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President George Bush signs the LEOSA law allowing current and former cops (and now military) to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in these United States (courtesy

Why is there a concealed carry carve-out for retired cops and, now, military police (with ten years service)? It’s bad enough that active cops and military po-po get “special permission” to carry a gun anywhere in the U.S. without worrying about local or state licensing requirements. Because there shouldn’t be any. But why should the fuzz and friends continue to enjoy this privilege—for that is what it is—after they retire? Because they have potentially deadly enemies? I’ve been divorced twice. Because former police and military employees are better trained and more trustworthy than “normal” civilians? I don’t think so. And if former cops and soldiers are handier with handguns . . .

how about a law “allowing” law-abiding citizens to train up to their standard [sic] for go-anywhere reciprocity? H.R. 218 is unfair, unAmerican and unconscionable. Here’s a look at the freshly minted (but not minty fresh) military po-po aspect of the law:

Wisconsin –-(  In 2004 then President George W. Bush signed the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA).

The act was introduced to Congress as H.R. 218 and if a policeman knows about this act he/she most likely will refer to it as H.R.218.

What H.R. 218 did was give police including military police officers the ability to carry a concealed firearm in any State or US possession, such as Puerto Rico.

This type of law enforcement concealed carry permit has nothing to do with the civilian concealed carry permits that States can issue to their residents.

The most important difference about an H.R. 218 concealed carry permit is–all 50 States have to honor the permit.

As of July 2013 all 50 States have some form of civilian concealed carry permit. However, unlike a drivers license issued in one State and honored in all of the other 49 States there is no one State that will honor all 49 other concealed carry permits or have their permit honored by all of the other 49 States.

The H.R. 218 is a special concealed carry permit for actively working cops and retired cops. There is a process to apply depending on each State’s protocol. You have to qualify each year on the handgun you plan to carry and when you have your H.R. 218 permit you can travel the 50 States and all US Territories with your legal handgun.

This includes: Washington D.C., New York City and the dreaded anti-gun city of Chicago.

The problem was when H.R. 218 first went into effect it failed to include Federal retired law enforcement such as FBI or ATF agents. So the bill was amended and they included military police both active duty and retired, but the wording was allegedly confusing to civilian law enforcement, so retired military police of any and all branches of the DoD and Coast Guard were denied the ability to have the H.R. 218 permit.

H.R.218 has been amended again this year and now there is specific wording that addresses military police both active duty and retired.

If you are retired military police, security forces, or master-at-arms you can qualify and carry a concealed handgun. Each State has (I believe-don’t quote me, (New Jersey may not)) set up an application procedure for former Federal law enforcement (this includes old military cops) members to acquire an H.R. 218 based concealed carry permit that has to be honored in every state.

I am a retired Air Force Security Forces policeman and I live in Wisconsin. As soon as the new amendment to H.R. 218 went into effect in 2013 the Wisconsin Department of Justice (Do J) modified their application process to include retired military cops under the former Federal law enforcement application process.

Last week after fulfilling a lengthy application process to include qualifying on the handgun I will be carrying, the Wisconsin DoJ issued me what I believe to be the first, former Federal law enforcement concealed carry permit assigned to an old Air Force retired cop.

If you are a retired military policeman from any branch of the DoD, you need a total of ten years service as a military cop. So even if you changed career fields and were not a cop your entire Air Force career that is OK, as long as you have at least the minimum ten years of military police time.

You have to be able to prove it on your DD 214. In actuality you do not have to be retired from military law enforcement. You have to only have ten years as a military cop. So if you have a DD 214 that can document you were a military policeman for ten years,(even if you separated before a twenty year retirement) that will work. If you are interested in having an H.R. 218 based law enforcement concealed carry permit, the first thing you need to do is contact the Department of Justice (or equivalent of) in your State of residence. Each State must have a process for former police officers to acquire a concealed carry permit.

