SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCINTERSTATE CARRYING OF CONCEALED FIREARMS BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS; COMMUNITY PROTECTION ACT OF 1997; NATIONAL CONCEALED FIREARMS STANDARD, AND THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND COMMUNITY PROTECTION ACT OF 1997
TUESDAY, JULY 22, 1997
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:13 p.m. in room 2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Stephen Buyer, Bob Barr, Asa Hutchinson, Howard Coble, and Sheila Jackson Lee.
Also present: Paul McNulty, chief counsel; Nicole Nason, counsel; Kara Norris, staff assistant, and David Yassky, minority counsel.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN MCCOLLUM
Mr. MCCOLLUM. [presiding] The Subcommittee on Crime will come to order.
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At Judiciary Square, just a short distance from where we sit, is the Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial, a solemn reminder of the dangers America's police officers face every day. We must be forever grateful for the enormous sacrifice these men and women made. They gave their lives for the sake of others.
It's tragic that a small but despicable group of violent criminals view police officers as targets rather than as guardians of peace.
We have watched in horror over the past years as police officers here in Washington were gunned down for no other reason than because they were wearing the blue uniform, all of which brings us to today's hearing.
One of the critical questions we must ask is whether the inability of police officers to carry firearms when they travel out-of-state puts them at risk. Given the increasing boldness of violent criminals, particularly violent drug traffickers, do law enforcement officials face real dangers when they are off-duty and outside their home States?
The second major subject we will consider today is whether community safety is enhanced when police officers carry firearms across State lines. In September 1995, University of Chicago Law School professor John Lott, along with economics professor David Mustard, published a study entitled ''Crime, Deterrence and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns.''
In summary, the study found that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes without increasing accidental deaths. The study concluded that criminals avoid direct confrontation because of the possibility that the victim will be armed.
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The merits of a national standard for carrying concealed firearms is an important question, but one which must be reserved for another day. There are enough significant issues arising out of this study related solely to police officers.
In the interest of national safety, we must determine as best we can whether police officers who are trained in firearms use and safety should be permitted to carry concealed firearms from State to State. Would such a limited national law have a significant impact on crime, assuming concealed carry laws actually have a positive impact on crime?
There exists a real possibility that crime would decrease if police officers who are off-duty were permitted to carry firearms out of their jurisdictions. But there are also serious concerns that need to be addressed before the Federal Government could responsibly act on such legislation.
For example, how should a law enforcement officer be defined? Should States and localities have the right to require a law enforcement officer to notify a local police department of the intention to carry a concealed weapon in his jurisdiction? What kind of identification should a law enforcement officer be required to show to demonstrate that he or she is an actual trained police official?
Of primary importance is the issue of liability. It's unfortunate, but true, that innocent bystanders are occasionally caught in the cross-fire of a shootout. Who should be held accountable for such an incident if a police officer injures a bystander while carrying a firearm on vacation?
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We certainly want to encourage our police officers to intervene whenever or wherever they observe criminal activity. But should a police department, which is perhaps several hundred miles away, be held accountable for an officer's actions, no matter how well-intentioned or heroic? The local police department would likely not even have known that a vacationing officer was in its jurisdiction. This is a tricky issue, but it's critical for us to carefully consider it.
The extension of the right to carry a concealed firearm to retired law enforcement officers raises some additional concerns. My draft legislation does not include retired officers, although I am open to suggestions on the point. However, I do have serious reservations with respect to the continued training, liability, and health of a retired officer. Moreover, I am concerned about the application of this right to officers who have not served a sufficient amount of time in law enforcement.
Our police officers put themselves in harm's way every day. They risk their lives to help other people and so that we may all sleep soundly. I am certainly supportive of any proposal which would assist in their dangerous and difficult task of protecting our citizenry. But I also think Congress has a responsibility to tread lightly in areas generally governed by State laws.
I expect that today's hearing will provide some clarifying and important information concerning this debate. And I firmly believe that any opportunity to protect police officers and decrease crime should be carefully and thoroughly explored.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Does any other member of the panel wish to make opening remarks? Mr. Barr, or Mr. Hutchinson.
Mr. BARR. I have no opening statement, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you. Well, then I will introduce our first panel and we'll get right to the hearing.
Our first panel consists of representatives of several national police organizations who are all supportive of legislation which would allow police officers to carry concealed weapons nationwide.
On behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police we have the national vice president, Bernard Teodorski. Mr. Teodorski also serves as chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Fraternal Order of Police. Mr. Teodorski spent 25 years with the Pennsylvania State police as a criminal and homicide investigator before retiring in 1993.
Next we have James Rhinebarger, chairman of the National Troopers Coalition and a familiar face to this subcommittee. Mr. Rhinebarger is a detective sergeant for the Indiana State Police, and has served as a trooper for over 25 years. He's been chairman of The National Troopers Coalition since 1993.
Also with us today is Bill Thompson, the director of governmental affairs for the Southern States Police Benevolent Association. Mr. Thompson is a former chief of police of Woodstock, Georgia and spent 34 years in active and reserve service in the military before retiring in 1988 with the rank of commander.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Finally, Ed Nowicki is here today on behalf of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America. Mr. Nowicki has worked continuously as a sworn police officer in various departments since 1968. He currently works as an officer for the Twin Lakes, Wisconsin police department. He is the author of a book on police short stories entitled ''True Blue,'' and he also hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show entitled ''American Crime Line.''
Before our first witness gives his statement, I would like to comment that Bob Scully, of the National Association of Police Officers, has a statement, and it will be entered into the record without objection at this time. Hearing no objection, it is so entered.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Scully follows:]
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 1 TO 4 HERE
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I might add that, without objection, all of the witnesses' statements will be entered into the record.
Mr. BARR. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, Mr. Barr.
Mr. BARR. Could I ask unanimous consent to offer a special word of welcome to my good friend, Bill Thompson
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Oh, certainly.
Mr. BARR [continuing]. A fellow Georgian with whom I've worked with in a law enforcement capacity. And in his capacity as director of governmental affairs for the Southern States PBA, he has been a tremendous guiding force, both he and his organization, to help our constituents, myself, and, I know, others on this subcommittee and the full Judiciary Committee, craft legislation that really does reflect the true needs and interests of our law enforcement men and women, not just in the southern States, but all across this country. And it's a special honor and pleasure for me to welcome him here today.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. You're quite welcome, Mr. Barr. Thank you for doing that.
Are we ready to proceed? I'm going to go in the order I introduced.
Mr. Teodorski, you're welcome to make your opening statement, sir.
STATEMENT OF BERNARD H. TEODORSKI, NATIONAL VICE PRESIDENT, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE
Mr. TEODORSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee on Crime. I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to address you this morning.
As you stated, my name is Bernard Teodorski. I'm the National Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Chairman of its Legislative Committee. I am the elected spokesperson of over 277,000 rank and file police officers, the largest organization of law enforcement professionals in the country.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I would like to take this opportunity to first thank Chairman McCollum for his strong leadership on this and many other issues, and his role in scheduling this hearing today.
The Fraternal Order of Police is holding its 53rd bi-annual conference in the chairman's home district next month, and we are honored that he will join us as a keynote speaker. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. You're quite welcome. I'm looking forward to it.
Mr. TEODORSKI. The FOP supports the enactment of legislation which would permit qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed firearm into jurisdictions where such might otherwise be prohibited. I believe that there is a real interest on the part of Congress for enacting such legislation, evidenced by the many bills introduced by friends of law enforcement who have the same objective, if not the same words, as part of their proposal.
The police officer is charged with keeping the peace and protecting our streets and neighborhoods from crime. The tools of a police officer are the badge and a gun. The badge symbolizes the officer's authority. The gun enforces it. These tools are given in trust to the officer to enforce the peace and fight crime. We seek a measured extension of that trust to greatly augment the personal safety of the law enforcement officers, their families and loved ones, who might be the targets of vindictive criminals.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe that an active duty law enforcement officer who is qualified, trained, and authorized to carry in the course of executing his sworn duty, a firearm should be exempt from State and local statutes prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms.
Similarly, a law enforcement officer who retires from active duty for reasons other than mental disability or separation from service for disciplinary action, which would have prevented his or her carrying a firearm, should be able to carry a firearm into jurisdictions where such might otherwise be prohibited, provided that he or she meets the agency's or department's requirements for firearms training at the time of retirement and is not prevented by Federal law from receiving a firearm.
Further, we believe that former officers must also meet current requirements established by the State in which the individual resides with respect to training and qualifications in the use of firearms, and that the retired officer has not forfeited his right to benefit under the agency's retirement plan.
In this way, we ensure that the individuals covered by this legislation are, in fact, law enforcement officers who have been trained in the use of firearms, are authorized by the State to carry those firearms, and are entrusted by their communities with the use of firearms for the public good.
Legislation like this is important to law enforcement officers for reasons of personal safety, and in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. Police officers are frequently finding that they and/or their families are the targets of vindictive criminals. A police officer may not remember all the faces of all of the criminals he or she has put behind bars, but each one of those criminals does remember.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This bill gives all police officers the means to legally protect themselves and their loved ones where and when the criminal strikes, even while off duty or retired. The bewildering patchwork of carry-concealed laws in the States and other jurisdictions often results in a paradox for the law enforcement officerslocal, State, and Federalsometimes placing them in legal jeopardy. It is for this reason that Federal legislation is necessary.
Criminals do not disarm themselves when they travel from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, nor are criminals ever off duty. Similarly, the law should not disarm police officers because they cross the State line or jurisdictional boundary. Legislation exempting law enforcement officers from prohibitions on carrying concealed firearms is a matter of personal safety for the brave men and women who carry these firearms to defend our homes, neighborhoods, and families against crime.
It was demonstrated here in the District earlier this yeara badge and a uniform did not deter a depraved individual from murdering Officer Brian Gibson. In fact, he was murdered for the reason that he was a police officer. Officer Oliver Wendell Smith, Jr. was killed off duty in Maryland, probably because the assailant discovered he was a police officer while robbing him of his wallet. He was unarmed.
Officer Robert Johnson, also of the Metropolitan Police Department, had just gone off duty when he identified himself as a law enforcement officer to a troublemaker. That troublemaker was a convicted felon, a drug dealer, who was in violation of his curfew when he returned to kill Officer Johnson and wound another officer.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, and members of this subcommittee, it is an increasingly dangerous world that we are asked to patrol. Crime, overall, is dropping, and for that we can all take credit. But the level of violence in the crimes being committed is almost incomprehensible in terms of sheer brutality. Even more striking is the remorselessness with which the violence is committed. Law enforcement officers are targetsin uniform and out, on duty and off duty, active or retired.
We need the ability to defend ourselves against the very criminals that we pursue as part of our sworn duty, because the danger inherent to police work does not end with our shift. Perhaps the strongest endorsement of our position I can make today is that there are thousands of violent criminals who will hate to see it pass.
Mr. Chairman, and members of this subcommittee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify before you here today on this issue, and would ask that you take my more detailed written statement to be entered into the record.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Teodorski follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF BERNARD H. TEODORSKI, NATIONAL VICE PRESIDENT, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee on Crime.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to address you this morning. My name is Bernard H. Teodorski, and I am the National Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police and Chairman of its Legislative Committee. I am the elected spokesperson of over 270,000 rank-and-file police officersthe largest organization of law enforcement professionals in the country.
I would like to take this opportunity to first thank Chairman McCollum for his strong leadership on this, and many other issues, and his role in scheduling this hearing today. The Fraternal Order of Police is holding its 53rd Biennial Conference in the Chairman's home district next month, and we are pleased to be able to have him join us as the keynote speaker. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
I am here this morning to talk about an issue of great importance to law enforcement officers: legislation which will exempt qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from prohibitions to carry concealed firearms.
The enactment of such legislation has been a long-standing legislative goal of the Fraternal Order of Police. We supported, in the 104th Congress, legislation introduced by thenCongressman Jim Ross Lightfoot (RIA) and our National President, Gilbert G. Gallegos, testified before this Subcommittee last July in favor of that legislation.
A few weeks later, on 1 August, the F.O.P. joined Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to announce the introduction of S. 2010, which contained language drafted with the input of the F.O.P. We strongly supported that bill, as did other police organizations and interested groups which were unable to agree on either the legislation offered by then-Congressman Lightfoot and another bill also being discussed here today, H.R. 218, sponsored by Congressman Cunningham.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Hatch language, which is now included in Title IVA of S. 3, the Republican omnibus crime bill, would permit active and retired qualified law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms while engaged in interstate commerce. The F.O.P. supports a careful definition of the term ''qualified law enforcement officer.'' Those who carry concealed firearms in interstate commerce should be officers who have received law enforcement training, exercise police powers, and did, or do, in the course of performing their duties, carry a firearm. As a matter of safety to these officers and the public they protect, any bill adopted must contain language ensuring that those law enforcement officers who are carrying these weapons, while off-duty or retired, be qualified to use them.
