sworn police officer and you are contemplating retirement in the near future and you wish to acquire one or more “assault weapons” for your personal collection, we strongly urge you to acquire those firearms now, because, once you retire, you will not be able, lawfully, to do so.

That said, whether you are permitted to retain such weapons, after retirement from law enforcement, is, at this point in time, an open question.

Read the complete long form article here at Arbalest Quarrel :

About The Arbalest Quarrel
Arbalest Group created `The Arbalest Quarrel' website for a special purpose. That purpose is to educate the American public about recent Federal and State firearms control legislation. No other website, to our knowledge, provides as deep an analysis or as thorough an analysis. Arbalest Group offers this information free.

  • 40 thoughts on “New York SAFE Act Says NO New Assault Weapons for Retired Cops

    1. Under Leosa or formally called HR 218..retired Leo can own and carry so called asualt weapons. As long as they qualify on them.

      I am a retired law enforcement officer and carry all the laws in my car with me just in case.

      Thank you
      Sal Waters

    2. Fantastic blog post ! I was fascinated by the analysis . Does anyone know if my assistant might be able to acquire a sample NY DTF CT-34-SH version to work with ?

    3. So glad I escaped from NY State LI Metro area back in 1989 to North Carolina.

      You all come on down and bring all your firearms.

      We don’t have any stinking commie bastard magazine capacity limits and you can own suppressors too.

      1. I live in NY metro area. Ready to retire from the Courts soon. Where’s a good place to move in NC? I hate this Communist shithole!!!

    4. In reference to New Jersey arresting LEOs and retired LEOs from out of state who carry in N.J., it is my understanding that N.J. does this based on the fact they restrict the type of ammo carried, you are not allowed hollow points as an example, otherwise you may carry concealed. Don’t get caught with hollow points, even not loaded in a firearm, but in your possession if you’re armed, I’m told the fine in addition to the costs associated with arrest are $1000 a round!
      Aside from that is the question is how can N.J. apply such restrictions to the Federal permissions under the LEOSA and are there other modifications they can arbitrarily enforce? Further, the question naturally follows, what is to stop any or all other states to apply their own little twists or modifications of their own to the LEOSA? Then we’re back to the current mess that all states have their own variations and you better not wander into another state without first learning their own modifications to the Federal LEOSA. Right now if you’re a retired LEO and unknowingly go into New Jersey with hollow points you’re in for a VERY bad day if caught!

      1. Wayne, I have done some preliminary research on LEOSA. What strikes me immediately is the paucity of case law on the Act and academic literature about the Act. But, I can say this: the applicable Statutes are 18 USCS §§ 926(B) and (C). One Statute covers current active duty police officers and the other qualified retired police officers. The language in the two U.S. Code Sections is essentially identical. There are, in each of the Statutes, only two limitations on the right of a current qualified active duty police officer and a qualified retired police officer to carry a firearm concealed in interstate commerce — that is to say — limitations on qualified police officers, whether current, active duty, or retired, to carry a firearm concealed in any State. The first limitation is that imposed on officers by private persons or entities. Private persons or entities may prohibit or restrict the possession of concealed firearms on the owner’s private property; and the State itself may prohibit or restrict possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base, or park. There are a few more restrictions. For example, LEOSA does not permit officers to carry machine guns, or firearms equipped with a silencer; nor may officers carry destructive devices. The expressions, ‘machine gun,’ ‘silencer’ and ‘destructive devices,’ are defined in 18 USCS § 921. There are also limitations on the types of ammunition police officers can use in their weapons. Police officers who are carrying firearms in interstate commerce cannot utilize ammunition that is expressly prohibited by Federal law or otherwise subject to the provisions of the National Firearms Act. Of course, LEOSA does not pertain to active duty federal law enforcement officers. Whatever restrictions on weaponry or ammunition or devices that active duty federal law enforcement officers may carry in interstate commerce, if any restrictions apply to them at all, would fall under other Sections of federal law or, possibly, if I were to hazard a guess, as described in secret Executive Orders. But I have not done any research on that. Hopefully, this is responsive to your question and concerns.