There is precedence at least in the State of Wisconsin for an old Air Force policeman to have qualified and received an H.R. 218 permit, I am that precedence. One issue of the newly amended H.R. 218 is any active duty military policeman can with proof of current handgun qualification carry a concealed handgun out in the civilian world of all 50 States.

According to H.R. 218 any military cop from any branch of service (to include a reserve or Guard cop) can acquire their own privately owned handgun and carry it concealed off base. That will be a new experience for military commanders to deal with.

Even after you have your H.R. 218 permit tread lightly, there are a lot of people in power, especially on the east coast and in Chicago who might not completely understand that Federal law trumps anti-gun State statutes.

I contacted the Secretary of the Air Force’s office and was advised that the DoD is working the issue with intent to come up with DoD directed certification credentials for current and qualified former military cops to carry concealed under H.R. 218.

Times they are a changing in the world of military cops, old and new.

Major Van Harl UASF Ret / [email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

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    • They’re all part of the aristocracy. Us second-class citizens have to put up with bullshit instead.

      • Our globalist overlords view the police and the military as useful but ultimately expendable assets. As long as cops and soldiers continue to brutally enforce the will of our masters and fight, kill, and die in their wars, the elites will leave some table scraps for them.

      • Our globalist overlords view the police and the military as useful but ultimately expendable assets. As long as the cops enforce the status quo and soldiers willingly fight, kill, and die in corporate wars of imperialism, the elites will make sure to throw table scraps to them.

  1. Well, just like civie cops, some military cops are clueless about guns and should be at best doing files and cleaning the office.
    The problem will now lie with each branch of the military to be honest about the training, certification, quals, + the training and service record entries/dates. Of course, each service member will have to make sure this gets entered on the 214, too.
    Does a guy that does 10 years, including boot camp & schools get included? Or does the time to qualify for the 218 start with each awarding of MOS/NEC?

    • Now that’s some epic level BS. I can understand if you’re still active, but carry favoritism should end the second you muster out. You want to tell me that the MPs have better experience in using their sidearms than infantry?

      • Exactly….how does the a Spec Force operator or Ranger feel about this? MP/SP/AP do get some great training, but not all. Most “shooters” will be just as qualified to meet these standards.

        • at only 150,000 rounds of pistol shot in the last 8 years, I am surly not as qualified as the MPs at my post.

      • +++ a gazilquadrilabillmillthousian

        No offense to MP’s but I’ll take a squad of infantry (regular grunts, not even the high speed airborne, low drag rangers, and spec ops, just regular 11B) over a squad of MP’s any day when it come to weapons handing and tactics.

        Maybe the MP’s are trained better now (I doubt it), but they were woefully unprepared for any sort of weapons handling work in my day. One time in Savannah, we had the MP SRT (think SWAT, but not as good) called to our barracks because some joe was running around with a water or bb gun out side. They went full tactical trying to clear out the buildings. I was down stairs taking a nap and hear a bunch of ruckus in the hall way. I walk out see a guy standing about 5 feet from me with his back turned staring up the stairs. I walk up to him and say, “What fvck are you doing in here?”

        He turns around with an “Oh, sh1t” look on his face and points his weapon right at and orders me to the ground. It’s a good thing the back of his vest said police and I knew who he was already cause other wise one of us would been dead when he pointed that at me (it honestly would have been me, I’m not gonna be all macho and say I woulda wrestled it away from him). But god forbid that I had actually been a bad guy, he would got dead with a gun or knife to the back side.

        Every private in my bat woulda known to clear the whole first floor before moving up the stairs, especially when you are there because of a ‘man with gun’ call. Eventually they got everyone out side and sat down on ground in front of the barracks. We watched and laughed our azzes off at these guys trying to be all taciticool in their little MOUT drill, and jacking it up every step of the way. I mean jacking it up:

        – Not clearing things completely (see above)
        – Flagging each other and corners/doors/windows with their weapons
        – Not maintaing situational awareness and scanning as they moved from room to room and building to building.

        Anyways this story gets the general point across, These guys would now be able to carry, but God forbid me and any of my mates be allowed to carry. We certainly don’t have the high speed training they do. It’s quite a joke.

