Last updated: August 03. 2014 10:23AM - 2629 Views
by Major Van Harl USAF Ret, vanharl@aol.com

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Colonel Smith, Sergeant Major Jones do you have your conceal carry permit that Federal law allows you to obtain as a retired military police man? You don’t, I do not understand, Federal law known as the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) and commonly referred to as HR 218 was enacted in 2004. This act allows police officers in any state or jurisdiction to carry concealed their personal firearm in any other state or jurisdiction. I know, the military uses the word apprehend, and the civilian law enforcement community uses the word arrest.

This little play on words is what the Department of Defense/DoD had used to deny military police of all branches of the service the ability to carry a personal concealed weapon. But the Federal law was amended in 2013 to specifically cover any obfuscating that the DoD was doing to prevent you, the active duty or retired military police person from legally carrying a concealed weapon off duty. There is something both military members and the civilian world needs to understand: the DoD and its branches do not really, deep down in their hearts trust the average Airman, Sailor, Soldier or Marine. When it comes to the carrying of a firearm that does not belong to the DoD and cannot be controlled with their many regulations and threats of punishment, senior civilian and active duty leadership just seem to fail to remember there is a 2nd amendment. As soon as the 2013 changes to HR 218 were enacted, that made it crystal clear to the DoD is was time to quit stalling and start issuing the by-Federal-law requirement for law enforcement credentials / IDs to active duty military police of all branches and former military police with ten years of service, they (the DoD) started obfuscating yet again.

The State of Wisconsin figured out the very same month it was enacted in 2013 that it was clear, a former Federal law enforcement member of the military police type, was by-law entitled to credentials that addressed this law enforcement status. Wisconsin then made available per Federal direction the type and design of a LEOSA / HR 218 qualification certification (conceal carry permit) and started issuing them to former Federal law enforcement. I recently received my renewal Wisconsin Certification Card. I am going into my second year of having this former Federal law enforcement HR 218 ID card, but my big Air Force cannot seem to make their conceal carry ID program work. I have seen a number of drafts and even an alleged signed Air Force Instruction/ AFI on how the Security Forces (read AF cops) who have been tasked to oversee the implementation of HR 218 within the Air Force, are trying “ever so hard” to comply with Federal Law. The last I heard was the Air Force is now looking for a contractor to take on the project of creating an AF acceptable HR 218 ID card that will meet the Federal requirements and still allow the Air Force to control their distrusted “cops”.

In the drafts that I have seen the Air Force has supplanted Federal law and added a bunch of controlling factors. Some of the limitations and controls that my Air Force has put (wrongfully I would suggest) on their policemen in their efforts to obtain an AF / HR 218 conceal carry ID would imply that we have a large group of AF “cops” who are not qualified to function as a police man or woman on active duty. If a person has been vetted to join a branch of the military, selected to be a police / law enforcement member, trained at a military police academy, qualified on the range in numerous firearms (both handgun and long gun) and posted out to do armed police work on a military reservation, just what is the problem with the DoD following Federal law when it comes to HR 218? I will tell you what the problem is, it is the trust issue on the part of senior leadership. Of course their real concern is with loss of some very tight (dare I say strangle hold) controls on military members in their off duty pursuits.

The DoD could have taken the standard ID cards that are issued to military members and with a very few modifications added the required verbiage about law enforcement and HR 218 and been issuing these credentials to its military police members over a year ago. But no, obfuscation continues to get in the way. My research only pertains to the Air Force and I do not know what the other branches of service are doing. I have read where it was suggested they are waiting to follow the AF lead. If this is the case, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines I suggest you will have an even longer wait than AF “cops”. The DoD does not trump Federal law.

What is so hard about this? Might I suggest it is just the fear of the legally armed solider/citizen by the ruling class? In all honesty why shouldn’t any serving military member, active or reserve be entitled to carry concealed at any time—they are already vetted as defenders of our Nation? And then there is the issue of constitutional carry.

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