Concealed Carry for LEOs: LEOSA vs State CCF Permits

A Galco concealable holster. Image credit: Midway USA

A Galco concealable holster. Image credit: Midway USA

for Active and Retired LEOs

Part 1 – LEOSA vs State CCF Permits

By Chip DeBlock

There is not much information on this subject, especially for law enforcement officers (LEOs) who want to continue carrying concealed firearms after they retire. Although I will cover “concealed carry” for active LEOs in this article, the bulk of this information is intended for retired (including separated from service) or soon to be retired LEOs.

There are basically two (2) types of legislation that apply, one (1) federal and one (1) state:

  1. The Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (H.R. 218) was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2004 and was amended by President Barack Obama in 2010 and 2013.1 The purpose of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (LEOSA) is to allow qualified active law enforcement officers (QLEO) and qualified retired law enforcement officers (QRLEO) the ability to carry a concealed firearm nationwide (including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all other U.S. possessions except the Canal Zone) despite what state or local laws prohibit.
  2. State Carrying a Concealed Firearm (CCF) permits. These permits and their provisions vary from state-to-state.

This article is not intended to encompass who qualifies for coverage under LEOSA, those who choose to “conceal carry” as a licensed private investigator or your individual agency’s policy on “concealed carry” when you’re off-duty. It is meant to discuss LEOSA and state carrying concealed firearm (CCF) permits, to compare the two (2) and to help LEOs decide whether or not they need to be covered by either or by both of these pieces of legislation.

The LEOSA is nationwide, but state CCF permits vary state-to-state. Because this writer resides in Florida, the below comparison will encompass that state. There are a number of other states (like Ohio) that have similar CCF permit laws to Florida’s. One of the best sites I’ve found to research this information is HANDGUNLAW.US with links to individual state pages and statutes. So, if you live in the US but outside of Florida, simply access this site to obtain your state’s CCF permit information and compare to LEOSA which is in the left hand column below:

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS’ SAFETY ACT FLORIDA CCF PERMIT
Term 2 3 Term 4
Valid For 1 Year Valid For 7 Years
Qualification 2 3 Qualification 4
Once Every 12 Months Once
Identification Required 2 3 Identification Required 4
Photo ID Issued By Agency & LEOSA Certification (for retirees only) CCF Permit & Valid Identification
Restrictions 1 2 3 Restrictions 4
Aircraft and Other Common CarriersFederal Buildings

Federal Property

National Parks

Certain State Laws (permitting private persons/entities to prohibit/restrict possession of concealed firearms on their property and prohibiting/restricting possession of firearms on any State or local government property, installation, building, base or park)

Place of NuisancePolice, Sheriff or Highway Patrol Station

Detention Facility, Prison or Jail

Courthouse

Courtroom

Polling Place

Meeting of Governing Body

Meeting of Legislature or Committee

School, College or Professional Athletic Event

Elementary or Secondary School Facility

Career Center

Establishment Dispensing Alcoholic Beverages

College or University Facility

Airport

Any Place Prohibited By Federal Law

As you can see, there are many more restrictions carrying in Florida with a Florida CCF permit than carrying with a LEOSA certification. However, you need to qualify every year with the LEOSA as opposed to once with a Florida CCF permit. Also, although not listed with the other restrictions under LEOSA, the following limitations are built into the federal statute:

  1. Active and retired LEOs do not qualify under LEOSA if they are under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance
  2. Active LEOs do not qualify under LEOSA if they are the subject of any disciplinary action by the agency which could result in suspension or loss of police powers

One of the biggest differences between LEOSA and a Florida CCF permit deals with alcohol. If you’re under the influence of alcohol, you’re not covered by LEOSA but you’re presumably still covered under a Florida CCF permit as long as you’re not chronically and habitually intoxicated 5 and you’re not in a bar. However, under LEOSA you’re covered in a bar as long as you’re not intoxicated.

Even General Counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) realizes that your ability to “conceal carry” under federal law may be challenged in other states. They suggest retired LEOs consider obtaining a Florida CCF permit because it’s recognized in 35 reciprocity states 6.

In conclusion it is my opinion that, as a retired LEO, your most important coverage is under the federal LEOSA. You have to qualify every year but the coverage is broader than when under state permits. As a backup I recommend obtaining your state CCF permit too. In Florida this permit is for 7 years and free to LEOs if they apply within one (1) year of retiring.

Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice and does not contain all the information on this topic including the applicable statutes. The author’s personal viewpoints, interpretations and opinions are contained within. Anyone seeking to take action on this topic or needing more information should consult with an attorney, reference applicable statutes and conduct their own research.

1 Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act (H.R. 218) signed into law by President George W. Bush on 07/22/04 is now Public Law 108-277. Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act Improvements Act (S. 1132) signed into law by President Barack H. Obama II on 10/12/10 is now Public Law 111-272. National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) signed into law by President Obama on 01/02/13 is now Public Law 112-239. The amended LEOSA applies to QLEO under 18 USC 926B and to QRLEO under 18 USC 926C. http://www.fop.net/legislative/issues/hr218/hr218faq.pdf

2 18 U.S.C. 926B – Carry of Concealed Firearms by Qualified Law Enforcement Officers – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title18/pdf/USCODE-2010-title18-partI-chap44-sec926B.pdf

3 18 U.S.C. 926C – Carrying of Concealed Firearms by Qualified Retired Law Enforcement Officers – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title18/pdf/USCODE-2010-title18-partI-chap44-sec926C.pdf

4 F.S.S. 790.06(12)(a) http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0790/Sections/0790.06.html

5 F.S.S. 790.06(2)(f) – Does not chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages or other substances to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired. It shall be presumed that an applicant chronically and habitually uses alcoholic beverages or other substances to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired if the applicant has been committed under chapter 397 [Substance Abuse] or under the provisions of former chapter 396 or has been convicted under s. 790.151 [Using A Firearm While Under The Influence] or has been deemed a habitual offender under s. 856.011(3) [Disorderly Intoxication conviction 3 times in preceding 12 months], or has had two or more convictions under s. 316.193 [DUI] or similar laws of any other state, within the 3-year period immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0790/Sections/0790.06.html

6 Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Office of General Counsel H.R. 218 and S. 1132 Summary and Overview – August 2012 http://www.therighttraining.com/documents/hr218.pdf

2 comments

  1. Mr. DeBlock,

    I am the Co-Owner of http://www.handgunlaw.us and thank you for the recommendation. We try to supply the most up to date info on the Concealed Firearms Laws. Each of our state pages has LEOSA info for that state. My question is you have National Parks as being off limits to those carrying under LEOSA in your article. I can’t find this in the LEOSA or state laws. Am I missing something in the laws? National Parks go by the laws of the state they are in and if you can legally carry in that state you can carry in the National Park in that state. Buildings if posted by the Feds are off limits. Can you elaborate on this or email me at admins@handgunlaw.us. I want the correct information on the site. Thank you and Stay Safe, Gary Slider

  2. This summer I visited several National Parks out west. I was told by Law Enforcement Rangers that they follow the state law where the park is located for permits but Federal Buildings are off limits and all of the National Park buildings I visited were posted. I visited one BLM building in Montana and it was not posted.

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