        We often joked that if any of us ever ended up on the wrong end of a raid we’d be the worst nightmare for the team that made entrance since we already knew what paths they would take and where they’d be looking(or more importantly not looking).

        (To make sure this point gets made. I’m sure there are plenty of good MP/SP’s out there. I appreciate the crucial role they play in the military [except that d1ck E-3 that was on a power trip and wrote me a totally BS ticket at Ft. Benning. Fvck him!]. I respect all my brothers/sisters in arms [once again except that one E-3 :)]. This is just a story to illustrate an example of the absurdness of the law)

        • It’s okay to laugh at the SRT, we “mere mortal” MP’s laughed at them too. To their faces.

        • Indeed. MP’s weren’t exactly the cream of the crop. Usually those whose ASVAB scores were too low for other jobs. As for their training, well, they are pretty good at saluting cars at the gate and setting speed traps.

    • I can attest from personal experience that you can be on paper as a military police soldier for 20 years and still have less than maybe 10-15 minutes of actual law enforcement experience. As for being well versed in use of force, I’m certain that most MP’s have only used force while in combat against enemies, with almost none of them having experience using force in a law enforcement situation. I don’t know about other branches, but in the Army the military police mission is focused primarily on their battlefield missions. As a matter of fact, a great deal of the law enforcement on bases has been handed over to DOD civilian police so that military police units can focus on combat training and deployment. A lot of your average MP’s are kids between 18-23 who wandered into a recruiter’s office, were given a choice of three military occupational specialties and just happened to choose MP because they had no interest in being a wheeled vehicle mechanic nor a water purification specialist. In a 16 week one station unit training period they spend the first 14 weeks learning basic solider skills and the combat tasks of the job, and then they’re given about 80 hours of the most basic training on law enforcement tasks. The idea that a military police background is sufficient to qualify a person to carry a weapon anywhere in the country but that they average Joe can’t be trusted is hilarious. Not to mention the fact that a great percentage of MP’s aren’t yet old enough to buy a handgun and wouldn’t be permitted to have one in their possession on a military base while not on duty.

  2. A lot of retired LEOs who want to carry in their home states just get a local permit, which also gives them the right to carry in states that recognize their home state permit. The process for the one-year LEOSA permit can be more cumbersome than the in-state process for a five year permit.

    • Yup. I’m getting my Utah permit.
      I can only speak for Oregon. To have the federal carry permit, I have to be retired. (I am). To be retired, you have to have 25 years on. (I do, did).
      To keep the permit active, I have to qualify using an official department rangemaster, once each year, who would then update my permit. They aren’t always handy. Can’t let it lapse…
      And FWIW, the head bull for New Hampshire State Police said publicly that he would NOT honor an out of state cops permit.
      Just my $.02

  3. All I can say is:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

    • You should know as I figured out a few years ago – There are now no self-evident truths.

  4. Funny that these people think that an Army vet that only ever used an M4 in Iraq is somehow more suited to conceal carry my handgun in America that I’ve had and practiced with for eight years than I am.

  5. Hmmm. Most MP’s I know have very little trigger time. They just sit around in their SUV’s or stand at the gate getting fat and writing tickets on post. What about the rest of us? Because I’m not an MP my service and experience doesn’t count? Also, a lot of civilians I know are far more qualified than a lot of Soldiers to operate a firearm. Most people would be surprised to see how many Joes take all freakin day just to qualify with their assigned weapon.

  6. Just making more first class citizens. Just more of the state rewarding its goons, I mean oppressors, I mean agents.

  7. You guys, you will NEVER convince the average person that police are NOT special with regards to their training and weapons handling skills. Most people who know nothing about guns or what sort of training is involved in achieving and maintaining basic police proficiency (i.e. very basic, near-none), just roll their eyes and scoff when you suggest that average civilians (hate that word) can be just as proficient as police, and often times far better.