    5. Legally owned personal property (i.e. ‘so called assault weapons’) that was owned prior to January 15th, 2013 is now illegal via government fiat? Did the citizens of New York vote for this? Do Democrats want to make felons out of law abiding people who have a penchant for semi-automatic firearms?

      1. Janek, in response to your question, the majority of New York residents and voters apparently voted for many Legislators who take exception to civilian citizen ownership of firearms, which entails that these Legislators do not respect the import and purport of the Second Amendment. So, until such Legislators are voted out of Office and replaced with individuals who respect the Bill of Rights — all Ten of them — then, legislation like the New York Safe Act is what you can reasonably expect. Now, as to the language of the Act, be advised that, in accordance with Sub-division 16-a of Section 48 of the New York Safe Act, individuals, who had lawfully purchased, prior to enactment of the Safe Act, a weapon defined as an ‘assault weapon’ under Section 37 of the Safe Act, may continue, lawfully, to possess that weapon, so long as the weapon is (now was) registered within one year of the effective date of enactment of Sub-division 16-a, namely, registered on or before April 15, 2014. So, if you, a New York resident, have a firearm, defined as an ‘assault weapon,’ that you lawfully purchased in New York, prior to enactment of the Safe Act, and you registered that weapon on or before April 15, 2014, you are in lawful compliance with the Safe Act, and you – the original purchaser of that weapon – are, therefore, have continuous lawful possession of that weapon. If however, you have not timely registered that weapon, you are not in compliance with the Act, and, apropos of the Act, you are not in lawful possession of the weapon. Now, it may very well be that many New York residents, in an act of Civil Disobedience, may not have registered their “assault weapons.” Although the Safe Act is, in our opinion, unconstitutional in totality, nonetheless, it is law in New York, and Federal Courts have upheld the essence of the Act, even as they have struck down one or more provisions, or portions of provisions, of it. Professionally, I cannot suggest to you and will not suggest that anyone fail to comply with a “Bill” that a State Legislature enacts into law and that a State Governor formally signs into law, notwithstanding the purity of one’s motives that urge one to take a stand against it. For, I do not wish for any law-abiding American citizen to lose his or her firearms. Understand, failure to comply with the Safe Act, enables the New York State Government to have a reason to confiscate all such weapons, which is one salient goal of the Safe Act anyway. But, as these matters, which you give voice to, demand greater explication, I simply acknowledge, at this time, the legitimacy and profundity of them without expounding further on them.

    6. Paul H Starck, we will be doing our own analysis of the import of and impact of LEOSA in an upcoming article, to be posted in the Arbalest Quarrel. And, I will take a look at the Court opinion you refer me to on the LEAA link you kindly provided me. Thank you. I can’t help, though, but reflect on something a bit strange here, in respect to the very need for LEOSA; for it is the States, through the Tenth Amendment, certainly, that wield broad police powers, and the federal government will generally defer to the States on police matters; and, generally, we say this is as it should be. Yet, here we have, through a Federal Act, a specific appeal to that very federal government to restrain the States from exercising those very police powers when it comes to recognizing the right of police officers — whether active-duty or retired — and strictly apart from those in federal law enforcement, of course — to lawfully carry their handguns in interstate commerce (that is to say, across State lines). In almost any other situation, one might think of, the States proclaim their sacred right to be left alone and to suffer no interference from the federal government which can, and under the Obama Administration, as we have seen, wield a substantially heavy hand. But, don’t get me wrong. I am not attempting here to make argument against the need for LEOSA, which, quite, frankly, I only learned about quite recently. I point out though, that, in this instance, at least, the federal government is specifically called upon to restrain the States in the exercise of their police powers. And, I have heard, anecdotally at least, that New Jersey, for example, does arrest police officers from other jurisdictions — other than active current, sworn federal law enforcement officers, I assume — who are caught carrying their handguns in New Jersey. If, in fact, LEOSA does preempt State Law, then such action by New Jersey officers in arresting their brothers and sisters from other jurisdictions is patently illegal. Although, if federal preemption is not complete — then New Jersey does have a point about enforcing their own firearms’ laws as an exercise of their own police powers. But, why would New Jersey want to arrest police officers? The very fact that the State would arrest police officers from other jurisdictions for carrying their duty firearm for self-defense is mind-boggling, and this incongruity says quite a bit about what we might expect from “Republican” President Chris Christie. Just imagine! For all that, it would have been far better, I think, were the States themselves to recognize a right of all police officers to carry their handguns, concealed, on their person, wherever they happen to travel anywhere in the United States and in its territories, unimpeded. If that were so, a federal act, such as LEOSA, would not be needed. Jurisdictions like New Jersey proclaim, loud and clear, the need for federal intervention, in this instance, and that is sad indeed. Concerning the Ayn Rand quotation, the import of her remark is borne out today in ways surpassing, possibly, beyond what she might have conceived. And, the corruption manifested in the upper levels of the federal government, today, defies what I, myself, would have imagined possible, if I had stopped to think about it, thirty years ago. I do not wish to engage in an extended polemic on that score here, however. But, thank you for your remarks and for referring me to LEAA. I will take a look.

