Federal judge rules against New Jersey, finally allowing retired LEOs to carry concealed weapons

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TRENTON, NJ: A federal judge has recently ruled against New Jersey in an LEOSA case that will allow retired federal law enforcement officers to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a NJ state permit.

In a case that stemmed from the lawsuit filed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) against the state of New Jersey for failing to abide by the federal mandate- a federal judge agreed with FLEOA this month.

It included a second ruling in favor of the FLEOA. According to the NRA-Institute of Legislative Action posting:

“But that wasn’t enough for the judge, who held that a non-binding policy change did not resolve the case: ‘the Court finds that LEOSA preempts the Permit Scheme and prohibition on hollow point ammunition as applied to Plaintiffs and QRLEOs who already have ‘identification’ …. [T]he Court hereby declares that [those restrictions] violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.”

Woman pulls a gun from her swanky purse. Conceal carry weapon for protection themselves concept. Selective focus to gun.

This is a big win for both the law enforcement community and the public at large. Having more highly qualified individuals carry concealed weapons will most certainly add to the overall safety of the public.

New Jersey is home to some of the most dangerous cities in America; Trenton, Camden, Paterson, just to name a few. These cities routinely rank among the nations worst for violent crime and disturbing news involving street gangs.

Why New Jersey wouldn’t want more law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons will always be mystery.

It seems in line with the states history of political corruption and absurd policy makers who cannot get enough control over its residents.

This decision that favors the law enforcement community is indicative of the country showing more support for cops, too- which has been a long, overdue change.

More and more politicians are starting to acknowledge the spike in violent crime since the disastrous ‘defund the police’ movement. It seems common sense is start taking hold… finally.

The LEOSA Act

IN 2004, the federal government established a nationwide policy to allow certain federal officers to carry a concealed weapon despite state and local laws.

According to the NRA Institute of Legislative Action column:

“LEOSA allows current and retired qualified officers with identification issued by their agency to carry a concealed firearm nationwide, notwithstanding state and local law. Despite that clear mandate, the garden state held that LEOSA did not provide a path for qualified officers to carry concealed in the state.”

The NJ Officer of Attorney General 2018 Memo

Federal judge rules against New Jersey, finally allowing retired LEOs to carry concealed weapons
Screenshot of NJ memo, courtesy of nj.gov

The New Jersey Office of Attorney General issued a ‘frequently asked questions’ memo in October of 2018. The first question addresses their stance at the time.

The memo posed a question and provided an answer, it stated:

“Who can qualify for a retired law enforcement officer permit to carry a firearm?

N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6(L) sets forth the requirements for a permit to carry by a retired law enforcement officer (RLEO). Every RLEO residing in New Jersey who wishes to carry a firearm must meet the New Jersey statutory standards and obtain a retired officer permit to carry (RPO permit) in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6(L).”

The original memo also addressed the question of what ammunition is restricted. The memo stated:

“Generally, what ammunition is acceptable?

RLEOs can generally use any type of commercially available ammunition, so long as it is not hollow point. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-17 (effective June 13, 2018), an RLEO may possess and carry a large capacity ammunition magazine which is capable of holding up to 15 rounds of ammunition that can be fed continuously and directly into a semiautomatic handgun.

However, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-20 (effective August 12, 2018), any RLEO who carries a large capacity magazine capable of holding up to 15 rounds must separately register the firearm with the New Jersey State Police.”

The federal judge who ruled in favor of the FLEOA showed common sense and reminded New Jersey that no state can override the federal government.

But it’s still a mystery why New Jersey would even challenge a federal mandate in the first place- but not surprising. New Jersey is known across the nation for its strict gun control laws.

In a statement made by FLEOA president Larry Cosme and NJ FOP president Robert W. Fox:

“The state’s flagrant and willful ignorance of federal law has sowed confusion and discontent among otherwise qualified law enforcement officers.”