    These people believe that police live and breathe guns, are experts at the use and handling of every firearm under the sun. Not only that, but they never miss, and they never hit innocent bystanders.

    For many of us, marksmanship and practice is a hobby and a way of life. For many police, it’s a pain in the ass to visit the range once a year to qualify on your service weapon even though you probably are never going to fire it any way. Since it’s part of their job, they just do whatever is necessary to meet the minimum requirements – sort of like staying in good physical shape. Obviously they do not always try and ride on the razor’s edge here with regards to either of those things.

    • I hear ya. I get more trigger time on my own than I do at work. I always see the same people at the range and they’re all shit hot with their piece(s). Ones employment has nothing to do with proficiency, but how much time and effort is put into mastering a skill.

    • When I was in LE (Federal) almost all the other guys in my department didn’t use their allotment of ammo to practice. They gave it to me and I used it up practicing. I was the only one. So, maybe one out of 10-20 in a department are actually practicing with their weapons. No one should then be surprised that more innocent people are accidentally shot by LEO’s than by civilians using their weapons for self-defense.

  8. Inner party (and their enforcers) vs Outer party members. Inner party members are supposed to get real coffee, real sugar, higher rations. I mean they are more important people. Their enforcers keep the system the way it should be and deserve more than us. What’s not to get? Just be glad you aren’t a prole who is locked out of society altogether. Know your place. Accept that our lives belong to the state and does with as it pleases since they know better. Partly why our children are put in canned hunting areas (No Gun Zones).

  9. I am not against Major Van for getting his permit. I do wish we had a national with preemption reciprocity for carry. I don’t mean to trump states rights, but really the patch work of laws in every state, minus constitutional carry states makes it darn near impossible to not get arrested for something somewhere.

    • Full faith and credit clause should apply here, I really wish someone would take concealed carry reciprocity to the courts with that argument.

  10. For a few years an instructor and RO in NY.
    I gave the yearly qualifications to a lot of the local village and town cops in a 2 county rural area.
    Most couldn’t shoot their way out of a paper bag.
    75% failed the original course as 1st given.
    I had to make the course so easy in order for most to qualify.
    Cops as a rule are pretty bad with guns.
    Most just see it a tool on their belt and have no interest in learning how to use it.
    They after 10 years get a free ride???
    Me after almost 30 years of daily carry and firing on average 200 rounds month in NY State cant get squat…….At least my permit is unrestricted and for life, less NYC where I refuse to pay the tax. But carry anyway. Ill takes me chances there.
    Some thing is very wrong with this HR218.

  11. 50 state permit for those skilled enough = excellent idea.

    A system that would not give one to Jerry Miculek = clearly flawed.

  12. Disgusting.

    Don’t some states have part time or “reserve” pigs? I’d be interested in being one if I got to carry my gun anywhere. I especially want it while flying.

  13. 2 things for national reciprocity:

    1) need to change the makeup of congress, esp the senate (vote republican) and

    2)hope the GOP puts up a candidate who can win in 2016 and not some extremist who satisfies the extremist base and then gets b!tch slapped on election day.

    • Oh, is THAT what happened with Romney and McCain? Anyone who sez ‘extreme’ twice is an imbecile. And Democrat.

  14. How about instead of MP’s , who get sh*t for time on the range and don’t know an M4 from an M16, you grant those privileges to former infantry and Special Operations, who, you know, actually know how to use them.

    I’m not for special privileges at all, but if we’re giving them out, lets give them out based on actual experience and familiarity.

    • MP’s know how to use their weapons…chamber a round, holster, carry for remainder of shift, clear at the clearing barrel, return to armorer. Attend mandatory range shooting at static targets from a fixed position twice yearly. Repeat for 20 years.

  15. Training up to their “standard” as a standard would put the spotlight onto just how low that bar really is. Dont want the public to know just how low of a standard their idols and heroes are held to. Cant risk shattering that facade.

    • I think you just nailed it Shire-Man. If the sheeple ever find out how little training the average LEO has with a gun, they really might want to disarm the police.

