Update; Link fixed
What this is not about
Ok let's get this up front I don't hate Cops, I know cops, I work with cops and I was a cop.
This criticism is about H.R. 218 NOT the people it was intending to help.
There has been a lot written about the passage of this bill some of which is, 1) now that the cops got what they want they don't have to support the rest of us anymore, 2) it will help with homeland security efforts having all those cops out there carrying, 3) it will restore dignity to cops. There have been many other statements about 218 and I will leave all that to those that want to make them.
What it does
Essentially H.R. 218 allows (as defined by CCCW) qualified peace officers, either currently employed or retired to carry a firearm off duty anywhere in the country. The bill is essentially two parts and can be read in about three minutes.
What the two sections have in common
CCCW does not exempt Peace Officers from state laws in fact CCCW Cops must abide by the laws of the state they are in much the same as any citizen with a CCW. It does not allow out-of-state Peace officers to violate private property rights when there are no firearms signs posted. If a any state or subdivision bans firearms in certain public areas such as parks or establishments that serve alcohol, then-out-of state Peace officers are banned from carrying there as well. In essence the law apparently holds out-of-state Officers to the same standards as those written for the citizens concealed carry, in those states that have it.
Section one goes on to establish what a currently employed peace officer is and the identification requirements to be legal carrying in an other state.
The second section specifically addresses the definition of and the indentification of "Retired Police Officers". Essentially a "retired officer" must have left the department under honorable conditions after a fixed number of years. Exceptions are granted for officers forcibly retired for injuries in the line of duty. It also excempts any officer that was released from duty and/or subsequently found to be mentally unstable from eligibility under this law.
It requires "Retired Police Officers to be yearly current, (at their own expense) in the state of residency requirements for standards of training or qualification to carry a firearm and they are not prohibited by Federal law from owning a firearm.
Ready on the right? Ready on the left? Ready on the blogging line? CO-mence blogging
To my mind the biggest trap in this whole thing (CCCW) is that it requires officers to pay for yearly certification out of their own pocket. This would not be so bad if the now fixed income just had to shell out, say forty or fifty bucks to punch holes in some paper Saturday afternoon.
The Devil is in the details, as they say.
The Devil in all of this can be found in 926C section (c) paragraph (5) that reads; during the most recent 12-month period, has met, at the expense of the individual, the State's standards for training or qualification to carry firearms.
Yearly qualification in most if not all departments is not limited to sending 50 or a 100 rounds down range once or twice a year. There is a lot of classroom use of force training written into the yearly qualification for some states.
It has been rumored that one state is in the thought process of complying with H.R. 218 and what they have determined so far is that it will require 80 hours of training billed to the retirees at a rate of 40 dollars per hour. That is 3200 dollars a year folks.
Whether those numbers are true or not is moot, the point is if a state wants to opt out all they have to do is make it so financially prohibitive that no retired Peace Officer could afford it.
Still the cheapest way
Officers in states that have CCW laws now are eligable for a state issued concealed carry license when they retire. In those states that don't have it, or do not now permit retired officers the right to carry (Nebraska), officers avail themselves of "non-resident" licenses from other states when they travel. For under 500 bucks ANY qualified individual can aquire carry licenses from two or three states that are recognized in more than 50 % of the states.
These licenses are gernerally good for four to five years and with the exception of being able to carry in NY, NJ, Cal, and Hawaii, they are far cheaper than 3200 dollars a year or 500 dollars a year for that matter.
On the face of it H.R. 218 sounds like a good law, but it truely rings hollow for those that it was suppose to really benefit; The valiant men and woman who laid it on the line day in and day out for 20 or more years, and survived to reap the retirement they earned.
H.R. 218 is just another governmental pat on the back with one hand while the other is in their back pocket trying to grab back some of that retirement check they so justly earned.