LABOR RELATIONS AND GUN CONTROL
Does an agency have the right to decide when its law enforcement personnel can carry their weapons while off duty? For example, can the Dept. of Army deny its law enforcement personnel who are armed while on the job, the right to carry off the job until they have been in the job for five years? Nope, or at least that is what the Office of the Special Counsel got DOD to accept.
The law enforcement officer designation is explicitly defined by the Amended Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 (LEOSA). The law allows a qualified law enforcement officer to carry a concealed firearm, regardless of state or local laws, while off duty for the purpose of personal protection and law enforcement actions in exigent circumstances. Beyond the specific criteria established in the statute, an Army Directive required an individual to “show 6 years of cumulative police experience …” to qualify for an identification card.
It is understandable that a federal agency might want impose an extra requirement on a law enforcement officer’s right to carry off the job, such as years of experience or at least completion of a probationary period. An improper shooting incident could reflect poorly on the agency. But that right to be cautious was taken away by the 2004 law. Now if an agency has a concern, it simply must fire the officer. Check out the Office of Special Counsel announcement for more details.