  16. There is no such thing as “military law enforcement” as it relates to civilian law enforcement. Anybody can be detailed by their commander to conduct the duties typically associated with an MP/SP/etc within the jurisdiction of that particular command. Yes, each branch has it’s own “law enforcement” MOS, but they serve more of a security function that can be replicated by those outside of that MOS. This goes to show how distant our lawmakers have become from the workings of the military.

    • OK, I routinely carried a .38 Special in the service, and essentially acted as a “police chief” for my area, directing military cops. Annual qualification and all. Do I get to play if I did 10 years?

      Flip side: Do I want to be part of the Federal National Gun Carrier Registry, which is essentially what this really is?

      • You basically described any Commander deployed to a combat zone (which has a VERY loose definition).

  17. At the heart of HR 218 should be the argument that other civilians who can meet the same shooting requirements should also be granted national reciprocity. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

  18. Back when retired cops got their special little privilege the NRA and FOP assured us it was only the beginning. Cops love CCW holders so much they’d rise up, unite and demand that we proles get exactly the same.

    Still waiting for that to happen

  19. MP’s get special credit for weapons knowledge because every (former) MP is Jack Reacher. (The one from the books, not Tom Cruise.)

    • THAT’S why I never like the Reacher books! Reacher’s an idiot. The only reason he’s still ‘alive’ is that the author thinks he should survive being stupid. So, is Reacher typical of MP’s? And, judging by the huge fan base, there are a lot of wannabees who think the guy is great! Scary!!

  20. Let’s look at this another way. What if all these former LEO’s have been walking around this country carrying concealed since ’04 have not had a single firearms accident? (to my knowledge they haven’t) What if several of them have been able to save lives by being the only armed ,trained person on the scene? (again I don’t know if this is true either) But I do know that the law has put about 400,000 armed eyes and ears on the streets coast to coast for 9 years without a problem.
    That means that when national concealed carry is up for a vote in Congress(based on the “full faith and credit clause”, just like our driver’s licenses), then we have an irrefutable argument that national concealed carry has been successful for the “test group” so why not grant it for all citizens?

  21. I’ve been railing about this here in NYS since Herr Cuomo granted LEOs exemption from the NYS (un) SAFE Act. A pure political ploy on his part seeings how so many LEOs and their orgs. came out opposed to the Act. To show how out of touch he is he didn’t understand they weren’t primarily opposed to it on personal grounds but Constitutional ones. Really these anti-gunner idiots don’t have a clue. The practical implications of establishing a caste system in American society seems to escape them also. The phrase seems to have faded from the scene but “1984 was meant to be a warning not an instruction manual” still seems to apply. Once more for all the government agents reading this: my life, the lives of my family members, and the lives of those in my daily sphere of influence are just as valuable and worthy of all means of protection as yours, your retired brethren, or your masters. If you don’t agree eventually this once great nation will cease to exist.

  22. Major,

    Great read and ver informative, but I would like to point out one small error.

    The great state of Idaho, which does a great job of honoring the constitution and peoples rights, honors ALL concealed carry permits. From the Idaho AG website:

    “Also, Idaho recognizes valid concealed weapons licenses from all states. Idaho does not require specific reciprocity agreements with the other states.”


    Thanks for the great article and bringing more attention to the “only one” status.

  23. I’ve said it before, and say it again – the carve-outs are the price for buying the collusion of law enforcement, for selling out the 2nd amendment meant for all.

  24. Carve outs are to get ex-military and ex-police on their side and keep them quiet – that simple. Ex-military and police typically voice their opinion loudly and we “the pro gun advocates” stand behind them. …and the .gov has applied oil to the squeaky hinge and no more noise.