The F.O.P. is concerned that H.R. 218 does not adequately define what we mean by ''qualified law enforcement officer.'' While we appreciate Congressman Cunningham's long-standing interest in this matter and agree with him on the substantive aims of the legislation, we prefer the language proposed by Senator Hatch, and that contained in your draft, Mr. Chairman. We do look forward, though, to cooperating with Congressman Cunningham and his staff in working to pass legislation that accomplishes what we do agree onthat law enforcement officers qualified in the use of firearms should be given the authority to carry them even when traveling outside their own jurisdiction.
Further, H.R. 339, introduced by Congressman Cliff Stearns, contains nearly identical language to that of Senator Hatch, giving qualified active and retired law enforcement officers the authority to carry their firearms when engaging in interjurisdictional travel. However, the National Fraternal Order of Police is unable to give this bill our support because it also contains language changing current Federal law with respect to the carrying of concealed firearms for private citizens. We, as an organization, believe very strongly that the issue of concealed weapons for private citizens is one best left to the States.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Again, I want to thank Congressman Stearns for his efforts on behalf of law enforcement in this billwe have the same goal and support much of the same language. I hope that we can reach an agreement with him and work to develop a bill that would accomplish the objectives of Section 2 of H.R. 339.
Lastly, I would like to thank Chairman McCollum for his leadership on this issue, and his support of provisions similar to the Hatch and Lightfoot bills, will exempt active law enforcement officers from State and local prohibitions on carrying concealed firearms. While it does not yet address the needs of retired officers, we look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with you on this issue, and to hopefully build on the excellent foundation provided by the draft.
I do want to clarify, for the record, the understanding of the F.O.P. on Section 2(b)(1) of your draft proposal, which states that a ''State or political subdivision thereof may require'' that a qualified active law enforcement officer notify the ''appropriate authorities'' of his or her intent to carry in that jurisdiction. It further states that this requirement shall not apply to an officer who is simply ''passing through . . . without undue delay.'' If made law, any qualified active law enforcement officer would be able to carry his or her firearm anywhere within the jurisdiction of the United States. However, a State may pass legislation which would require officers who choose to carry to notify the State Police, county sheriff, or whomever the State legislature designates as the ''appropriate authority.'' No State or local government, however, will be able to restrict or prohibit qualified active law enforcement officers who choose to carry, even if notification is required.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
While it is not our intent to replace the patchwork of State concealed carry laws for law enforcement officers with a patchwork of notification provisions, we recognized that this is designed to keep officers from endangering one another through mistaken identity.
Let me now address more generally the reason and need for this legislation from the perspective of law enforcement.
The F.O.P. seeks the enactment of legislation which would exempt active and retired law enforcement officers from laws in States and other jurisdictions prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms. This exemption would apply only to active law enforcement officers and retired law enforcement officers who, under certain conditions, are qualified to carry firearms.
A police officer is charged with keeping the peace and protecting our streets and neighborhoods from crime. The tools of the police officer are the badge and the gun. The badge, symbolizes the officer's authority; the gun enforces it. These tools are given to the officer, in trust, by the public to enforce the peace and fight crime. We seek a measured extension of that trust.
We support legislation which would permit an active law enforcement officer who carries a firearm in the course of executing his sworn duty to carry a concealed firearm into jurisdictions where such might otherwise be prohibited.
Likewise, a law enforcement officer who retires from active duty for reasons other than mental disability or separation from service for disciplinary actions which would have prevented his or her carrying of a firearm, may carry a firearm into jurisdictions where such might otherwise be prohibited, provided that he or she meets the agency's or department's requirements for firearms training at the time of retirement and is not prevented by federal law from receiving a firearm.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Further, we believe that the former officer must also meets such requirements as have been established by the State in which the individual resides with respect to training and qualification in the use of firearms, and that the officer has a nonforfeitable right to benefits under the agencies retirement plan. In this way, we ensure that the individuals covered are in fact law enforcement officers, who have been trained and entrusted by their communities with the use of firearms for the public good, who chose law enforcement as a careernot a passing interest. This definition of ''qualified'' current and retired law enforcement officers ensures that anyone permitted to carry a concealed firearm is, or was, a law enforcement officer, entrusted by the public to carry his or her weapon on duty and is qualified to carry, or to continue to carry, that weapon when traveling outside the officer's own jurisdiction.
Such legislation is important to law enforcement officers for reasons of personal safety. In order to protect themselves and their loved ones. Police officers are frequently finding that they, and/or their families, are the target of vindictive criminals. A police officer may not remember all the faces of all the criminals he or she puts behind bars, but each one of those criminals does remember. We need a bill that gives all police officers the means to legally protect themselves and their loved ones where and when the criminal strikeseven while off-duty or retired.
Criminals do not give up their weapons when they cross State lines, and police officers should not be required to do so.
This concept has a great deal of support, not only with the rank-and-file officer, but the general public as well. Quite simply, this bill will put thousands more police officers on the street at any given time, ready and able to assist their brother and sister officers and the public wherever and whenever the need occursat no cost to the taxpayer!
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Law enforcement officers are a dedicated and trained body of men and women sworn to uphold the law and keep the peace. Unlike other professions, a police officer is rarely ''off-duty.'' When there is a threat to the peace or public safety, the police officer is sworn to answer the call of duty. Officers who are traveling from one jurisdiction to another do not leave their instincts or training behind, but without their weapon, that knowledge and training is rendered virtually useless. We support a bill which would provide the means for law enforcement officers to enforce the law and keep the peaceenabling them to put to use that training and answer the call to duty when need arises. Without a weapon, the law enforcement officer is like a rescue diver without diving gear; all the right training and talent to lend to an emergency situation, but without the equipment needed to make that training of any use.
Earlier, I made reference to States' rights. I am often asked by opponents of concealed carry authority for law enforcement officers why this is not a States' rights issue. The simple answer is that, in this instance, it is the variety of State laws that make Federal legislation necessary. The bewildering patchwork of carry-conceal laws in the States and other jurisdictions often results in a paradox for law enforcement officersState, local, and Federalsometimes placing them in legal jeopardy.
States and localities issue their police officers firearms to perform their jobs. Each State and local jurisdiction sets their own requirements for their officers in training and qualifying in the use of these weapons for both their own safety and the public's. This legislation maintains the States' power to set these requirements and determine whether or not an officer or retired officer is qualified in the use of the firearm, and exempts those qualified officers from local and State statutes prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons when those officers are off-duty or retired.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Criminals do not disarm themselves when they travel from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, nor are criminals ever ''off-duty.'' Similarly, the law should not disarm police officers because they cross a state line or jurisdictional boundary.
Finally, Congress has the power, under the ''full faith and credit'' clause of the United States Constitution, to extend full faith and credit to police officers who have met the criteria set by State authorities to carry concealed firearms and make those credentials applicable and recognized in all States and territories in these United States. It is, therefore, not an intrusion on the power of the States.
Legislation exempting law enforcement officers from prohibitions on the carrying of concealed firearms is a matter of personal safety for the brave men and women who carry those firearms to defend our homes, neighborhoods and families against crime. This was demonstrated in the District earlier this year, a badge and uniform did not deter a depraved individual from murdering Officer Brian Gibson. In fact, he was murdered for the simple reason that he was a police officer. Officer Oliver Wendell Smith, Jr., was killed off-duty in Marylandperhaps because his assailant discovered that he was a police officer while robbing him of his wallet. He was unarmed. Officer Robert Johnson, also of the Metropolitan Police Department, had just gotten off-duty when he identified himself as a law enforcement officer to a troublemaker. That ''troublemaker'' was a convicted violent felona drug dealerwho was in violation of his curfew when he returned to kill Officer Johnson and wound another officer.
Mr. Chairman and members of this Subcommittee, it is an increasingly dangerous world that the men and women wearing the badge are asked to patrol. Crime overall is dropping, and that we count as a victory. However, the degree of violence in the crimes being committed is becoming almost incomprehensible in terms of sheer brutality. Even more striking is the remorselessness with which this violence is committed. Law enforcement officers are targetsin uniform and out; on duty and off; active or retired. We need the ability to defend ourselves against the very criminals that we pursue as part of our sworn duty, because the dangers inherent to police work do not end with our shift.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Perhaps the strongest endorsement of this bill is that thousands of violent criminals will hate to see it pass.
Mr. Chairman and Members of this distinguished Subcommittee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify before you here today on this issue.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. It certainly will be, without objection, Mr. Teodorski.
Mr. Rhinebarger, you may proceed to give us your statement.
STATEMENT OF JAMES A. RHINEBARGER, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL TROOPERS ASSOCIATION
Mr. RHINEBARGER. Okay, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and committee members, also, in allowing me to testify in front of this committee on this important issue.
The National Troopers Coalition represents approximately 45,000 State police and highway patrol officers in 47 associations nationwide. The issue of providing the authority to carry a concealed weapon off duty, interstate, to law enforcement officers is one supported by the National Troopers Coalition.
We support legislation that would allow qualified active duty and qualified honorably retired officersI would like to reiterate the word ''qualified'' in both categories, because we believe that whether you're active duty or you're retired, you need to be proficient in the use of a weapon. We believe that we should be allowed to carry our handgun across State lines legally as we travel throughout the United States.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We understand the great responsibility that goes along with carrying a firearm because we do it on a daily basis in our own States. It is a tool of the trade for us, like a hammer to a carpenter. We believe the passage of the Community Protection [Initiative] Act would enhance public safety.
Officers traveling want to know that if they are out of their jurisdiction and need to use their weapon for self-protection or for protecting their family, they will not be punished for just not having a license to carry the weapon in the particular State that they are in.
The instinctive nature of a trained law enforcement officer is to at all times intercede on behalf of the public in times of danger, whether that officer is on duty off duty, in his home State or on vacation or travel outside his jurisdiction. This instinctive nature is a good thing, and the United States Congress should supplement and protect the officer's intention and intuitive nature by removing the concealed weapons restrictions that place officers in a vulnerable situation.
Providing for law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons has one of the most direct benefits to the public that can be obtained in the passage of legislation. The benefit is increasing and augmenting the current law enforcement system in the United States.
All active duty officers must maintain a minimum standard of proficiency as set by their agency with the weapons that they carry. These standards must be met in order to keep their jobs. Many agencies also require the officers to be proficient with any weapon that they carry off-duty, if it is not issued by their agency.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
My agency, for an example, also requires that if I carry an off-duty weapon other than my issued weapon, it must be of a certain caliber and I must train with it or they will not support me, liability-wise in my home State.
With respect to the issue of retired law enforcement officers, the National Troopers Coalition recognizes the benefits of extending this authority to retired officers, but we strongly support a testing and/or licensing requirement that would ensure that the retired officer continues to be trained and is able to appropriately handle any situation that may cause rise to the use of a concealed weapon.
I was talking to a colleague of mine in South Carolina, and the South Carolina Highway Patrol agency requires a retired officer to perform the proficiency with a handgun once per year. The retired officer pays for the ammunition that he uses, but they have full-time instructors which allows this to occur.
One issue that you spoke of earlier could be problematic for the off-duty law enforcement officer, and/or a retired officer in the carriage of a concealed weapon. It is the issue of liability and the exposure to liability when assisting in a time of need outside of employment in one's jurisdiction. We hope that the committee will consider and address related issues as you move forward.
The bottom line is that we, as active duty police officers, do have to maintain a certain amount of proficiency with the handgun that we carry on duty and off duty, and in my State I have toI'm required tofire three times per year to maintain my certification. Other States and other jurisdictions may be different, so I can't quote you what everybody is required to do. But we do have to go through a certain amount of training in order to maintain that proficiency in order to keep our jobs.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The second part is the liability. If I'm on vacation in someone else's jurisdiction, it's a difficult situation, but I, personally, I think, have to accept the responsibility of the liability if I do have to use my weapon. Hopefully, we, as police officers, use it in the best interest of the public's safety and ourselves, but we have to assume some liability when we pull our weapon and discharge it, whether it be taking someone's life or in any other situation.
And I would also like to thank the committee for the opportunity to testify. I'm prepared to answer questions and, additionally, will make myself available at a later date to assist in a bill. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. We look forward to that and thank you, Mr. Rhinebarger.
Mr. RHINEBARGER. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rhinebarger follows:]
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 5 TO 7 HERE
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Thompson, you're recognized.
STATEMENT OF H.G. BILL THOMPSON, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS, SOUTHERN STATES POLICE BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION,
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee. I appreciate the opportunity of appearing before you here.
My present job is director of governmental affairs for the Southern States Police Benevolent Association. I represent over 15,000 police officers in the southern United States.
Today the men and women in law enforcement are better trained than ever before. That training is certified in each of the States by a commission that exists solely for that purpose. They certify that the police officer has been properly trained and can be trusted to properly use his or her weapon.
Law enforcement is better trained but still faces the same problem that they have always faced. That problem is not enough money, and when you're talking about lack of money that equates to not enough personnel on the street. I believe that I am correct in saying that the majority of the police departments in the United States have 25 members or less, and when you factor in normal days off, vacations, sick time, things of that nature, most of these departments are lucky to have one or two officers on duty during the late night and early morning hours.