    7. I am a retired NYS Trooper living in North Carolina – pls comment on the following:
      “Retired cops federal law withstands test to carry anywhere in the USA”‏
      in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you… you may know that your society is doomed.” … Ayn Rand

      On Sep 18, 2015

      Court Rules Cops Can Carry Guns … Nationwide!

      SPRINGFIELD, Va., Nov 18, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — Good
      Guys Can Fight Back – Criminals Beware!

      A ruling on a case from South Dakota — where off-duty law enforcement
      officers were criminally charged for carrying guns despite the authority to
      do so under the federal ‘Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act of 2004’
      (LEOSA) — has confirmed that all qualified off-duty and retired law
      enforcement are allowed, by federal law, to carry a concealed gun for
      personal self-defense irrespective of state law. The federal law supersedes
      the crazy, confusing and often conflicted state and local laws that limit
      legitimate self-defense.

      LEAA’s Executive Director, Jim Fotis said, “When LEAA co-authored the
      original draft of what became affectionately known as ‘National Cop Carry’
      back in the early 1990’s, I knew it would save cops’ lives and give those
      who choose to resist violent criminals a fighting chance. In 2004 I shook
      President Bush’s hand after he signed our bill into law and rejoiced that
      our fight — for more than a decade — was finally over!”

      The local prosecutor’s apparent effort to challenge the federal law, and
      send a message to all in law enforcement not to carry a gun for self-defense
      in South Dakota, was soundly rejected! Thankfully, after careful review, the
      gun charges against the officers were dismissed. “The Judge’s crystal clear
      and unambiguous legal opinion should be required reading for every
      prosecutor in the nation so that no other law enforcement professionals,
      active or retired, have to endure what those officers and agents have
      endured in South Dakota,” declared Carl Rowan, LEAA’s Vice President.

      Robert Van Norman and Kenneth Orrock, Attorneys for the officers, said “We
      are pleased with the court’s decision, as it reaffirms the intent of the Law
      Enforcement Officers Safety Act and in effect will protect law enforcement
      officers and our communities. The law enforcement community should find
      comfort that LEOSA has been properly applied in this case.”

      A copy of the Judge’s memorandum decision — and extensive background
      information on LEOSA — is available at the LEAA website:

      The Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Inc., (LEAA) is the nation’s
      largest not for profit, non-partisan coalition of law enforcement
      professionals, crime victims, and concerned citizens dedicated to making
      America safer.

      SOURCE Law Enforcement Alliance of America – so my question is: as a retired NYST if i am traveling to either NYC or NYS can I conceal carry my sidearm?

    8. People still in NY need to do the boot scoot boogie !….LEAVE ! I mean we’re not talking about a paradise here,it’s a sh*thole ! I can’t believe that grown adults,law abiding citizens, are allowing these parasites to dictate to them what they can and can not have !

      1. Tex, you are assuming of course that New Yorkers care enough to act against the Legislators that create these draconian gun laws. Keep in mind, that many New Yorkers — not all, by any means, but certainly all too many — don’t want to possess firearms and they don’t want their neighbors to possess firearms either. Too many New Yorkers and, for that matter, too many Americans across this Country, buy into the myth that guns are “evil” and that a person is more likely to shoot himself or herself in the foot than it is that the person is likely, successfully, to defend his or her life with a gun. Just listen to what Hillary Clinton has to say about guns. Clinton is the antigun zealot’s dream come true.