  25. Being a formal military cop, it never made any sense that HR218 completely glossed over the fact that we were in just as much if not more danger than civilian police. There are more than a few people that I helped investigate who eventually spent some serious time at Mannheim that I am sure would be up for some payback. Personally, I would prefer that there was a federal concealed weapons permitting process for everyone. There are many people I know who do not have documentation suitable to qualify for HR218 who have a need to protect themselves. So with that being said, I read some of the replies to this article, and I have a comment. I think everyone who reads from this site agrees that there should be a federal CWP program. HR218’s clause about retired police should be made obsolete. What this article demonstrates is a flaw in the law. It asks who has enough of a legitimate fear for their life that it justifies the right to carry concealed. Today, military police are now included. Tomorrow, it could be former prosecutors and judges. The day after, it may be witnesses, domestic abuse victims, and whatnot. Eventually, it will be impossible to manage, and it will lead to a federal CWP open to everyone of good character.

    • I may add a reply to those suggesting one career field is better capable to carry conceal than another. I hope no one on this site thinks that their training while in the military or as a civilian police officer is enough training to carry concealed and to properly use deadly force if the need arises. First, your skills will degrade. If you do not keep practicing, you will rapidly lose it. Second, if you are not practicing for the specific type of action you will need your firearm n a regular basis, you are doing it wrong. I can name a thousand scenarios where an instinctual response on the battlefield will save your life, but off the battlefield will get you a murder conviction. I have been out of the military for several decades. I shoot no less than 50,000 rounds per year and 20 minutes of dry-fire every night. I also study the laws of my state religiously, and I incorporate “shot-don’t shoot” scenarios in my training. Interestingly, I will never assume I am good enough, and neither should anyone who carries.

      • Correction…I meant to say I fire about 20,000 rounds per year. This year I am on the low side.

  26. Concealment prohibitions with licenses for exemptions are the only gun control that could conceivably NOT be an infringement.

  27. If military, why only the military cops? I guarantee my son, a Sgt.FC in 101st Airborne with ten years service and counting, and multiple combat tours, can handle his weapon better than some MP.

  28. Amen. My old agency has no office in my state, is very reluctant to issue retired credentials, and in general could care less. The state I retired to (Rocky Mountain West) had “shall issue” and that is honored by any state I intend to visit. The ones that don’t I wouldn’t go to on a bet anyway.

    The principal result of the expansion of CCW laws has been to suggest that the fewer restrictions the better. Prosecute clear “mala in se” crimes and otherwise let people the hell alone.

  29. Well, rats. The only weapons I ever carried with were too big to conceal – ranging from 20mm rockets to 10kt nukes (okay, so my aircraft carried them, but whatever).

    Oh well.

    Maybe we can make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear: get someone to amend this to provide CC reciprocity nationally to any state granted CC holder. Then when I visit family out of state I won’t have to leave the handgun behind.

  30. Sorry if someone mentioned this, but by a technical reading of the law as passed and article 7 of the UCMJ, almost every officer (commissioned warrant and non-commissioned) meets the definition of a law enforcement agent. Per article 7 of UCMJ, officers have the statutory authority to detain offenders. (I believe medical and clergy officers would be excluded from this). Therefore, all active duty officers should technically be protected by this statute, whether or not they were ever in security forces.

  31. So, walking the ramp with a M-16 to guard the nuclear weapon that might be in the bomb bay qualifies you for a lifetime carry permit. BUT possessing the “magic finger” that drops the bomb (plus a TS clearence, etc.) does not? Time in grade beats judgment every day? Is the Congress capable of ratipnal thought?

  32. I am retired military and carried a weapon for a good part of my time ( 21 years ). Most of the time I was on a flight crew. As such we had to shoot every year with the pistol, so why am I not allowed to carry under HR 218?

  33. The backside purpose for this is… When or if civil unrest,war. Whatever happens, the govt wants as many police as they can get because after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military won’t step on the common man. Let alone the brother vs brother argument. If the mps and other Leos are given a favored pass then they are allowed a one up for prep should SHTF. Not to sound like a conspiracy nut, but makes sense.

  34. Lets please give some credit to the Police and Military in our great country of the USA. They protect us every day, and put there lives on the line so me and you can enjoy the freedoms we both share. GOD BLESS THIS GREAT COUNTRY OF THE USA!

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