In broader terms, there are roughly 600,000 police officers in the United States, and when you factor in the things that I've already mentioned, you have only roughly one-third of those on duty at any given time. When I was chief of police, I believe that the burglars knew how many officers we had on duty and even when they took a break to eat.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
When you consider all of these things, it makes perfect sense to us to authorize off-duty police officers to carry weapons, no matter what jurisdiction they are in. By doing so you could possibly double the number of trained law enforcement officers available to respond to emergency situations.
The criminals are not going to commit crimes if they think that the risk is high that they will be caught. This risk, or their perception of this risk, is certainly increased if they know that every off-duty cop can carry, no matter where they are.
With legislation that allows off-duty police officers to carry their weapons, every fanny pack or Day-timer with a zipper becomes a potential threat, a potential hiding place for a weapon. Every bystander is a potential police officer, and we believe that this is a real deterrent to crime. We believe that legislation allowing off-duty police officers to carry weapons, and thereby increasing the number of officers on the street, is in the best interest of public safety nationwide.
We also believe that by requiring retired officers to undergo periodic firearms qualification and then allowing them to carry their weapons, we can increase the number of officers on the street even more. We strongly urge this committee to report favorably on legislation of this nature, and we stand ready to assist in any way that we can.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Thompson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF H.G. BILL THOMPSON, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS, SOUTHERN STATES POLICE BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity of appearing before you.
My name is Bill Thompson. I've been a police officer for eighteen years and when I retired from active law enforcement, I was a Chief of Police.
My present job is that of Director of Governmental Affairs for the Southern States Police Benevolent Association. I represent over 15,000 police officers in the southern United States.
Today, the men and women in law enforcement are better trained than ever before. That training is certified in each of the states, by a commission that exists for that purpose. They certify that the police officer has been properly trained and can be trusted to properly use his or her weapon.
Law enforcement is better trained but still faces the same problem they have always faced. That problem is not enough money. And that equates to not enough personnel on the street.
I believe that I am correct in saying that the majority of the police departments in the United States have 25 members or less. When you factor in normal days off, vacation and sick time, most of these departments are lucky to have one or two officers on duty during the late night and early morning hours.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In broader terms, there are roughly 600,000 police officers in the United States and when you factor in the things that I already mentioned, you have only one third of those on duty at any given time.
When I was Chief of Police, I believe that the burglars knew how many officers were on duty and even when they went on a meal break.
When you consider all these things, it makes perfect sense to authorize off duty police officers to carry weapons, no matter what jurisdiction they are in. By doing so you could possibly double the number of trained law enforcement officers available to respond to emergency situations.
Criminals are not going to commit crimes if they think that the risk is high that they will be caught. This risk or their perception of this risk is certainly increased if they know that every off duty cop can carry, no matter where they are.
With legislation that allows off duty police officers to carry their weapon, every ''fanny pack'' or ''day timer'' with a zipper becomes a potential threat to the criminal. Every bystander is a potential police officer and we believe that this is a real deterrent to crime.
We believe that legislation allowing off duty police officers to carry weapons, and thereby increasing the number of officers on the street, is in the best interest of public safety nationwide. We also believe that requiring retired officers to undergo periodic firearms qualification, and then allowing them to carry their weapons can increase the number of officers on the street even more.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We strongly urge this committee to report favorably on legislation of this nature, and we stand ready to assist in any way that we can.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Thompson.
Mr. Nowicki, you're recognized.
STATEMENT OF ED NOWICKI, OFFICER, TWIN LAKES POLICE DEPARTMENT, ON BEHALF OF LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE OF AMERICA
Mr. NOWICKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to speak in favor of H.R. 218, the Community Protection Act of 1997, and H.R. 339, the Right to Safety and Personal Protection Act.'' As you could see from my professional bio, I'm a veteran of nearly three decades of law enforcement. I've also served as a municipal judge, and many consider me to be a national authority on law enforcement standards and procedures in firearms, officer safety, and use of force training. My training and experience includes not only law enforcement on the State and local level, but also members of the United States military, and both military and law enforcement personnel abroad. In addition, I am on advisory panels to three law enforcement publications, and I host a syndicated radio talk show, ''American Crime Line.''
I am here today as a life member and representative of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America and our more than 50,000 members across the nation. The LEAA is the Nation's largest coalition of law enforcement personnel, crime victims, and citizens committed to reducing our Nation's horrendous violent crime rate, as well as providing real protection for peace officers and their loved ones from vindictive criminal predators.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The LEAA is also the organizing and administrative body for the Corrections and Criminal Justice Coalition, the CCJC. The CCJC represents nearly 200,000 professional corrections officers throughout the Nation, who are the Nation's forgotten sworn law enforcement officers, even though theirs is the most dangerous beat, filled with the most dangerous felons in the Nation.
It was 1 year ago this past Friday that I first appeared before this subcommittee to explain the need for H.R. 218 in terms both very personal and very real for countless officers, active and retired, across the Nation. At that time I related my personal experiences from six shooting incidents spread over my law enforcement career and an incident where my being armed while on vacation outside my home State with my family averted a situation that posed real mortal danger to not only my family, but also to friends in that community.
I also explained to this subcommittee how law enforcement officers retain their identity, their training, their experience, and their dedication to the welfare and safety of the community, regardless of whether they are on the job in Washington, D.C. or heading home to Virginia or Maryland. Should they be forced to carry their firearm in a gym bag or locked in the trunk of a car, instead of on their person where it is easily accessible if needed?
Felons fail to observe jurisdictional boundaries, much less any other law of our Nation. H.R. 218 levels out the playing field and provides the legal means for our brave men and women in blue, trained and experienced in controlling situations where lives are threatened by criminal violence, to exercise that training in the interest of saving lives.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today, I would like to expand upon that previous testimony by pointing out the precedents to H.R. 218 that already exist in various forms throughout the States. This is the best data we could gather, which is by no means complete, nor is it up-to-date. However, it illustrates the latitude many States grant to out-of-state and retired officers in the area of carrying concealed firearms.
All 50 States exempt their on-duty law enforcement officers from statutes governing the right to carry a concealed weapon. Most States allow out-of-state officers to carry concealed firearms into their jurisdictions while on official business. Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Vermont allow on-and off-duty out-of-state officers to carry concealed weapons, while other States are silent on the issue, such as Oregon.
Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri have statutes that prohibit on-and off-duty officers that are out-of-state from carrying concealed weapons. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming recognize retired officers as qualified for concealed carry permits or rights. As you can tell from this list, it's very confusing, and a State can change its policy at any time.
Every aspect of H.R. 218 has some State, or a number of States where the precedent already exists. Conversely, very real legal dangers exist that could affect on-and off-duty officers from out-of-state who cross certain State lines.
I would also note that Federal law enforcement officers, on official business or not, enjoy what is, in effect, a nationwide legal right to carry concealed weapons identical to H.R. 218, yet they receive little or no training in the enforcement of laws of a State they may be in.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I would like to point out that more and more Federal law enforcement taskforces draw upon personnel from many local departments and agencies. The dangers are the same for local and Federal officers. While they are on assignment with a Federal agency, the local personnel enjoy the same rights as Federal personnel. However, once they return to their departments, what about them has changed?
They have the same training they had when they joined their Federal counterparts. They have the same expertise, experience, and judgment, but now, upon their return home, they suddenly have fewer rights.
Some of you might question the need for retired officers to be included in this legislation, so let me try to explain why it's needed. When an officer retires after putting away felons for 20 years or more, it's safe to say that they have made a few enemies. If the officers were with D.C. Metro PD and now lives in Virginia or Maryland, they can obtain a permit to carry in either of those States. That permit would not be valid in Washington, D.C. if they came back to visit friends, family, or wanted to show our Nation's capital to someone visiting, and every felon they've arrested knows that.
This is not a unique situation. For example, many New York City police officers move to Florida and Georgia. When they come back to New York to visit family and friends, they would also be unable to carry a firearm. Yet, had they retired in New York and stayed in that State, he or she would still be entitled to carry a concealed firearm. The fact that the officer moved out of State doesn't change single aspect of their years of dedication, training, and judgment.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
H.R. 218 simply reflects this real world reality. Enacting H.R. 218 into law not only clarifies and codifies the precedents found throughout the States, it also provides real protection for our communities, our fellow citizens, and our dedicated men and women of law enforcement.
I also believe that enacting H.R. 218 will be a meaningful measure to keep the walls bare at the National Law Enforcement Officer's memorial here in Washington, D.C. I urge this subcommittee and Congress to support and enact H.R. 218 for a very simple reason: It's the right thing to do.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Nowicki follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ED NOWICKI, OFFICER, TWIN LAKES POLICE DEPARTMENT, ON BEHALF OF LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE OF AMERICA
Chairman McCollum, Members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to speak in favor of HR. 218, ''The Community Protection Act of 1997'' and HR. 339 ''The Right to Safety and Personal Protection Act.''
As you can see from my CV attached to the copy of my testimony, I am a veteran of nearly three decades of law enforcement service. I've also served as a municipal judge, and I am currently one of the nation's foremost authorities on law enforcement standards and procedures in firearms, officer survival and use of force training. My training experience includes not only law enforcement on the state and local level but also members of the United States military and both military and law enforcement personnel abroad. In addition, I am on advisory panels to three law enforcement publications and host the syndicated radio talk show, American Crime Line.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I am here today as a Life Member and representative of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America and our more than 50,000 members across the nation. LEAA is the nation's largest coalition of law enforcement personnel, crime victims, and citizens committed to reducing our nation's horrendous violent crime rate, as well as providing real protection for peace officers and their loved ones from vindictive criminal predators. LEAA is also the organizing and administrative body for the Corrections and Criminal Justice Coalition, the CCJC. The CCJC represents nearly 200,000 professional corrections officers throughout the nation who are the nation's forgotten sworn law enforcement officers even though theirs is the most dangerous ''beat'' filled with the most dangerous felons in the nation.
It was one year ago this past Friday that I first appeared before this subcommittee to explain the need for HR. 218 in terms both very personal and very real for countless officers, active and retired, across the nation. At that time I related my personal experiences from six shooting incidents spread over my law enforcement career and an incident where my being armed while on vacation outside of my jurisdiction with my family averted a situation that posed real mortal danger to not only my family but also friends in that community.
I also explained to this subcommittee how a law enforcement officer retains his identity, his training, his experience, and his dedication to the welfare and safety of the community regardless of whether he is on the job in Washington, D.C. or heading home to Virginia or Maryland. Should they be forced to carry their firearm in a gym bag or locked in the trunk of a car instead of on their person where it is easily accessible if needed.
Felons fail to observe jurisdictional boundaries much less any other law of our nation. HR. 218 levels out the playing field and provides the legal means for our brave men and women in blue, trained and experienced in controlling situations where lives are threatened by criminal violence, to exercise that training in the interest of saving lives.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Today, I would like to expand upon that previous testimony by pointing out the precedents to HR. 218 that already exist in various forms throughout the states. This is the best data we could gather, which is by no means complete nor is it up-to-date. However, it illustrates the latitude many states grant to out-of-state and retired officers in the area of carrying concealed weapons.
All 50 states exempt their on-duty law enforcement officers from statutes governing the right to carry a concealed weapon.
Most states allow out-of-state officers to carry concealed firearms into their jurisdictions while on official business.
Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Vermont allow on- and off-duty out-of-state officers to carry concealed weapons while other states are silent on the issue such as Oregon.
Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri have statutes that prohibit on- and off-duty, out-of-state officers from carrying concealed weapons.
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming recognize retired officers as qualified for concealed carry permits or rights.
As you can tell from this list it's very confusing, and a state can change its policy at any time.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Every aspect of HR. 218 has some state or a number of states where the precedent already exists. Conversely, very real legal dangers exist that could affect on- and off-duty officers from out of state who cross certain state lines.
I would also note that federal law enforcement officers, on official business or not, enjoy what is in effect a nationwide legal right to carry concealed weapons identical to HR. 218, yet they receive little or no training in the enforcement of laws of a state they may be in. I would like to point out that more and more federal law enforcement task forces draw personnel from many local departments and agencies. The dangers are the same for local and federal officers. While they are on assignment with a federal agency, the local personnel enjoy the same rights as federal personnel. However, once they return to their departments, what about them has changed?
They have the same training they had when they joined their federal counterparts, they have the same expertise, experience and judgement but, now, upon their return home, they suddenly have fewer rights.
Some of you might question the need for retired officers to be included in this legislation so let me try and explain why it's needed. When an officer retires after putting away felons for twenty years or more, it's safe to say they have made a few enemies. If the officer were with DC Metro PD and now lives in Virginia or Maryland they can obtain a permit to carry in either of those states. That permit would not be valid in Washington, D.C. if they came back to visit friends, family members or wanted to show our nation's capital off to someone visiting them. And every felon they've arrested knows that.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This is not a unique situation. Representative Schumer probably knows that many retired New York City Officers move to Florida or Georgia, and when they come back to New York to visit family and friends they would also be unable to carry a firearm.