    9. Now does thoughs protections and exceptions to the safe act extend to Peace Officers in NYS? or only those law enforcement officers who hold Police officers status ?

      1. Obione, the following, in a very large “nutshell,” is responsive to your question: Those officers, categorized as “peace officers,” in New York, do fall under the general exemption to the “assault weapon” ban, as is true for “police officers.” The basic Exemption Statute is NY CLS Penal § 265.20. However, one has to dig deeper into the morass of the Consolidated laws of New York to ascertain whether that exemption to the ban on possession of “assault weapons,” and to possession of other illegal weapons for that matter, means exactly what it says. For, as it turns out the Exemption Statute for current, active duty, sworn New York “peace officers,” is not unqualified. For current active duty New York “police officers,” however, the Exemption Statute is clear and categorical. What about retired, qualified police officers and retired, qualified peace officers? NY CLS Penal § 265.20 does not apply to retired, qualified New York peace officers or to retired qualified New York police officers, but other provisions within NY CLS Penal § 265.00 and NY CLS Penal § 400.00, do provide that a retired, qualified police officer or a retired, qualified federal law enforcement officer can retain his active duty weapon even if that weapon is defined under the NY Safe Act as an ‘assault weapon’ or utilizes a “banned,” “large capacity ammunition feeding device.” New York law does not, unfortunately, treat retired, qualified peace officers as favorably as it does retired, qualified police officers and retired qualified federal law enforcement officers. I hope this brief outline assists you. But, be advised, this matter is far to intricate to lay out for you, comprehensively, in a few short sentences here. We encourage you to take a look at the complete article, titled, “Transfers of Assault Weapons by Sale, Gift, Trade or Bequest to New York Police Officers, New York Peace Officers, and to Federal Law Enforcement Officers” which you will find at We get into the nitty-gritty of the direct and tangential issues on our site.

    10. So in NYC as a retired Federal LEO I lose my FEDERAL right to own and carry a weapon if I move to NY? How is this possible? I have carried a weapon daily for over 30 years and still to this day carry my Federal Credentials that meet the Federal requirements for daily carry and now you are saying that because I “retired” and want to live in NY I have to give up my FEDERAL rights offered to me by LEOSA??
      I “might” be able to understand not buying in NY but if I buy it will I live in say FL and move to NY I have to give it up upon crossing the border? That HAS to be Federally illegal!
      Dr D

        1. Eric, I’m NOT so sure you are correct. Case law re: LEOSA does allow proper
          retired LEO’s to carry in all 50 states (plus). That includes NY State.

      1. Dr Dave, NY CLS Penal Section 400.00 provides an exception for retired qualified police officers and retired qualified federal law enforcement officers. So, the Officer who decides to live, in his or her retirement, in New York, can keep a weapon and that officer is provided with an unrestricted full carry license under New York law, apart from possible application of the federal LEOSA. And NY CLS Penal Section 265.00 sets forth that a current active-duty sworn police officer or current active-duty sworn federal law enforcement officer who was issued or purchased a weapon in the performance of his “official duties” may continue to possess that weapon after the officer retires. It is understood that such weapon may be one that is defined as an ‘assault weapon’ under the NY Safe Act or otherwise might utilize a banned “large capacity ammunition feeding device.” In this limited circumstance, the retired officer must register that weapon but he need do so only once and he must do so within 60 days from the date that the officer formally retires from active-duty law enforcement. Now, suppose the officer purchased or was issued more than one weapon during the period that he was active-duty. Can the officer continue to keep multiple weapons that might be so-called “assault weapons” or which utilize large capacity ammunition magazines? That is uncertain because NY CLS Penal Section 265.00 uses the singular term, ‘weapon,’ and not the plural, ‘weapons.’ So, do we understand that ‘weapon,’ as used in the law means singular ‘weapon’ or plural ‘weapons’ where the word, ‘or’ is used here in the inclusive sense? On a strict reading, the word ‘weapon’ means ‘one weapon.’ But, police officers may have been issued or purchased for use in their official capacity many “assault weapons” or weapons that came with “large capacity ammunition feeding devices,” during a lengthy tenure in law enforcement. Must the officer, now retired, select one such weapon out of several that he wishes to keep — and register that weapon — and sell or surrender the rest? We simply don’t have a definitive answer for you to that question.