This is just the start of a change of the public perception of the Law Enforcement community. We all hope for more and get back the respect LEO’s deserve.

 

Federal judge rules against New Jersey, finally allowing retired LEOs to carry concealed weapons

The original LET coverage of the lawsuit.

Police file lawsuit against New Jersey for violating concealed carry rights: ‘Can’t ignore federal laws.’

Posted May 12, 2020

TRENTON, NJ – Monday, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) in conjunction with the New Jersey State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (NJFOP) filed a lawsuit against the State of New Jersey for a violation of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA).

That’s a lot of acronyms in one sentence, but stay with me.

The lawsuit specifically names Gurbir Grewal, NJ State Attorney General, and Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of NJ State Police.

If you’re not familiar with LEOSA, it’s an act passed by Congress in 2004 that said qualified active and retired law enforcement officers were allowed under federal law to carry concealed authorized firearms throughout the United States.

The act was expanded twice in 2010 and 2013, indicating continued support for the act in Congress.

The State of New Jersey, FLEOA and NJFOP state, has “chosen to consistently neglect this important public safety federal law.”

The organizations claim:

“New Jersey has enacted state laws that deny qualified law enforcement officers their concealed carry rights under LEOSA.”

Specifically, they say:

“In October 2018, the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document concerning the State’s application of the LEOSA with respect to qualified active retired officers which rejects the exemption for these officers, stating the purpose of the law is ‘to bar prosecution for retired LEOs who carry concealed firearms in interstate commerce.’ This is completely incorrect…According to S Rept. 111-233, the purpose of the LEOSA is to recognize that:

“‘law enforcement officers occupy a unique place in American society and should be entrusted with special privileges related to firearms. The bill the Committee reports in the 111th Congress continues this recognition by making improvements to existing law necessary to ensure that qualified retired officers are able to gain the privileges and protections Congress originally intended in the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2003.’

“Further, the State Attorney General’s FAQ states that qualified retired law enforcement officers are prohibited from carrying hollow point bullets, which ignores the Federal statute which provides a very explicit exemption for ammunition that is ‘not expressly prohibited by Federal law or subjected to the provisions of the National Firearms Act.'”

The organizations also indicated that they have attempted to resolve the issue with the Governor, the State Attorney General, and the State legislature, to no avail.

In a letter to US Attorney general William Barr, the National Fraternal Order of Police President Pat Yoes said:

“The State of New Jersey should not be able to change existing law by misinterpreting the statute and ignoring its legislative history of the intention of Congress.”

Further, Yoes stated:

“Retired officers in New Jersey may be in legal jeopardy to prosecution by the State for adhering to the Federal law, which is very clear on the exemption…For this reason, the State FOP has taken a lead role and filed a complaint with the US District Court for the District of New Jersey.”

In a press release regarding the lawsuit, New Jersey FOP President Bob Fox said:

“When an officer takes their oath to protect and serve their community, it does not end when the badge comes off and an officer retires.

The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) acknowledges this fact and provides qualified, former law enforcement with the opportunity to continue serving the public after their retirement if they feel compelled.

When Congress passed LEOSA with wide bipartisan support, they accepted that there are no better trained individuals to respond to a threat than qualified retired law enforcement officers.”

Additionally in the release, FLEOA President Larry Cosme said:

“In the state of New Jersey, we see that criminals at times have easier access to firearms than qualified retired law enforcement officers.

The intent of LEOSA was to bring a force multiplier of qualified retired law enforcement officers onto the streets of America, so criminals would think twice before acting.

“By adding their own regulatory scheme that violates the clear language of LEOSA and making it almost impossible in some cases for an officer to carry their authorized firearm, the State of New Jersey continues to make the public less safe for its residents, who are already impacted by the violent crime statistics in some of its major cities.

“Under LEOSA, a clear set of regulations is prescribed for qualified law enforcement offices to follow. Within those regulations, the agencies or departments that an officer served with make the determination if an officer is qualified or not.