Yet, had that retired New York Officer stayed in New York, he or she would still be entitled to carry a concealed firearm. The fact that the Officer moved out of state doesn't change one single aspect of their years of dedication, training and judgment. HR. 218 simply reflects this real world reality.
Enacting HR. 218 into law not only clarifies and codifies the precedents found throughout the states, it provides real protection for our communities, our fellow citizens, and our dedicated men and women of law enforcement.
I urge this subcommittee and Congress to support and enact HR. 218 for a very simple reason: it is the right thing to do.
Ed Nowicki is one of the nation's leading law enforcement trainers in addition to being the former Executive Director of the nation's largest law enforcement training association: the prestigious ''American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers'' (ASLET). A continuously sworn police officer since 1968, Ed currently works part-time as a police officer for the Twin Lakes, Wisconsin Police Department. A survivor of six separate shooting incidents, he began his law enforcement career with the Chicago Police Department and has held the ranks of Patrolman, Detective, Lieutenant, and Chief of Police with four law enforcement agencies. Since 1981, Ed has been employed full-time as a Police Training specialist with Milwaukee Area Technical College. He has trained thousands of police officers from across United States, Canada, Venezuela, Italy, Spain and Great Britain.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ed Nowicki, a LEAA life member, is a judicially recognized and declared expert on police training, police procedures and the use of force. He is a recipient of numerous awards for his work and contributions in law enforcement and law enforcement training. A widely published author for various law enforcement publications, he serves as a contributing editor to both Law Enforcement Technology magazine and Guns and Weapons for Law Enforcement magazine and is a regular columnist for Real Crime Book digest. Ed is a technical advisor for Police magazine and an advisor to The Police Marksman magazine. He also authored the critically acclaimed, award winning book of police short stories, True Blue (St. Martin's Press paperback), co-authored two other books and is a frequent guest on a number of television and radio programs, including Maury Povich, Jerry Springer (four appearances) and G. Gordon Liddy. A former Municipal Judge, he also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice (Magna Cum Laude) and a Master of Arts Degree in Management. During 1994 he was the sole recipient of the ''Award of Excellence in Law Enforcement Training for Individual Achievement'' by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Nowicki received this prestigious award from the U.s. Treasury Secretary during a Washington, DC awards ceremony. He is the host of the nationally syndicated (77 stations across the nation) weekly talk radio show, American Crime Line with Ed Nowicki, and is a regular guest on NewsTalk Television.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Nowicki, and to all of you.
I'm going to recognize myself and then each of the Members for 5 minutes of questions. First, what I'm concerned about is the definition of ''law enforcement officer.'' In the proposed draft that I've presented, we define that person as ''including a full-time employee of a governmental agency who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of law.''
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Teodorski, do you think that by adding the word ''prosecution'' that we've expanded the definition too far by including prosecutors? Is prevention, detection, and investigation enough? Have you thought about it over at the FOP?
Mr. TEODORSKI. Well, I think quite honestly, Mr. Chairman, I don't have any problems with the prosecutors. They face the same dangers, I know; even judges face the dangers. In many instances now, judges have the same situation arise in their capacity. I think the ''qualified and authorized to carry'' is the key to this legislation, that people who are doing this as full-time, as their professionas well as corrections officers. Those people who are authorized to carry and qualified and trained to carry that firearmthose are the people that we believe should be covered in this legislation, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. So it would be a wide variety? You'd rather see it open wider to include judges and corrections officers and prosecutors?
Mr. TEODORSKI. No, I'm just saying that judges can speak for themselves, but when you said about the people in prosecution, the district attorneys and so forth, they face the same problems as the law enforcement officers do in the sense that they're identified as being the person who puts them behind bars, also.
I'm not saying that I would want tothey should be able to speak for themselves is basically what I feel.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. But you're saying that the FOP wouldn't object if we did include prosecutors.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TEODORSKI. No.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. Does anybody else want to comment on the definition of law enforcementhow broad or how narrow it ought to be?
Mr. NOWICKI. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Every State in the United States has some governing body at the State level, and they're frequently called POST commissions, which is an acronym for Peace Officers Standards and Training. And every sworn officerI believe that if the officer was certifiedsome States use the term ''licensed.''
If they are certified, which means they went through training requirements and they maintain standards such as retraining or recertification or relicensing, and they retired as a certified or licensed peace officer within that appropriate jurisdiction, that would certainly qualify to make sure they met standards of training as set forth by the governing body within that State.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. But a prosecutor or a judge might not do that.
Mr. NOWICKI. That is correct. They would not fit that criteria.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, that's one of the reasons I asked the question, because the way we've worded this definition right now means a full-time employee with a government agency who is authorized by law to engage in prosecution and is authorized by the agency to carry a firearm at all times.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I don't know how many prosecutors or judges, for that matter, meet all of these criteria, but the potential is there as illustrated by Mr. Teodorski's hypothetical. However, the definition wouldn't be limited to just those that the local police departments have trained.
Mr. NOWICKI. They should be certified or licensed by the appropriate governing body within that State, which could include part-time officers. For example, Mr. Chairman, I am a part-time officer. I am a full-time academy director, but I am a part-time officer, yet I meet all the same requirements as full-time officers, and I have to maintain my certification. I have full arrest powers when I'm within my jurisdiction.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And you would want the retired officerif we included himto maintain exactly the same certification as a regular officer on active duty?
Mr. NOWICKI. Well, some of that gets difficult, because some of the officers, when they are retired, they no longer have their training funded, nor are they eligible in some States to participate in training since they are no longer sworn officers. However, if something like H.R. 218 came into existence, I think that would put pressure on whatever governing body to allow that, and I think that would be absolutely reasonable, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, do you envision a retired officer or any officer, for that matter, who travels to another State as simply having that weapon for his own personal protection, or do you envision his using it occasionally when somebody is committing a crime in his presence or to perform a function that he might not otherwise perform in that jurisdiction?
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. NOWICKI. I believe not only to protect the officer and the officer's family, but I believe that officer, if he legally had the firearm, if he saw a violent felony being committed, that officer would be derelict if he did not take any action.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Teodorski.
Mr. TEODORSKI. Mr. Chairman, first of all, let me try to clear up on the other issue, on the prosecution. When you had asked about the prosecution, one of the things that came to mind very quickly was county detectives. Now in my home State of Pennsylvania, we have county detectives who act in a full-time capacity and do investigative work, and work directly under the district attorney's office. And they are required to be as qualified and trained as the law enforcement officials in my State, and those are the types of people that I was speaking of.
So if that helps clear that up, those were exactly the thoughts that I had when I was thinking of the prosecution end, because most people don't think of them as the street cop, but they do have the same responsibilities and duties as any investigator does, and those are the people that I was thinking of.
As to the other part of your questionbeing a retired officer and depending on the nature of the situationyou know, it's not always necessary that I would have to pull a firearm to react to a situation. If I deemed that pulling a firearm would aid a victim or prevent something, I would, but there may be other things that I may be able to do, that my training would be able to deal with the situation at hand, and I think each situation has to be judged by the officer.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I don't think it is something that is absolute that because I am traveling on vacation that I have to pull out a firearm to try to prevent a crime or to aid someone. There may be other things that may be available for to do, but it would be an option; but it wasn't something that would mandate an absolutebecause it doesn't even mandated when I was with the State police.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. One of the great concerns involved in this issue is that if you include retired police officers in this provision, then they may be held to a higher standard or degree of training if they're going to use that firearm or be permitted to use it in anything other than self-defense in another State.
I can just see that coming from other local jurisdictions who perhaps don't want somebody else's police officer, particularly a retired one, whose training, age, or infirmities they have no control over.
Mr. TEODORSKI. And speaking as a retired officerand that's why we support legislation that would require an officer being qualified as I was when I was with the State policeI would require the same type of training, because I know as I age, as my golf game went down, so is my accuracy with the firearm.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Fair enough.
Mr. TEODORSKI. So, I think it is important and imperative, because I would not want to be a full-time law enforcement officer having an officer who is retired and been retired for a number of years coming to a scene who has not been qualified and trained, and those expertise have been lost over a period of time. It just is a thing of nature, and I would not want to be concerned about his well-being in having to deal with an issue. So I believe strongly, as the FOP believes, that it has to be a qualified, trained officer.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Barr, you're recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. BARR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your holding this hearing and allowing us the opportunity to refocus our attention on this important matter, and particularly with the caliber of people that we have on this and the next panel.
Mr. Thompson, I know that you've given great thought, as have the other members of this panel, to the problems and the different scenarios that could arise if we pass this legislationand I am an original co-sponsor of H.R. 339.
Have you given any thought to the liability issue? And do you have concerns there and thoughts that you might pass on to us as we look toward finalizing this legislation?
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes, sir, I do. We've given a lot of thought to the liability aspect. If I were a chief of police still in Georgia, I'd be very concerned. I would not be opposed to it, but I would be very concerned if I had police officers going to California, for example, on vacation and carrying their firearms.
I think, probably, that there are probably many more solutions, but we've thought of a couple of solutions. One would be the possible expansion ofI believe most of the States have a good samaritan law which allows medical personnel to respond to a medical emergency, and as long as they act in good faith and in accordance with their training, then I think they're immune from lawsuits. So one possibility might be to expand that type of law to cover police officers.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Probably the most desirable would be some sort of an insurance policy. I believe we have Federal flood insurance for people who build their houses in flood plains. We could perhaps consider some sort of an insurance policy that would cover a police officer who was properly trained, and so forth, and who acted in good faith to protect the public safetythen that might be another option.
Mr. BARR. Okay. Mr. Teodorski, do you have any thoughts on that? I know that representing so many police officers, as your organization does also, that that's of concern to you.
Mr. TEODORSKI. Yes it is, Mr. Barr, and that's why I stated earlier to the chairman that I think that the option that the officer has to look at, whether he's active or retired, is not always to discharge the firearm. I think the officer has a great responsibility, whether he's at home or on vacation, and that officer has to make a judgment. And that judgment does not always require the discharge of that firearm. I think we have to look at the liability issues. I do not have a direct answer for that, Mr. Barr, but I know it's a concern. But I think from the training and the qualifications and the things that I learned in the profession, the discharge of the firearm was always the last resort, and not the first resort, and there were other means available to you before you discharged that firearm.
Mr. BARR. Thank you. Do either of the other witnesses have anything that would specifically address this that we might keep in mind in addition to the proposals that Mr. Thompson talked about?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RHINEBARGER. Yes, sir, Mr. Barr. As far as the liability is concernedand I'm not an attorney, so I can't answer legallybut if II'm from Indiana, so if I'm in Washington, D.C. and I come up on any kind of a situation and I have a weapon, and I feel that I need to use it, there are some questions that I've got to answer instantaneously for myself.
Number one, should I use the weapon? How should I use the weapon? If I use it to take someone's life, then I'm not sure what liability falls back on the State of Indiana. Being in Washington, D.C. I've got to adhere to all of the rules and policies of Washington, D.C., so I'm not sure where liability falls back, other than if they improperly train me.
The State of Indiana certifies me as a State police officer. I'm certified to carry the weapons issued by my agency. If I go out beyond the State of Indiana with an issued weaponand we had this situation with a trooper several years ago where this happened; he was in Florida and had to kill an individual, but he had his own weapon. The State of Indiana did not come into play because it was not their weapon that was used. It was the individual in the State of Florida having to adhere to that State's individual law. And I believe that's where the liability would fall upon me as an individual because I have to be responsible, number one, if I'm going to carry the weapon and know when and how to use it.
As far as training, I think the two of them work together because if the State of Indiana does not properly train me, does not have the proper paperwork showing that I have been trained, there might be some liability there. But other than that, I'm not sure that there is.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARR. And then do you have any specific thoughts on, or solutions, to how we might address the liability question, other than the couple of suggestions that Mr. Thompson related?
Mr. RHINEBARGER. It's a very tough question, and I'm not sure I've got the answer, other than the liability that would fall upon my agency to me would be the fact that they maintain records and properly qualify me to use the weapon in my State. Being trained in my State, I think I'm trained well enough that I think I could go through Ohio or any other State with that weapon on me and, hopefully, use good judgment in the use of it if I have to.
Mr. BARR. Mr. Chairman, could I ask unanimous consent for one more minute in the event Mr. Nowicki has anything to add to that? If he doesn't, then I'll yield back the time.
Mr. NOWICKI. I'd just like to add something very quickly, that there's a standard the U.S. Supreme Court has givenit's the Graham v. Connor casewhich means the officer should be acting as a reasonable officer. And if you use that term, the officer has judgment and the officer can act reasonably. That firearm may not come into play. It may not be there, and sometimes the officer would just be a good witness. But if it's a serious, violent felony, when somebody's life is in jeopardyI'd like to think that if something was happening to my wife or my daughter or my granddaughters, something could be done to save their lives.
And in this society that we have today, I know officers that are more scared of lawsuits than bullets being fired at them, and we're responsible for our actions and conduct.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BARR. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Barr. In light of the lighter turnout here today, I'm going to take a second round, because I think we have some questions that need to be resolved. You'll also be given some more time to question the panel, Mr. Barr.
