16 December 2011
My Fellow Retirees,
Let me first introduce myself and explain the reason for this letter. My name is Steve Kuhn. Some of you may know me and others may not. I retired from the department in 2004 after 27 years and, after a time of bliss and boredom, I accepted an offered position with the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions in the Firearms Training Unit. Part of my duties here at the commission, in addition to being a full time staff instructor is that I serve as the lead instructor for the Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act, more commonly known as LEOSA. I spoke with Nick Caprinolo in early December and per our conversation, I discovered that there were some misunderstandings out there about LEOSA and how it works. Nick asked if I could compose a letter that would hopefully clear up some of those misunderstandings.
First off, I understand the department may very well begin its own LEOSA training program sometime in January. My congratulations to all involved in bringing this dream to fruition. I know it was a tedious process and you never gave up the fight. Kudos on a "Job Well Done". Now on to the meat of this letter.
In the past, when the issuance of LEOSA permits to retirees whose home agencies were not offering this training fell to the Maryland State Police, they had an in house policy stating "if the retirees home agency WAS conducting LEOSA training, that retiree MUST get their training and certification to carry from said agency" which meant the Maryland State Police would not issue a permit. The retiree was mandated to seek the training and permit from their home agency. Along with that, any agency NOT participating in LEOSA training for their own retirees, those individuals had to come through the Commission’s program and submit the proper paperwork to and receive their permit from MSP.
In August of this year, the Commission was able to convince the Maryland State Police that since we were conducting the training, we (the Commission) wanted to, and were certainly able to, take over the issuing of the permits as well. After a great many meetings and policy work, MSP granted us the right to train AND issue concealed carry permits under LEOSA and removed themselves from the process entirely.
Once we officially had the program, (August 1, 2011), the Commission decided to keep MSP’s policy of not training or issuing permits to retirees whose home agency was conducting its own LEOSA training. However, after contemplating that for some time, I decided to take a chance and make a motion to our Range Master and our Deputy Director, that the Commission be able to train ANY retiree and provide that retiree with a photo embossed LEOSA permit to carry upon their successful completion and qualification of the program regardless of the fact their home agency may be conducting their own training or not.
Remember guys and gals, WE ARE CIVILIANS and no one has the right to dictate to us where we receive our training.
I reminded our command that under Title 18 Chapter 44 Section 926C (B) (4), the Federal Law for LEOSA states:
"that during the most recent 12 month period, the retiree has met, at the expense of the individual, the standards for qualification and training for ACTIVE law enforcement officers, as determined by the former agency of the individual, the state in which the individual resides or if that state has not established such standards, either a law enforcement agency within the state the individual resides or the standards used by a certified firearms instructor that is qualified to conduct a firearms qualification test for active duty officers within that state".
There is no verbiage in this part of the law that states you MUST go to your home agency to receive the training and certification to carry. The federal law gives us options, as long as the training received is a certified program by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions and meets all COMAR (Code of Maryland Regulations) mandated firearms training guidelines and is conducted by a Firearms Instructor that is qualified AND certified to teach active law enforcement officers.
The bosses went for the idea and the Training Commission has changed its policy and WILL CONTINUE to conduct LEOSA training for any BPD retiree (renewal or first timer) who would like their training conducted by the Commission instead of the Northeast District on Saturdays.
Please understand that we are not trying to take business from the department in any way but simply offering an alternative if you feel our location is more convenient. If you would prefer to attend training through the department, you are certainly free to do so.
Secondly, I do want to caution everyone to another misunderstanding. It seems to be believed among some retirees that they can obtain their training and certification to carry from outside sources such as the NRA or a firearms instructor certified by the Maryland State Police. This is NOT the case. Training and certification can ONLY be conducted by firearms instructors certified by the Commission to teach active law enforcement officers in Maryland. The only way to obtain that certification is to be employed by a police agency within the state as a firearms instructor or be employed as a firearms instructor with the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions. The NRA does not have that certification nor do private instructors certified by the Maryland State Police. They can ONLY instruct private citizens and private security individuals. Do not use them! Wherever you obtain your approved LEOSA training, that entity MUST issue a certification to you. You cannot forward the information to either MSP or the Commission as neither will issue a card to carry if the training was conducted at an outside location.
To be eligible for LEOSA training and certification under the new Federal Law which went into effect on 12 October 2010, a retiree must:
1. Have served a minimum of 10 years (instead of 15) as a Law Enforcement officer and left in good standing (no pending IID numbers or the old leave now or be charged situations)
2. Had full statutory powers of arrest when employed as a Law Enforcement officer
3. Possess a photographic identification card issued to them by their former agency (without a photo ID – NO LEOSA / NO EXCEPTIONS – this is Federal Law)
4. Left the agency after completing any required probationary period due to a service connected disability (LOD Injury) and does possess a photographic ID issued by the agency
5. Correction on LEOSA Rules:
Previously I sent out a letter from Steve Kuhn regarding LEOSA and the Maryland Police Training Commission. Steve has asked me to send out a correction and tell all that he is sorry for the mistake.