New Jersey regulations try to preempt that process and make arbitrary decisions regarding who is and is not qualified, including the ability to deny an otherwise qualified officer, a clear breach of federal law.

“FLEOA has worked closely with other states who have a fair and federally compliant interpretation of LEOSA. We have attempted to work with New Jersey state officials but have been thwarted.

Now we are left with the only recourse that will protect our members and their rights by filing suit against the state. Congress has protected their right not once, not twice, but three times yet New Jersey ignores them.

This is not a matter of states’ rights or gun rights, it is a matter of public safety and New Jersey politicians thwarting federal law and endangering the public instead of supporting the safety to the officers who have trained, committed, and devoted their lives to protecting the public.”

It’s fitting that as National Police Week kicks off, organizations like FLEOA and the FOP are advocating for active and retired law enforcement officers, ensuring that they are able to keep themselves and others safe.

Law Enforcement Today will be monitoring the lawsuit and will bring you updates as available.

Federal judge rules against New Jersey, finally allowing retired LEOs to carry concealed weapons

More recent ‘carry laws’ common sense ruling.

Only 24-hours after banning off-duty cops from carrying at New York State Fair, state reverses course

Posted August 12, 2022

ALBANY, NY- Just 24-hours after unleashing a firestorm of criticism from police officers and law enforcement groups, the agency which manages the New York State Fair has walked back a policy which would have banned off-duty police officers from carrying firearms at the annual event, according to a department spokesperson, The Epoch Times reports.

“The fair’s long-standing rules of conduct state that firearms are prohibited on the Fairgrounds, with the exception of law enforcement and participation in the gun show, an Aug. 10 email from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) read.

“We have engaged with law enforcement to inform them of provisions we have in place to allow off-duty officers to carry their personal or service firearms while visiting the fair.”

That statement reversed a policy issued only the day before, where the New York State Police advised the law enforcement community that the organization (NYSDAM) had decided to prohibit off-duty law enforcement personnel from carrying on the fairgrounds.

“This is not a State Police policy. However, we will be getting called to the gates wherever a firearm is detected,” the email obtained by The Epoch Times read.

Peter Kehoe, executive director of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association slammed the policy when it first was publicized, calling it a break from tradition from past practice.

“An officer doesn’t suddenly become a menace just because he is not on the police payroll at that particular moment.

“The downside of the policy, of course, is that the fair-going public doesn’t get the protection of trained, armed police officers who can instantly, effectively respond to any emergency,” Kehoe told The Times.

Kehoe noted that outrage from law enforcement was likely the impetus for the policy being changed so quickly.

The initial decision came only weeks after an armed civilian stopped a potential mass shooting at an Indiana mall by shooting the suspect with his legally owned firearm, killing him and saving countless lives.

Chief Paul Rickard of the Mount Hope Police Department called the initial decision a “poor policy,” while noting that “whoever was advising them was giving them bad advice.”

“If there is an active shooter, and you have armed off-duty officers, they can immediately act. The ban just made the public less safe. I personally would not go to the fair based on that alone,” the chief added.

The ban was enacted by the NYSDAM apparently without reviewing and revising the state fair’s “rules of conduct,” which permit officers to carry in general with no distinction drawn between on-duty and off-duty. Private citizens, however, are prohibited from carrying any weapons on fairgrounds, including firearms, knives, razors, etc.

New York recently passed a concealed carry law which will likely be ruled unconstitutional, since it bans firearms in pretty much the entire state.

Under the law, private citizens with carry licenses are prohibited from carrying firearms in “sensitive areas,” which includes government property, places of worship, educational institutions, mass transit hubs, public spaces being utilized for special events and many more.

The new law, however, doesn’t apply to active and retired police officers, security guards, and active-duty military personnel.

In responding to the controversy, the office of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul attributed the initial ban to “miscommunication” and said “their main priority is keeping everyone safe at the fair, Spectrum News 1 in Buffalo said.

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