Mr. Teodorski, the draft legislation that I've put out here includes a provision that would permit States to require an officer to provide notification
Oh, Mr. Buyer's hereI'm sorry. I didn't even see you there; I'm sorry. You're recognized. How did I miss you?
Mr. BUYER. It's the prerogative of the Chair, Mr. Chairman. [Laughter.]
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. Ask your questions; I apologize. I didn't even see you sitting there. Go ahead. You've got 5 minutes.
Mr. BUYER. No, that's all right. I just want to let you knowmaybe it's because I was going to speak negativelythat if you wanted to override
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. No, not at all.
Mr. BUYER. I'm a State's rights kind of person, and this is pretty heavy-handed Federalism, which concerns me a lot. And I just want to share that with the witnesses, and welcome them.
This is tough. If in your philosophy you believe in State's rights, and then you're coming in with a regulation like this, and you're trying to make it all work, I get kind of skittish. I'm a strong Second Amendment kind of guy, and I understandbelieve me, I didn't support President Clinton's initiatives and his putting 50,000 police officers, or 100,000 the streetwhatever the number; we know it's not even true.
This is a way you actually put more qualified people on the streetis something like this. But I don't like the heavy hand. One of the concerns I do have, obviously, is the liability issue. So let me ask you what is happeninginstead of trying to be creativewhat do you know is happening out there in the States of Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Vermont that allow an off-duty, out-of-state officer to carry a concealed weapon? What is happening with that in those States, if you know, when you have an officer from out-of-state that discharges that weapon and they made a mistake? Does anybody know what's happened in those jurisdictions?
Mr. NOWICKI. I deal with people in training capacities throughout the Nation, and I have many colleagues in some of those States, and if there have been any problems, it's been an isolated problem. It hasn't been any widespread problem, whatsoever.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BUYER. All right, I'm going to take that as a qualified, ''I'm not sure.''
Mr. NOWICKI. I don't have numbers.
Mr. BUYER. All right. If you are able to find that, could you provide that for us?
Mr. NOWICKI. We'll see what we can do to research that; yes, sir.
Mr. BUYER. If you could communicate with those States, because we may also need to do that. And the same would apply to Indianaand I'll ask Mr. Rhinebarger this question. On the liability questionyou know we've got California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Wyomingwhen you have a retired police officer who discharges a weapon, who assumes the liability in that case, in Indiana for example?
Mr. RHINEBARGER. I'm not positive, but I believe the individual does. When we retire in Indiana the department gives me my own duty-service revolver, and by law I have the authority to carry it within the State of Indiana. But if I get into a shooting situation, I don't think my agency covers me in any way, other than to provide a training record. I have to assume that liability.
Mr. BUYER. Let me ask you this. I would assume that part of the goal of this legislation is to say, you know, we have good citizens in our society, individuals whom will lay their own life on the line for individuals that they might not even know, so we have good samaritan laws. But we want police officers to even do a little bit more because they also have been trained in their past, and so how do you induce that to happen? If in fact they're going to assume liability, wouldn't they in fact be hesitant? So I'm not certain how it is in fact working.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. RHINEBARGER. It might be at their expense, but, hopefully, the police officer is in the right and the law is on their side when they take that kind of an action. A situation you run into, and I ran into it several years ago, is that if I'm out of uniformand this happened in my own local community; I got involved in a fight with a couple of people. The police responded, and I was down on the floor, and I had to tell them that I was a police officer because they didn't know me personally.
The situation exists the same if you're in someone else's jurisdiction, or any place, and you're out of uniform, the first thing I want to happen is that the police who respond to know that I am a police officer. So I'm going to hold up my badge, yell it out, or whatever, so they don't end up shooting me. So I've got to accept responsibility for those, and you're probably not thinking liability at that particular second. But you have to keep it in the back of your mind that if I am involved in a situation, then there has to be some liability. If I'm in the right, I'm okay.
Mr. BUYER. The only last one I have is for training. If you've got all these different States that have different standards, and your liability is going to happen based upon the State where the incident occurred, are you assuming that there will be reciprocity between these States to accept each other's training? Or are you assuming that you have to move toward national standards in training?
Mr. TEODORSKI. If I could, Mr. Buyer, I don't think we're looking for national standards. I think in today's climate, as you stated, the liability issuepolice departments have really been faced with this over the last several years, and the training and the requirements that are put on police agencies have been raised. I think that there isif you want to saysort of a national standard in that each police agency is being more qualified.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I know within the State of Pennsylvania, from, initially, the type of training that was required to qualify to what is in place now, it is much more stringent and more time consuming and requires the officer to be better trained in the use and discharge of the firearm than it was when I first joined the State police. So I
Mr. BUYER. See, what I assume from your answer, though, is that you're saying, ''Mr. Buyer, there are higher standards out there.'' Well, then, what that means is, is that we want South Carolina to assume Indiana's and Montana to assume
Mr. TEODORSKI. No, noif I
Mr. BUYER [continuing]. That's the reciprocity of each other to recognize that someone is qualified to carry.
Mr. TEODORSKI. Well, I think that, in a sense, if each agency has its requirements, that the agency, if it wanted to look at why I discharged a firearm or why an active police officer discharged a firearm and saw that the training may not have been to what they felt was a standardbut I think the standard overall has been raised, not saying that one has to compare to another. I think the standard overall has been raised.
Mr. BUYER. All right.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Buyer, I'll let you in again for a second round of questioning, if you want it.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I just want to clarify a couple of things quickly, so I am going to take a very brief second round.
Mr. BUYER. Mr. Chairman, didn't they used to make a television show called ''McCloud?''
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, they did.
Mr. BUYER. Right, the cowboy coming into the city.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. To New York.
Mr. BUYER. That's what concerns us, you knowdifferent jurisdictions
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I remember; I used to watch that.
Mr. BUYER [continuing]. People pull triggers at different times, you know.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. He always was a little more quick to pull the trigger, wasn't he?
Mr. BUYER. Right.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Teodorski, as I began a moment ago, The draft legislation includes a provision that would permit States to require an officer to provide notification that the officer will be carrying a concealed firearm in that State. It provides some recognition that a State or locality has an interest in knowing who is armed while in the State that they're going to, or going through. Does your organization have any position on this provision?
Mr. TEODORSKI. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Our position is that if I were traveling through the State of Indiana, there would be no requirement for notice on my part, it just traveling through. If I was stopping within the State, then it would be just notification that I am in the jurisdiction, that I am a full-time police officer, and that I am carrying a firearm. And it would strictly be a notification.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. So you think that notification is in order? Is the type that we've got in the bill satisfactory, or not?
Mr. TEODORSKI. Only in that it would be notification, not a prohibition by the agency, then, to deny my access.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Right. I would agree, and I think that's Precisely the way we've written it.
Does anybody else want to comment on that provision? Mr. Thompson.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THOMPSON. Yes, sir. I think it's probably a very good idea, but I'm not sure how it would work. For example, if an off-duty police officer from another State were to visit Atlanta, you probably, in 1 day's driving around Atlanta, in the outskirts, you would go through more than 35 different law enforcement jurisdictions, so I'm just not sure how it would work in that case.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. We have a pass-through provision in here. We tried to recognize that reality, but I realize that's another story, too, so it can be quite complicated.
Mr. NOWICKI. I just wanted to say what this would do. It would recognize the officer of his status, or her status, as a peace officer. It would not give them jurisdiction. They would have no authority out-of-state as police officers. They would have the authority that any citizen would have, but by their fact of being a police officer they would, in essence, be okay to carry a concealed weapon.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. But what about the notification provision? Do you think there's a problem with that, as Mr. Thompson suggested? Say you go to Georgia and you're going to go visit Atlanta, but you might visit six counties in 3 days. Are you passing through? We've got a pass-through provision that says you don't have to notify anybody if you're just passing through, but suppose you're there for 6 or 7 days?
Mr. NOWICKI. I think that would be very cumbersome, both on the individual and on the agency that's being notified. There are people in various States that have concealed-carry permits that are legally-armed citizens that travel in different counties throughout the State, yet they don't know who is armed and who isn't armed in that State. I think that would be very impractical to carry out.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Rhinebarger, did you want to comment on that?
Mr. RHINEBARGER. Yes, sir; I would have a question on that. If I were
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Could you use the microphone please, sir? It's right there.
Mr. RHINEBARGER. I'm sorry.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. That's just for the recording purposes; thank you.
Mr. RHINEBARGER. Okay. I have a question on that, and I have to agree that I believe it would be rather cumbersome for that to occur. The question would be, if I am in Atlantic City and I am there for 48 to 72 hours, and I fail to notify the Atlantic City police department that I am there, and I do have a weapon and I am involved in a justified shooting, would there be a penalty posed against me if I failed that part of the test?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, I suppose that would depend on the State law and the local law because if this law didn't exist you certainly could be subject to such penalties just like you are today. This law would preempt the States to the degree that it exists, and to the degree that it doesn't, it would be like the law is today.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RHINEBARGER. I think it would be a cumbersome situation for an individual to follow that part of it.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. Let me clarify a couple of other things on the retired side of this, just for a moment, because I'm curious about these.
Assuming we were to cover retired officersif an officer who is retired is going to continue to be qualified in the use of firearms, does that contemplate some recertification by his home police department if he is retired from Indiana, Mr. Rhinebarger, to Florida? Would he have to go to his home town police department every year to be recertified, or is this contemplating certification in Naples, Florida or wherever he happens to be after he's retiredeven if he's never been a police officer in that community? Do you have a thought about that?
Mr. RHINEBARGER. I think what might happen is if the individual moves from Indiana to Florida and becomes a resident of Florida and that individual wants to maintain that certification, then I'm not sure it's going to be transferable; I wouldn't think so. If he wanted to, he would have to go back to the State of Indiana and recertify each year in order to carry the weapon from State-to-State.
Once he becomes a resident of the State of Florida, then I'm assuming that he could apply to carry a firearm in the State of Florida only, because I don't see that it would be extremely cumbersome for agencies to make it transferable and follow an individual that might move several times.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. So you think, as opposed to visiting there for a few days or weeks of vacation, if you live in another State, at some point that should be distinguished, too, for a retired officer?
Mr. RHINEBARGER. Yes, and I'm one of those individuals that believes that if I want something, I've got to be responsible for it, for whatever it is; whether it's carrying a weapon across State lines or anything else, I've got to be responsible. I've got to think about liability and all of those things, and my proficiency. And like Bernie said, his golf game is going south along with mine. But if I want something, I've got to be responsible and accept whatever the rules are that apply to it.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The reason I'm asking a lot of these questions is that they are the types of questions that we struggled with when we decided not to include retired officers in the draft language. They were very difficult to answer.
Does anyone else want to comment on the question of certification of a retired officer?
Mr. TEODORSKI. Mr. Chairman, I would have to agree. You know, if I were to move to a different State besides the State that I worked in, or within the local jurisdiction, I believe that I would have to go back to that jurisdiction, and I would have to qualify as I had qualified in the past.
I think it would be just impractical to require other agencies now to let me go qualify and be certified under their program. If I wanted to be able to be covered under this legislation, then, like Jim stated, I would have to go back and do what I have done over the past 25 yearsqualify within the State police.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And what sort of identification would a qualified retired officer have to carry? Just their badge from the past or something new that not only shows that they are retired, but also shows that they are requalified?
Mr. TEODORSKI. Well, I think if it came to the issue where theand that's the only time I would see it actually happeningwhere an officer discharged a firearm and the issue of his qualification was raiseddid he qualify under the legislation? Was he certified to carry the firearm? Then I think there would be that type of certification out there.
I don't know if he has to have it on his person, that a certain type of identification card is made up, but I think if the issue came up, if I discharged a firearm as a retired officer in the State of Florida because I was visiting there and now that became an issue, they could easily check within the State police to see if I did qualify, as required, and I think that would be the easiest way, than coming up with an identification card, because the cardthe only time it would become an issue is if I used the firearm or came into a situation where the question was whether I was legal under the legislation.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. Does Mr. Nowicki or anyone else want to comment on either of those two points?
Mr. NOWICKI. Well, there can be, I think, something. Rather simply, either you meet the training standard in the State where you are a resident today or you meet the standard where you were a law enforcement officer. I think it can be an either/or standard. Either one would be appropriate, and that would give some flexibility to the person for maintaining their training.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And we don't need an age limit for retired officers under your suggestion because if they qualify, they qualify, I guess.
Mr. NOWICKI. That is correct.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Okay. I see that Ms. Jackson Lee has come in; I'll give her her 5 minutes in a moment.
If any of you have any examples from your organizations of situations in which a police officer who was visiting or traveling in another State could have prevented a crime if they had been permitted to carry a concealed weapon, please submit them to the subcommittee. They would be good for us to collect and have.
Also, any specific examples where police officers have been in situations where they have needed a weapon in another State to protect themselves from somebody who is out for revenge would be very helpful to this cause.