I was made aware that #5 in the LEOSA requirements section of the letter is causing some confusion. Let me ask you to strike #5 completely and re-word it as follows:
"The individual has not been officially found by a qualified medical professional employed by the agency to be unqualified for reasons relating to mental health OR has not entered into an agreement with the agency from which the individual is separating from service in which the individual acknowledges he or she is not qualified under this section for reasons relating to mental health issues and for either of these noted reasons did not receive or accept a photographic identification".
Just because an individual may have had mental health issues in the past, does not preclude them from obtaining a LEOSA card. However, if the individual is CURRENTLY under the care of a qualified mental health care professional for mental health issues, this COULD preclude them from obtaining the permit and may very well cause them to forfeit any permits they have to carry concealed firearms.
Sorry about the confusion. I hope this clears it up.
No longer do you need to provide any proof of retirement benefits to be eligible for LEOSA. That was struck when the new law took effect.
Once issued the card to carry, the individual will ONLY be allowed to carry the same type of weapon, revolver or semi-automatic pistol, with which they qualified. You can not qualify with a revolver and decide later that you want to carry a semi-auto pistol on this particular day. It doesn’t work that way. The card issued to you will reflect which type of weapon you are allowed to carry. Any violation of this may result in your arrest if stopped and questioned. Along with that, you MUST carry both forms of identification (the LEOSA permit AND the agency issued photo ID) on your person when carrying the concealed firearm. Again, failure to do so may result in your arrest if stopped and questioned.
The last item of misunderstanding I would like to clear up concerns the issue of where you can carry the concealed weapon. Simply stated, LEOSA permit holders are exempt from certain state laws that would prohibit you from carrying a concealed firearm. However, we must understand that LEOSA does not supersede ANY state law that would permit a private citizen or a private entity to prohibit you from carrying that weapon on their property. People have the right to tell us NO – I do not want that weapon on my property. All we can do is say OK and go lock it in our vehicle, or leave the area. Additionally, LEOSA does not supersede any state law that would prohibit the carrying of a concealed firearm onto any state or local government property, installation, building, base or park. As an example, if you need to go to a courthouse for any reason, the Bailiff has the right to tell you to put the weapon back in your vehicle or place it in a lock box and pick it up after you’ve completed your business.
If you’re traveling by air and you wish to take your weapon with you, NO, you CAN NOT take it on the plane. It must be in your check on luggage, in a locked container that can not be easily accessed or broken, and unloaded (I usually field strip mine). If you transport any magazines, they can be either in the locked container with the weapon or inside your check on luggage. They too must be EMPTY. Any ammunition your taking can also be either in the locked container or inside the check on luggage, BUT, it must be in its original container, sleeve and box. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS to these hard and fast rules with TSA. You must also declare the weapon to the person checking you in prior to placing the luggage on the belt for loading.
This attendant will have you open the luggage, and open the locked container for inspection. They will then place an identifier inside your luggage for scanning purposes denoting a weapon being transported.
If you’re traveling by AMTRAK train, you may keep the weapon on your person as long as it remains concealed throughout the trip and, if asked, you properly identify yourself and display BOTH the LEOSA permit and the agency issued photo ID to the authority questioning you.
I know this was kind of a long drawn out letter, but I wanted to be sure that I answered the most frequently asked questions that we’ve had at the Commission for the past 5 years and hopefully clear up some of the misunderstandings that Nick told me about. I hope to make a few meetings in the near future and I will certainly let Nick know when that could happen and I would be happy to answer any other questions that may be out there and attempt to keep you abreast of where LEOSA’s heading in the future. Should you have any questions not answered here or if you desire LEOSA training through the Commission, our number is 410-552-6300. A simple phone call will get you registered and we will either explain our process to you over the phone or if you have email, we will send you a training letter explaining everything you need to do prior to coming in for training. We try to run between 25 – 30 classes per year with two sessions per training day of 10 students each. This way we can accommodate 20 retirees per day. Routinely we train between 5 – 6 hundred people per year. Our calendar is up and running for 2012 with 26 dates available. Some dates are already full, and the others are going fast. If you would like to come to the Commission, I wouldn’t wait to long to get registered or you may not get a date you like.
Happy retirement to all of you and please stay safe.
Staff Firearms Instructor
BALTIMORE RETIRED POLICE
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