    11. Can an active duty police officer still purchase “assault weapons” legally? And can they keep them after they retire? Also, does the state require that they be registered? Which of course I wouldn’t do.

      1. Rob, “yes.” A current, active-duty New York police officer can lawfully continue to acquire for himself or herself, in his or her personal capacity, for his or her personal collection, banned weapons including those banned weapons, defined as ‘assault weapons’ under the Safe Act, even as most other New York residents cannot. As for your question, whether a retired, qualified police officer can retain possession of those firearms that the officer acquired lawfully during his or her tenure as an active-duty police officer, that is an open question. We have found no New York law that addresses that situation. And, assuming that a retired, qualified police officer can continue to keep the weapons he acquired, after the NY Safe Act took effect, on January 15, 2013, and during the period of time that a NY police officer was active-duty, we don’t have an answer for you for that question either. We cannot tell you whether those weapons must be registered, once the officer is retired. Nor, do we have an answer for you as to how those weapons are to be registered if, in fact, they must be registered. Once again, New York law is silent on this.

        1. So buy what you can now and take your chances after retiring? I’ve gotten different answers from everyone. One gun shop said I could buy now but had to get rid of it the day I retire.

          1. Rob,
            You said: “So buy what you can now and take your chances after retiring? I’ve gotten different answers from everyone. One gun shop said I could buy now but had to get rid of it the day I retire.” The difficulty is, as I said, previously, that New York law doesn’t address the issue. That is why you are getting, seemingly, conflicting answers. Still, consistent, with what New York firearms’ laws exist, the party you spoke with at the gun shop is taking a conservative approach to an issue that is a conundrum. And, he isn’t incorrect. This is what we do know — and we discuss this issue in much more detail in the complete, unabridged article as posted on current active duty sworn New York police officers are permitted to acquire, own, and possess banned firearms, i.e., “assault weapons,” during their tenure as active-duty police officers. And, I am referring here to active-duty police officers acquiring so-called “assault weapons” in their personal capacity; for, obviously, in the course of their official duties, many police officers — depending on their assignments — will be using an assortment of banned or otherwise controlled, restricted firearms, including “assault rifles” and submachine guns. The New York Penal Code states clearly, concisely, and categorically that current, active-duty police officers fall within an exception to the prohibition on possession of many kinds of banned weapons. “Assault weapons” are simply one large category of banned weapons that current, active-duty, sworn police officers can lawfully acquire, own, and possess in their personal, off-duty capacity. And, as our analysis shows, the Penal Code of New York also makes clear, albeit tacitly, that retired, qualified police officers cannot continue to acquire banned weapons, including, and particularly, those banned weapons defined as ‘assault weapons’ in the Safe Act. That is the source of the conundrum. The million dollar question is whether the weapons that a police officer had lawfully acquired for himself, in his personal capacity, during the Officer’s tenure as a current, active-duty, sworn police officer, but subsequent to enactment of the NY Safe Act, on January 15, 2013, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Safe Act into law, may be lawfully retained by that police officer once the Officer retires. Since the exemption to lawful acquisition, ownership, and possession of such weapons does not apply to retired police officers, then, strictly speaking, and consistent with New York law, that Officer has in his or her possession “banned weapons” that the Officer cannot lawfully possess. Why? For the simple reason that the Officer, now retired, is not lawfully permitted to acquire and possess such weapons. So, strictly speaking, that Officer cannot rightfully continue to possess what he is no longer able, by the same token, to continue to acquire and possess. At best, such “assault weapons” that the Officer did lawfully acquire and possess during his or her tenure as a sworn police officer fall into a nebulous gray area. Still, as we said, and this is in line with the party with whom you spoke at the gun shop, the advice that gun shop party told you is consistent with New York law that we do have. What this all boils down to is this: assuming that a retired police officer does in fact have a sizable collection of expensive “assault weapons” that he acquired during his tenure as an active-duty sworn police Officer and, now that the officer is retired, the Officer is not entitled to retain possession of those weapons, the real question is: who in Cuomo’s administration is going to compel that Officer to surrender those weapons? Do, you see a sizable, political problem brewing? Cuomo and the antigun establishment is not just dealing with the civilian population of law-abiding gun owners, now, He is dealing with a sizable contingent of New York police officers whom the Government needs to keep the peace. I would hazard a guess that neither the Governor, nor the current or previous Mayor of New York, nor the antigun Legislators in the New York Assembly and Senate would desire to wage war with their own Army of police officers. The old saw is: “let sleeping dogs lie.” That is why we, at the Arbalest Quarrel, suggest that current, active-duty sworn police officers, who wish to acquire an “assault weapon” collection, should do so while they are active-duty. We would not suggest that if we felt that the Governor and the antigun Legislators actually had the stomach to tell such police officers — when retired — that they must surrender those weapons even if they could. And, yes, consistent with present New York law, the Governor could, drawing on decent legal argument, make a demand for the surrender of those weapons. But, would he? I sincerely doubt that he would. What he might do as a matter of law would not be doable as a matter of practicality and pragmatic good sense.