Ms. Jackson Lee, we've completed the first round of questioning and I'm actually on a second round with this panel. You are welcome to have 5 minutes worth of questions, then we've got to go on to the next panel.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much.
And I thank you. It was because of flight schedules that I was not here at the beginning of the testimony of these witnesses, but I do appreciate the importance of your testimony and have certainly reviewed some of the statements that were made.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Let me, for the sake of my own edificationand it may have already been alluded to in previous questionsraise some concerns, and I'd appreciate it if any of the members of the panel would answer. First of all, let me offer, Mr. Chairman, my statement in the record and ask unanimous consent that my statement be submitted.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Chairman, I speak this afternoon to voice my concerns regarding the three pieces of legislation before us today.
H.R. 218, H.R. 339, and Mr. McCollum's draft legislation each extend to law enforcement officials the right to carry concealed firearms. While I support the premise on which this legislation is, in part, foundedthat the brave and dedicated men and women who comprise our nation's law enforcement system are our best defense in an increasingly violent societythat these individuals, because of their training and expertise, are the best qualified to respond to an emergency situation whether they are on- or off-dutythere are a number of aspects of this legislation which cause me concern.
To begin with, I am concerned about the preemption of state law that this legislation represents. Concealed carry laws have historically been the jurisdiction of state and local governments. There is no more basic responsibility of local officials than the protection of public safety. Time has shown us that what one community believes to be necessary to assure public safety and the public good is quite often fundamentally different from other communities. It seems to me particularly inappropriate for the federal government to nullify laws which have been enacted by members of a community for the safety and protection of that community.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Additionally, I am concerned about how to account for the vast differences in state's training and certification of law enforcement when allowing ''qualified'' law enforcement officials to carry concealed firearms in other states. Some states and localities have enacted stringent certification and training requirements for their law enforcement officials. Is it not reasonable that a state with such stringent training and certification would be concerned about allowing less rigorously trained officials to carry concealed weapons within their borders?
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today and hope that your testimony will help to address some of these concerns. Thank you all for being here today.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Needless to say, my gun credentialsfrom the perspectivealbeit I'm in my second termI think have been well noted. I always err on the side of protecting you who are in law enforcement to the chagrin, of course, of many.
I'm a strong supporter of the Brady Bill and strong supporter of the assault weapons ban and past legislation dealing with guns and safety as a member of the Houston City Council, and advocate strongly that those who are in law enforcement in the first lines of battle, in terms of preventing crime, certainly should have all of the necessary attachments to protect you and all that are involved in this very serious effort to protect and provide for the quality of life in this Nation.
This legislation has, certainly, a great deal of merit, but I would hope that you would help me in my concern, and that is to add additional firearms to an already prolific fire-armed societyand not those who are doing firearms for sportsto the contraryand my complete aversion to the concealed weapons bill in the State of Texas, thinking that it is not a wise solution.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
My question then is, in allowing off-duty State law enforcement officials to carry concealed weapons, how do you respond to that increasing the number of weapons on the street, albeit I understand that these are trained law enforcement officers, but take that question in the context that different States' certification procedures, as I understand itand you can correct me if I am wrongare differentdifferent certification proceduresis there a question of different quality in training?
And do we put law enforcement officers in greater jeopardy by having concealed weapons, of feeling a necessity, then, on their vacation, or on some other social occasion to have to immediately interact? Though I also realize that law enforcement officers by their very nature have a tendency to become involved. But does the weapon put them in greater jeopardy because they have a concealed weapon?
And, lastly, should the States do this as opposed to us regulating it on the part of the Federal Government? And I would appreciate an answer from those who are on the panel. Who wants to jump in? Mr. Rhinebarger, is it?
Mr. RHINEBARGER. Rhinebarger.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. All right.
Mr. RHINEBARGER. I think you have a couple of questions there, and I'll start
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. And I apologize for that. I thought it would be best to get them out and then let you have at it.
Mr. RHINEBARGER. I'll try to remember which is which. But I think the issue that we're looking at is to allow a qualifiedand I express the word qualifiedindividual, whether it be active duty or retired, to carry a weapon across State lines which we, at this particular time, cannot do. I don't really think you're adding that many guns to the streets or to a State when a law enforcement officer, off duty, travels from Indiana to Washington, D.C. or any place else in between.
The issue of liability we have discussed earlier, and I believe very strongly that if I accept the responsibility of being a police officer, I have to accept the responsibility of the training and knowing when and when not to take certain actions, and especially off duty, if the location where you are at does not know that you are a police officer. You're just a face among the crowd, so, somehow, if you are involved in a shooting situation, then you've got to identify to the police responding that you are a good guy, a police officer, rather than the bad guy.
So you've got to weigh all of those things when you approach any sensitive or serious situation, number one, before you get yourself involved because we are taught and taught and taught about the liability of any action that we take.
But when traveling from State to State, we have to adhere to the laws and the rules and the regulations in whatever State we are in, whether it be their criminal laws or whether it be their traffic laws pertaining to speed, a driver's license, registration information, or anything like that. And I think the vast majority of law enforcement officers are responsible enough to be able to weigh those situations if they get involved in them.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Nowicki wanted to answer, and Mr. Teodorski, and I'd appreciate your granting an additional 1 minute.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. They may, certainly.
Mr. NOWICKI. I don't know of any situation off-hand where a trained and qualified law enforcement officer being armed would make matters worse. If anything, that officer knows judgment on when not to use that firearm and when it would be appropriate, if at all possible. And I think that's important that we take advantage of that training because, theoretically, we could put 650,000 trained police officers on the streets of our Nation, training that has already been paid for by taxpayers. And I think that is just making maximum use of resources.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Nowicki.
I'll go this wayMr. Thompson?
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you. I believe the intent of legislation of this sort is an attempt to reduce the overall crime rate. Now I submit that each police officer that is off duty that goes on vacation makes his or her individual decision now as to whether or not they are going to carry a firearm, and if faced with a situation wherein they had to protect their life or their family's life, then they probably would use that firearm.
But in the absence of legislation such as this that would give some sort of liability protection, I respectfully suggest that they're probably not going to get involved where, if they did get involved they could save someone else's life through the use of that firearm, but they're not going to because they know that that liability issue is there.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you.
Mr. TEODORSKI. Teodorskithank you, Ms. Jackson Lee. If I may say, first of all, with regard to this legislation, we are talking about qualified, full-time law enforcement officers. And I remember back to my academy days and throughout my years with the State police, a law enforcement officer has a great responsibilityhe or she has a great responsibility. You have the opportunity to give life, save life, and, God forbid, take life.
And the most important thing, as I testified to earlier, is this legislation does not give out sort of a badge to just go out to shoot. You know, there are many options available to a law enforcement officer besides the discharge of a firearm. It protects the law enforcement officer, the family he is with. It also protects the citizens that he is in the company of at that time, and it is not always necessary that a firearm be discharged. And more often than not the firearm is not discharged. That's what the training is all aboutwhen and when not to discharge a firearm.
And I think that by having these qualified, trained, full-time law enforcement officers who, over their years, understand the responsibility that goes with carrying and discharging of a firearm, I don't think the concerns that you have expressed here will come to pass because they understand the responsibility, as a grave responsibility.
And I think by having the training as required by this legislation, we will not have the problems with cowboys, out there because I think the officer understands the graveness of discharging that firearm and what responsibility occurs with the discharge of that firearm.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Well, I thank the chairman for his indulgence. Let me just conclude by saying it is evident that we've got a lot of untrained civilian cowboyssince coming from Texas, I can say thatand I certainly equate 650,000 well-trained men and women as a positive, and I want you to know that. I think it's important that we flush out the issues and the questions of safety, and I think it's important that we bring to bear judgment on all of these issues. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Jackson Lee.
As this panel is dismissed, I just want to clarify that it is the general view of the panel members that the primary reason that police officers today wish to cross State lines with a concealed weapon is for their own protection and the protection of their families, as opposed to the incidental but, nonetheless, potentially useful law enforcement protection of the community. Is my understanding correct?
Mr. RHINEBARGER. Yes, sir. I believe that is probably the first and primary reason for a police officer wanting to carry a gun across a State line. Because on the other side, if I'm involved in a justified shooting, number one, there are going to be police officers arriving at the scene. I'm probably going to be taken to a station or somewhere to be interviewed as to the circumstances surrounding that situation.
I, personally, want to be able to leave that station and go back to my home State. I don't want to make a bad decision on a shooting and have to stay in that State if I have my family with me and all of the things that go along with that kind of a situation when it occurs.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. In other words, you're not envisioning anything other than what we've heard earlier. Mr. Nowicki, or another witness, said that a police officer, if given permission to carry his gun across State lines, would be treated just as though he were a citizen with the permission to carry a gun.
He would have no law enforcement authority, no color of law. Consequently, he would have all of the disabilities or abilities of a private citizen under citizen arrest laws or self-defense, or whatever it might be. Is my impression correct about all of that? Everybody is shaking their heads.
Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I think that you're correct, partially. I believe a police officer does want the ability to protect himself and his family if he's traveling, but I think there's another factor involved there. I think they also want the tools on hand to intervene if they run into a situation, if they walk into an armed robbery. Most police officers I know feel that they're on duty 24-hours-a-day, and to be in a situation like that where they do not have the ability or tools to respond
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Very frustrating.
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. But, nonetheless, I am correct, Mr. Thompson, that even in that situation that police officer, while he may save a life and act more responsibly than an ordinary citizen, would still be treated by the laws of that State as though he were a private citizen. He would have no color of law enforcement authority. He'd be acting as a citizen with a gun.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. THOMPSON. Right; yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Nowicki.
Mr. NOWICKI. Mr. Chairman, almost 20 years ago I was involved in an incident when I was out of State with my family, and had I not had my firearm with me, I believe that members of my family may have died, some of my friends may have died, or I may have died, and that was of critical importance to me at that time.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All of these reasons are why I want those examplesso we can have some illustrations for the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 8 TO 28 HERE
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Has anybody else got a hole burning in his pocket? Mr. Teodorski you can answer.
Mr. TEODORSKI. No, I was just going toI agree with you, Mr. Chairman, just to echo that. I think it's a safety issue first, and the others are going to be incidental. I don't think we're looking at this legislation towe're definitely not looking for the color of law, going into other jurisdictions to enforce laws. This is more of a safety issue, and if the need were to arise in other situations, that you could respond appropriately, whatever that appropriate measure was at that time.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I want to thank the panel for coming. I know we need to move on to the second panel. Thank you very much.
Mr. NOWICKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. TEODORSKI. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I'll introduce the second panel, and as I do so you may proceed up to your indicated positions.
The second panel is made up of several other national organizations with strong interest in police-related issues. They all have some serious reservations with regard to Federal legislation authorizing interstate carrying of concealed weapons.
First, speaking on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, is County Commissioner Albert Eisenberg from Arlington, Virginia. Mr. Eisenberg has been a member of the Arlington County Board since 1993 [sic]. In 1992, he was the recipient of the region's highest public service award, the Elizabeth and David Scull Award.
Next, we have Chief Darrell Sanders, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Sanders has been the chief of the Frankfort, Illinois Police Department since 1979. He was previously a police officer with the Charleston County South Carolina Police Department where he was awarded ''Police Officer of the Year for the State of South Carolina'' by the American Legion.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Our final witness today is Chief John Farrell, legislative committee chair of the Police Executive Research Forum. He has been chief of police for the Prince George's County Police Department since 1995. He formerly served as chief of detectives for the MetroDade Police Department in South Florida.
Chief Farrell, I want to take a moment to personally thank you for your comments reported in The Washington Times last week, relating to the brutal killing of a man and a woman by a 16yearold juvenile. You are quoted as criticizing the juvenile justice system for the three problems that are the core reforms of H.R.3, the House-passed juvenile crime bill: closed records which hide long criminal histories of some juvenile criminals; inadequate consequences for lesser crimes; and, three, procedural roadblocks for prosecuting older juveniles accused of serious violent crimes as adults. Your comments, in my judgment, are right on the money and I really appreciate it.
I want to recognize right away that we may have some scheduling conflicts and one or more of you may have to leave earlier than we'd like. However, we don't have a big panel here, so I'm hopeful that we can stay and complete this. Unless there's a reason on that type of scheduling matter, I'd like to go in the order I introduced you.
Mr. Eisenberg, you're recognized.
STATEMENT OF ALBERT EISENBERG, COUNTY COMMISSIONER, ARLINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA, REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES AND THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. EISENBERG. Thank you, Chairman McCollum. I am Albert Eisenberg, a member of the Arlington Virginia County Board, a five-member governing body of this urban community of 182,000 residents, and I do speak today on behalf of the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and we do very much appreciate your including us in this hearing.
Municipal elected officials and local law enforcement personnel do share the common goal of ensuring the public's safety. However, the ultimate legal responsibility for that rests with those of us elected locally. Because this is so, we are troubled by issues raised by the bills being discussed today. These bills could have a different impact of communities than proponents believe. The laudable intent of benefitting communities by enhancing the police presence and fire power in these communities we very much understand, but they could actually increase the number of firearms injuries and further undermine the feeling of safety. My police chief opposes this legislation. The issue, again, here isn't intent, it's what the legislation says and what that leads to.