    12. The Laws of New York State do not ‘Trump” Federal law. “Qualified” active and retired officers from NYS can have their cake and eat it too, when it comes to ownership of assault style firearms. The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) of 2004 and its amendments provide those active and retired officers qualified to the LEOSA standard to posses and carry any firearm anywhere in the USA, including territories and possessions (PR & Guam), except those weapons prohibited by Federal Law.

      So, those active and retired officers who qualify to the LEOSA standard, including those in NYS would be exempt from their State and Local laws pertaining to ownership and carriage of their personally owned firearms. They would still need to follow their state and local law to obtain and dispose of firearms, but not to keep or carry the ones they have.

      One needs to look no further than this case, involving the infamous Drew Peterson, for some “Case Law” on the subject.

      I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV, and will state no one, especially a current or retired LEO wants to be a test case….But based on the above whould probably have a nice payday if they took a collar in NYS.

      1. J Altavia, New York law doesn’t trump the U.S. Constitution either; and the U.S. Constitution stands above both State law and federal statute. But, as I explained in my response to Tim’s comment, above, the import of the Second Amendment doesn’t prevent the drafters of restrictive firearms’ laws from enacting laws that, in our opinion, are inconsistent with the language of the Second Amendment. Now, concerning the import of the “Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act,” the Arbalest Quarrel will be writing about the impact of that Act, in an upcoming article. We believe that the salient issue goes to the matter of “preemption.” In other words, did the federal government, when enacting “LEOSA,” intend to completely preempt the police powers of the State in reference to how States treat their own officers, both retired and current, active-duty and how they treat active-duty and retired police officers from other jurisdictions, apropos of the carrying of a loaded firearm on one’s person. We will have a detailed analysis of that issue in a future article.

        1. Roger, I believe the federal government’s intent is to preempt the states completely. As it stands now, the law is ambiguous, but in our (Law Enforcements) favor. I look forward to your detailed analysis on the issue.

    13. As a retired LEO no one likes perks more than me, I also despise this business of police being the “chosen few”, whether they are current or retired, regarding being able to carry where ever they go or for anything else. This is nothing more than class warfare.

    14. Behind enemy lines in Ct. We have the same problem here.Democratic collectivists are the majority in the house and senate. Collectivist, Rino’s sided with them. Sold out ‘We the People” on the phony alter of public safety. In reality both parties hate what the Constitution, Bill of Right’s, and the Founder’s Republic ,stands for. Generations ago my family left Italy, Great Britain and Germany. To get away from tyrant’s and tyrannical governments. Plus the right of yeoman to own land . And control our own destiny’s. Law abiding, vetted ,gun owner’s are labeled the lunatic fringe. And have become newly minted felons for failure to register commonly owned AR-15’s and standard capacity magazines. I have never forgotten my oath [U.S.Army- Cold Warrior].To preserve and protect the Constitution/ America from all enemy’s both foreign and domestic ! [D]im witt Gov. Dannell Malloy forgets that he is a servant and not the master. No matter if he won 2 rigged elections. Seems like many votes were counted twice in Hartford and Bridgeport. He forgets we out number him , and all the potential jack boots he would like to bring down .Upon our necks.