Much of the testimony you just heard talks about carrying weapons. This legislation is about concealed weapons. There is a distinction.
In general, these bills, with the apparent exception of your bill, Mr. Chairman, would preempt State and local law with respect to permitting qualified law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms across State boundaries. The definitions go on and it's noted in the legislation.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have many concerns, generally and specifically. We oppose the Federal preemption of State and local laws. In this case, concealed carry laws are historically and properly the jurisdiction of State and local governments. We believe it's inappropriate for the Federal Government to nullify laws determined necessary for the public good by those who reside within particular State and local boundaries, and in effect, force one State's or locality's laws to be accepted by others, based on some very loose Federal standards.
This type of legislation could significantly impact municipal liability. The chief law enforcement officer of a State or locality is responsible for the transfer of a firearm to a law enforcement officer. State laws and local law enforcement agencies dictate policies and procedures, and training and tactics for handling firearms, including the level and type of firearm training, the particular type of weapons the department uses to meet the circumstance most likely to confront its officers, and, of increasing importance to law enforcement agencies across the country, the use of force.
I know something about liability, and let me tell you about this. In the early 1980's, one of my police officers, under hot pursuit rules, chased two armed robbers across the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge into the District of Columbia. Shots were exchanged. Our police officer, concerned about the safety of pedestrians and others in the District, halted on our side of the overpass under theover the E-Street Expressway. The criminals kept on going and they struck a man on the corner of, I believe of 20th and E, causing the loss of that man's leg. He sued Arlington County. He collected $5 million dollars. My board had to raise taxes to pay that judgment.
Arlington has no sovereign immunity in the District of Columbia. Why did we lose the case, leaving aside the sovereign immunity issue? Because Arlington was considered to have inadequately trained its officer in its strong hot pursuit policies. I think that bears directly here. Although a concealed weapon was not the issue, the general issue applies.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Two of the bills define a ''qualified officer'' as one who meets requirements as have been established by the agency with respect to firearms. These requirements vary from State to State and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Neither bill addresses how often, if ever, would the officer need to be re-qualified, the subject of questions that you've asked.
If a firearm is improperly used, the liability falls to the city or the county. Neither bill addresses which city or county. Would it be the city that employed the officer or the one in which the incident occurred?
We've all heard tragic stories of offduty or plainclothes officers in their own jurisdictions mistakenly shooting fellow officers they thought to be an armed suspect. It's not the jurisdiction of the Federal Government to accept on behalf of a locality the level of training of a visiting officer, especially, unless the Government's willing to fund the full burden of enforcement and liability insurance.
While the intent, again, as stated by those who have put at least two of the measures in, would be to put more police on the street, and we understand the personal safety issues, as you brought out in the previous panel. Who will know who a qualified police official is on the ground, on the scene? Some person in plain clothes pulls a gun out of concealmentmy police people wouldn't know who he was, with a gun that they haven't seen before which may be a different type of firearm, holds up a badge they don't know, and we're supposed to recognize this is a police officer on the scene? This is not about weapons carrying; it's about concealed weapons.
With respect to former law enforcement officers, there do not appear to be any controls regarding issues such as training or retraining. You all have asked about that to the previous panel. The legislation actually assumes training requirements. What if there aren't any? Or if the people aren't trained very well?
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
What about the type of weapons former officers would be allowed to conceal? How often would a qualified former officer's status be renewed, and so on?
One bill would permit nonresidents to carry concealed weapons. This doesn't have anything to do with police officers. There's confusion over what standards would apply. If you come to a State or locality with a concealed carry law to one that has none, then the State or locality without a concealed carry law must bear the burden of people they don't know anything about, not subject to their laws on the matter of concealed weapons, in their community able to use weapons in a manner that their own citizens are not able to do. It could significantly increase guns on the street by nonresidents and the likelihood of accidents or worse. This is obvious.
There's a curious question here. H.R. 339 says nonresidents can carry a concealed firearm, but not a machine gun or a ''destructive device.'' What's that? We don't have any idea what that is, unless it's a term of art in Federal law someplace. Current and former qualified law enforcement officers would be restricted to carrying concealed handguns. We have no idea what that's about.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, we believe that this legislation carries the movie ''Beverly Hills Cops'' to an extreme. We don't want people we don't know operating under rules, regulations, training protocols, command controls of other States and localities, that we don't have any notion of. We think this legislation is a set of problems in search of a solution. If the committee wants more police on the street, please provide them to us. We can use them. We'll take them. Congress has repeatedly talked about how State and local governments are closest to the people and should have as much control as possible over laws of this type. Please resist the temptation to violate your own good notions. Thank you.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[The prepared statement of Mr. Eisenberg follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ALBERT EISENBERG, COUNTY COMMISSIONER, ARLINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA, REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES AND THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS
Chairman McCollum, Members of the Subcommittee. I am Albert Eisenberg, a County Commissioner from Arlington, County, Virginia. I appear before you today on behalf of the National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors. Combined, our organizations represent more than 135,000 municipal elected officials and 49 state municipal leagues. I appreciate this opportunity to share with you the perspective of the nation's municipal elected leaders regarding legislation that would ease restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons among the States.
Municipal elected officials and local law enforcement share the common goal of ensuring the publics' safety. However, the ultimate legal responsibility for doing so rests with those elected locally. Because this is so, my comments will focus briefly on a number of troubling issues raised by the bills being discussed today that could have the opposite impact than is hoped for by the proponents of these bills. I believe it is important to examine the possibility that such bills could have a different impact on communities than proponents believe. That rather than benefiting communities by enhancing the police presence and fire power in our communities, such legislation could actually increase the number of firearms injuries and further undermine the feeling of safety. To municipal elected officials, our first and foremost consideration is the safety and well-being of those who live in our communities.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In general these bills, with the apparent exception of Chairman McCollum's draft, would preempt state and local law with respect to permitting ''qualified'' law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms across state boundaries. The definition of law enforcement officer includes police officers, probation officers, corrections officers, and judicial personnel. To be ''qualified,'' current and former officers must comply with a number of protocols that address identification, training, and other issues.
Of particular concern are provisions that would preempt state and local firearms laws and increase municipal liability. Rather than address these issues separately by bill, I will provide comment overall. NLC and USCM do not have policy on the specific issues and provisions, except we oppose the federal preemption of state and local laws. In this case, concealed carry laws are historically and properly the jurisdiction of state and local governments. It is inappropriate for the federal government to nullify laws determined necessary for the public good by those who reside within particular state and local boundaries.
This is particularly critical with regard to both our responsibilities and liabilities relating to schools and recreational facilities for children.
This type of legislation could significantly impact municipal liability. The chief law enforcement officer of a state or locality is responsible for the transfer of a firearm to a law enforcement officer. State laws and local law enforcement agencies dictate polices and procedures, and training and tactics for handling firearms, including the level and type of firearm training, the particular type of weapons the department uses to meet the circumstances most likely to confront its officers, and, of increasing importance to law enforcement agencies across the country, the use of force.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Two of the bills define a ''qualified officer'' as one who ''meets requirements as have been established by the agency with respect to firearms.'' Such requirements vary from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Moreover, neither bill addresses how often, if ever, would the officer need to be re-qualified? If a firearm is improperly used, the liability falls to the city. However, neither bill addresses which city? Would it be the city that employed the officer or the one in which an incident occurred. We have all heard the tragic stories of off-duty or plainclothes officers in their own jurisdictions mistakenly shooting fellow officers they thought to be an armed suspect It is not the jurisdiction of the federal government to accept on behalf of a locality the level of training of a visiting officer - especially unless the federal government is willing to fund the full burden of enforcement and liability insurance.
With respect to former law enforcement officers, there do not appear to be any controls regarding issues such as retraining, or what type weapon former officers would be allowed to carry. How often would a ''qualified'' former officers status be renewed? Where would the liability rest in cases in which retired officers live in two different states?
One bill would permit, in addition to law enforcement officers, ''nonresidents'' to carry concealed weapons. This is particularly troublesome because this could significantly increase the number of firearms on our city streets, but also increase the likelihood of firearm accidents. Non-law enforcement personnel are not trained in enforcement, but, by being included in this type of legislation, it gives that appearance. An important question is why, in HR 339, ''nonresidents'' would be permitted to carry a concealed ''firearm''though not a machine-gun or ''destructive device'' but current and former ''qualified'' law enforcement officers' would be restricted to carrying concealed handguns.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Making the decision to permit current or retired police officers to carry firearms across state and jurisdictional boundaries would increase the number of firearms on the streets and, likely, the instances in which officers might unwittingly shoot each other. While part of the theory is to increase trained police presence on our nation's streets, who will know who is a police officer and who is not? The issue of the extent to which people in any community want additional weapons, especially concealed weapons, brought in by outsiders to the community is a fundamentally local decision. It is that way under the constitution. It is that way historically.
There is no more basic responsibility or fundamental and historic state and local responsibility than public safety. It has been and is reserved to our constituents to determine. We know that what the citizens decide in one community could be different from another. That is a basic right which is fundamental to our system of government.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Eisenberg.
Chief Sanders, you're recognized.
STATEMENT OF DARRELL L. SANDERS, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE
Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And if I wouldor, if I could, I'd like to ask you if I could submit the written statement and have the flexibility to make some additional comments instead of reading it to you?
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Oh, absolutely. And that's true of all the statements. They'll all be submitted into the record, without objection, and you certainly may summarize for all of us.
Mr. SANDERS. Thank you very much. This is actually a very difficult situation for me because as a police officer, I, personally, do not have a problem with police officers carrying guns. But the proposed legislation is fraught with so many difficulties that it's unimaginable to me as a police chief or as a manager of police persons. When you begin with just the thought of the States' rights issues, and the fact of the managerial prerogative and the fact that we should have thethat I should have the say of what my employees are involved in, then you get to the liability issue.
In Chicago recentlyI think it was last yearthere was a settlement that occurred as a result of a child of a police officer who got his duty weapon, discharged it, and someone was injured. And they sued the city because of the fact that the police officer was not properly trained in safety standards as it applied to that weapon. I can't imagine that we could empower our police officers to go to other States and to be able to use their weapons and us not be liable as the hiring agency, so to speak.
Officer safetyI mean, it's just unimaginable to me. The task force that we have operating in the Chicago land area, for instance, the Chicago Police hat band came as a need for their officersbecause they've got 12,000 officers just in the city of Chicagofor them to be able to identify themselves when they're on these operations. In the heat of battle, when things are going on, I can't imagine being in a situation where there's people that we have no idea who they are that are carrying guns. I certainly wouldn't want them in my small community in Frankfort, and though the Representative, it may have been a little tongueincheek earlier when he was talking about McCloud, but there certainly is that possibility and those capabilities or those things occurring.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The standards in Illinois and when we utilize force or how we interact are totally different than what happens in Oklahoma or what happens in South Carolina, as rightfully they should be. And that's not to suggest that one is more right than the other. I'm just telling you that, in my opinion, they're very, very different. So it would concern me deeply to know that people were coming into my jurisdiction from other jurisdictions carrying guns.
When you think about, and I'm really distressed, as I heard my colleagues testify earlier that the main purpose of this legislation is to allow police officers to carry guns so that we can protect ourselves and our family, I cannot think of a citizen in the State of Illinois that would not like to be able to do the same thing. They may not be properly trained like we are. They may not have the experience, but they certainly have the desire to be able to defend their families. So I'm deeply concerned about that.
I would think that you would really want police officers on the street, so, therefore, you would have armed police officers that could intercede when they saw a crime occurring. That brings to question what happens if I am involved. Who pays for me to come back to court? Who pays for me to testify against this criminal if, in fact, I'm successful in an apprehension and there's no physical harm that occurs?
I'm reminded of when I was a young police officer and I had my wife and my small children with me and I was in a grocery store. Thank God, I did not have my weapon with me and an armed robbery went down. I say, ''Thank God'', because I'm telling you, as a police officer, if I would have had my weapon, I would have felt obligated to intervene in that armed robbery, subjecting my family to unnecessary danger. As it was, I was a helpless victim, like everyone else and had to allow the crime to occur, and hopefully I was a very good witness, made the mental notes that I needed so that I could ensure that we apprehended the individuals. But I hate to think what would have happened if I had had my weapon, because I believe that I would have felt obligated to get involved.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I think if you suggest to police officers that they carry their weapons, they're going to have a propensity to become involved. It's like anything else that's going on; if you feel that you have the ability to intercede, then you feel obligated. We train our police officers with the weapons, that's true. But when my police officers function, they havenot only do they have their fellow officers to back them up, they have communication capabilities. They know the environment they're in. They know, you know, those kinds of things.
This legislation suggests that it would allow me to go into an atmosphere that I wouldn't have any idea of what's going on, and if I decided to intercede because I felt obligated to try to protect someone, I wouldn't even have my own protection. Our officers are required to wear bulletproof vests, I mean, when they're functioning. Those kinds ofall those things would be null and void. So I have great concerns when it comes to that.