    15. Are you sure about the following?

      We know this much: once a police officer retires, that officer is placed on the same legal footing as any other law-abiding New York resident, who never worked in law enforcement.

      1. DRuta, in the context of the Article, the answer to your question is, “yes.” Retired, qualified police officers are placed on the same legal footing as any average, law-abiding New York resident. Retired, qualified police officers are not permitted to continue to acquire firearms defined as “assault weapons” to add to their personal collection. That prohibition does not extend to “assault weapons” they may happen to have acquired lawfully, prior to enactment of the Safe Act, and prior to the time they became “police officers” as that expression is defined in New York law. But that, of course, is true of any law-abiding NY resident. Now, as for “assault weapons,” that a police officer happened to acquire, after the Safe Act took effect, but during the time the officer was a current, active-duty sworn police officer, it is not clear whether police officers can continue to lawfully possess those assault weapons. But, if they are permitted to continue to possess those weapons, then the question is one of registration. Do they need to register them just one time, after they retire, or do they have to register them periodically. Also, I will mention it here that, retired qualified police officers essentially obtain, as a matter of right, a full, unrestricted concealed handgun carry license. The vast majority of New York residents must show good cause why they should have an unrestricted concealed handgun carry license. Lastly, retired, qualified police officers generally will continue to carry their active-duty handguns. Those handguns, generally, if not invariably, depending on the handguns that each department or agency authorizes their police officers to use in the course of their official duties, are semiautomatic pistols that come equipped with what the Safe Act refers to as “large capacity ammunition magazines.” Some of those semiautomatic handguns may hold 17 rounds of ammunition. The average, law-abiding New York resident is not permitted — as the Safe Act is presently written — to possess a semiautomatic pistol that can hold more than 10 rounds. I hope this is responsive to your question.

      2. As it should be… No exceptions for cops, retired or otherwise. The only way to do away with these tyrants & their draconian laws is not to create different classes of people. Either cops can’t have them or we all can have them… We can’t let politicians chip away at our rights just because some people think some things are scary or should only belong to the elite class.

    16. The Sullivan Act is proof that NYC and many parts of NY don’t acknowledge the Constitutional rights. That was passed in 1911 and courts would not hear cases related to it. The SAFE Act just adds to it. We need to pass laws to punish those that infringe on rights . Those that claim public safety and national security would be the first jailed.

    17. If its legally posessed at any time, one could make an argument that the constitution of the us prohibits seizure of property and under that, a police officer can not be forced to give up his or her property upon retirement. If it was leagly purchased

      1. Tim, the sad truth is that all too many New York Legislators do not allow the U.S. Constitution to get in the way of their desire to hamper the law-abiding American’s ability to acquire, own, and possess firearms. And such disdain as these Legislators have for the Second Amendment and for one’s property rights in his or her firearms is reflected in the laws they pass. The Arbalest Quarrel has written quite extensively on the issue of the notion of a personal, definable property interest in one’s firearms.

    18. I am curious as to what constitutes an “assault weapon” under the Safe Act. The definition of an “assault rifle” is a select – fire rifle capable of fully automatic fire. If this is the case then these rifles will also fall under NFA regulations as well. Just my 2 pennies. . .

      1. Thank you for your question, Dan. In the Arbalest Quarrel we have written extensively on what constitutes an “assault weapon” under the NY Safe Act. If you have an opportunity, we encourage you to take a look at our site and read our articles. We have, as well, explained, very clearly, the distinction between an “assault rifle,” which is a military term of art, and the “assault weapon,” which is nothing more than a fiction created by antigun groups to whittle away at the types of firearms available to honest, law-abiding Americans. We feel, that one goal of these groups is to place ever more firearms into the category of “assault weapon.” With that strategy, the antigun groups and antigun politicians hope to reduce, considerably, the kinds of firearms available to Americans. This becomes an insidious backdoor mechanism to weaken the Second Amendment.

        1. So, basically, an “assault weapon” is whatever the current fascist in charge wants to call an “assault weapon”

          New York, you get what you vote for. That’s why I left.

          1. So you are saying, that while you lived here, you voted for the fascists? I hate the argument that you live in NY so you elected the idiots in office. No I didn’t, the liberal cesspool of NY City elects these fools that give them the free stuff they want, not the rest of the state.

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