You get to the actual definition of police officerfor instance, in Illinois a peace officer is definedthis legislation that I've reviewed suggests that employees of governmental agencies. Well, in Illinois, private universities and railroad police are certified police officers in the State of Illinois. This would not allow themand I would suggest that if this committee is intent on passing that legislation, that I would ask you to review that definition and suggest that it should be whatever the State that's there, I mean, that qualifies you to be a police officer.
As for retired police officers, who's going to pay to train them? And as you've already alluded to, who keeps the records? Whose responsibility is it to make sure that this occurred and that occurred? Because I suggest to you that if it's a retired police officer of mine, he gets involved in a situation, we're going to spend money to defend ourselves. We very well may be successful in that defense. We may be able to shield ourselves and say, ''This did not occur.'' But we're going to spend the time and money to try to defend that. That's something that's unacceptable to law enforcement executives at the International Association of Chiefs of Police. So that I would say that if you're going to do the legislation, please make it so that it's active duty police personnel.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I honestly believe that we should not have preferential treatment, any more preferential treatment than our citizens. And if my citizens cannot arm themselves for the purpose of defending themselves when they go to Alabama, then I wonder why my police officers should. If it's for the purpose of acting as police officers, then I think the legislation must be specific about what we're expected to do. There has to be some consideration given to how we're going to ensure to people, how we're going to pay for the court appearances and do those kinds of things.
So for all those reasons, in addition to those that are stated in the written text, I would urge you to reconsider the legislation and say that the International Association of Chiefs of Police are on record as opposing it as it exists now. And I thank you for your time, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sanders follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DARRELL L. SANDERS, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE
Good afternoon Chairman McCollum, members of the Committee, and fellow witnesses before this distinguished body. I am Darrell L. Sanders, Chief of Police in Frankfort, Illinois, and President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The IACP is comprised of over 16,000 chief law enforcement officers and command level staff of local, state, tribal, federal and specialty policing agencies in all 50 states, as well as 94 countries. Last year in the 104th Congress, I had the opportunity to submit testimony for this subcommittee on legislation very similar to what is before you today. Unfortunately, I was not able to personally testify at that time, and had to rely on staff representation to convey the Association's position. Fortunately, unlike last year, I come before this committee with not just a projection of the IACP membership's views, perspectives and position, but with firm resolutions opposing federal legislation which would preempt and/or attempt to supersede state law regarding the carrying of concealed weapons (CCW) by private citizens as well as off-duty or retired police officers. The IACP has generally opposed preemption of local law enforcement's discretion in issuing CCW permits, even at the state level..
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
There are several reasons why the IACP opposes federal preemption of state CCW laws as it applies to non-federal law enforcement officers. I would like to spend a few moments summarizing each of these concerns.
First, no comprehensive studies have been provided to this committee or to this Congress to warrant such federalization. The IACP believes that it is incumbent upon those that come before Congress proposing legislation which undermines state and local sovereignty to bear the burden of proof, if you will. In other words, proponents of H.R. 218 and H.R. 339 must prove that federal preemption is necessary to secure the public's interest. That does not mean that a few anecdotes should be shared, but clear, convincing, comprehensive evidence. Once the facts and statisticsnot anecdotesare presented, then debate can begin as to whether or not these bills' virtues outweigh their potential and real adverse effects.
So beyond the basic issue of constitutional separation of powers, there are also concerns regarding: (1) liability attached to police agencies and municipalities for the actions taken by its officers, (2) consideration of the vast differences in states' certification, training and authority of sworn peace officers, and (3) costs associated with heightened training which will be required if these proposals are enacted into law.
The issue of liability is one that should not be underestimated. As previous testimony from last year alluded to, there are currently cases in several jurisdictions that have held municipalities liable for the actions of an off-duty officer with or without a service weapon. Furthermore, municipalities have been held liable for the actions of non-employees who illegally gain possession of an officer's agency-issued gunsuch as a child, spouse, family member or friendand injure themselves or another. Such litigation costs units of state and local government precious human and fiscal resources, regardless of whether the plaintiff ultimately prevails or not.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Second, sworn ''peace officer'' means different things in different states. For instance, while both bills provide preemption for qualified officers as defined as employees of public agencies, both private university and railroad police may be sworn ''peace officers'' certified by the state with full arrest powers, but are not employed by a government entity, so could not be included for such preemption. The IACP has pushed to see this inequity corrected as it pertains to many existing federal gun laws, and in qualifying for federal training and assistance programs (such as the FBI's National Academy and COPS funding).
Additionally, as the IACP has raised concerns over the issue of law enforcement officers' backgrounds in hiring decisions, individual states have different requirements for gaining and maintaining certification as a police officer. So a logical conclusion is that each state has its own tactical training and skills proficiencies/testing. While H.R. 339 highlights the creation of a national standard for carrying concealed, it does not provide such a standard, nor should it. Each state's need in defining a police officer's role in the community must adapt to the requirements of that locality. Still, the variety in techniques, tactical strategy, protocol, and procedure does present a problem for out-of-state officers at a crime scene. While there have been numerous incidents in which an off-duty or plain clothes officer has come under fire from uniformed officers responding to a call or coming upon a crime scene within the same state and/or jurisdiction, there may be an additional probability of an unfortunate outcome where there is little crossover training with out-of-state police officers.
That brings us to the issue of these proposals resulting in the need for heightened levels of departmental training to deal with the new prospect of off-duty and out-of-state officers being at a crime scene or call for response. This requires preparation of officers for an additional component. This concern has also been raised with respect to individual states liberalizing their issuance of CCW permits to private citizens. At a time when more and more departments are changing from old policies that might have required police officers to carry off-duty, to either allowing officers the option to carry, or restricting off-duty officers from carrying at all, these proposals seem out of touch with the trends in modern policing.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
That brings up another concern dealing with the issue of officers carrying off-duty as a negotiation item within the collective bargaining process. If there is a federal preemption, a municipality and/or state may lose the authority to minimize its own vulnerability to liability, or it may be tempted to ignore its better judgment, when faced with the pressures of collective bargaining agreements.
Finally, the political priority is clear. These proposals are the result of years of unsuccessful lobbying at the state and local levels by those that would like to liberalize CCW laws for private citizens as well as police. Representative Stearn's legislation connects this two-part strategy to first gain a police exemption and then extend the preemption for private citizens with state CCW permits. We must not allow this ''slippery slope'' approach to succeed. If the federal government is determined to preempt state and local authority in this area, then let it restrict itself to language similar to Senator Hatch's proposal, S.3, and only to that section which allows states to enter into compacts regarding reciprocity in the regulation of possession of concealed guns. The IACP believes that states already have that authority, but it would reinforce their position. Alternatively, if you are determined to move forward, then look to Chairman McCollum's ''discussion draft'' which only exempts qualified active duty law enforcement officers, and allows agencies to continue policies which do not allow for carrying weapons off-duty and/or out of jurisdiction. IACP could support this draft with the following modifications: (1) redefine qualified law enforcement officer to define them not by their employer, but by state statute giving them sworn arrest powers and requiring certain certification; (2) allow individual businesses to post prohibitions on their property; and (3) require a department letter as verification that they allow carrying concealed by off-duty officers out-of-state.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
On behalf of the IACP, I thank you for this opportunity to provide input on the committee's work. I'll be happy to try and respond to any questions you might have.
Opposition to Federal Pre-Emption of Individual States
Carrying of Concealed Weapons (CCW) Laws for Private Citizens
Submitted by: Firearms Committee
WHEREAS, forty-two (42) states currently have laws allowing private citizens to carry concealed weapons for protection or employment, if the individual is not proven to be either a convicted felon or mentally incompetent and meets certain training requirements, and one (1) state allows any citizen to carry concealed weapons; and
WHEREAS, seven (7) states presently prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons by all private citizens; and
WHEREAS, there is an effort to liberalize states' CCW laws by enacting federal legislation, which would pre-empt current state CCW laws, with the argument that citizens wish to carry guns for self- protection, further arguing that the arming of private citizens will result in dramatically lowering the national crime rate by deterring criminals from victimizing these law-abiding citizens; and
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
WHEREAS, a majority of law enforcement professionals and an overwhelming majority of Americans do not support this theory; and
WHEREAS, individual states differ greatly in their CCW permit eligibility requirements, such as gun training, gun proficiency, citizenship/residency status, background investigations, and other related matters; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), duly assembled at its 103rd annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, opposes any federal legislative proposal(s) which would either pre-empt and/or mandate the liberalization of individual states' CCW laws pertaining to the carrying of concealed weapons in other states without meeting that state's requirements; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the IACP convey its position of opposition to any such federal pre-emption of state laws with regard to the issuance of CCW permits and/or licenses to private citizens, to all members of Congress, and to federal and state officials.
Opposition to Federal Pre-Emption of Individual States
Carrying of Concealed Weapons (CCW) Laws as They Apply to
Active, Former, and/or Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Personnel
Submitted by: Firearms Committee
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
WHEREAS, the majority of the states currently have laws regulating the carrying of concealed weapons by private citizens and law enforcement officials within their state; and
WHEREAS, active-duty police officers are specifically and extensively trained and retrained to efficiently and effectively utilize firearms in the commission of their duties to serve and protect the citizens and their communities; and
WHEREAS, all duly sworn law enforcement personnel should be permitted to carry concealed weapons in interstate commerce, pursuant to and consistent with their official and professional on-duty capacity established by law; and
WHEREAS, there is an effort to liberalize states' CCW laws for law enforcement officials by enacting federal legislation, which would pre-empt current state CCW laws for private citizens and law enforcement officials; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), duly assembled at its 103rd annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, opposes any federal legislation which would either pre-empt or mandate liberalization of individual states' CCW laws pertaining to interstate carrying of concealed weapons by police officers while not serving in an official capacity; and, therefore, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the IACP convey its position of opposition of any such federal pre-emption of states' laws with regard to the issuance of CCW permits and/or licenses to law enforcement officials, particularly former and retired officers, to all members of Congress and federal and state officials.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF CHIEF JOHN S. FARRELL, LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR, POLICE EXECUTIVE RESEARCH FORUM
Mr. FARRELL. Mr. Chairman, Ms. Jackson, I'm appearing here today on behalf of the Police Executive Research Forum and I thank you for inviting me to appear on behalf of the Forum, and I'd like to share some of the concerns that members have with the proposed legislation that would permit current and former qualified law enforcement officials to carry concealed weapons outside their jurisdiction.
First, I commend, and the Association commends, the committee for recognizing the need for discussion of these issues. PERF members' agencies serve over 40 percent of the Nation's population. They routinely see the need to provide better protection for their citizens and the officers that serve those citizens. PERF vigorously supports and conducts research on crime prevention and intervention strategies, trying to find innovative solutions to longterm problems that plague our communities. We have studied House Resolution 218 and believe that, as currently drafted, expanding the ability of current and former police officers to carry concealed weapons may, in some cases, exacerbate the problem of officer safety and citizen protection, without the commensurate advantages of having more armed officers on the street.
This is not to say that the sponsors of the legislation do not have laudable goals. Certainly, police cannot be everywhere. PERF members agree that we would like to increase police presence in the community, especially without additional cost to the taxpayers. We also want citizens to feel safer and minimize their chances for being victims of crime. Our members tell us, however, that national legislative proposals may not always be the best remedies for our crime problems.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In July 1996, PERF surveyed 375 chiefs of police, members of our association, on the pending concealed weapon carrying law for police officers. Seventy percent of the responding members opposed such legislation for police officers. PERF members have long held that the role of the Federal Government in controlling State and local crime problems must be carefully defined. Certainly, local police appreciate the substantial Federal resources that this committee has made available for supporting additional officer hiring, equipment, and other necessary support for police. There are also times that a national strategy may be needed because lax gun laws in one State may be undermining the efforts of other States. However, expanding the authority of police to carry concealed weapons out of State does not seem to dictate such a response.
We believe this issue is best left to the States. Each State should have the power to determine whether they want police officers who are trained and supervised by agencies outside their State to carry weapons in their jurisdictions. According to the Southern States' Police Benevolent Association, more than twenty States now forbid officers from other States to carry concealed weapons when not on official duty. There is good reason for this. More guns, even in the hands of police officers, may not necessarily mean less crime.
I would ask, is there a compelling reason at this time to federalize a policy that has been traditionally handled adequately on the State level? To date, States have decided or have deferred to individual departments to set the policy concerning off duty police officers carrying concealed weapons.
Another major concern of PERF members surveyed focused on variations among States regarding police use of force. The Nation's attention on police use of force underlines the priority police and citizens' place on strict standards regarding when deadly force is justified and for accountability when it is employed. Authority for police to carry firearms when not on duty and policies of such use of force and firearms training standards varies widely in some cases among agencies from State to State.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
There are minimum standards regarding the use of deadly force. But many police agencies, such as my own, go well beyond those minimum standards. For example, although Tennessee v. Garner sets minimum deadly force standards, many police agencies exceed those standards either through the accreditation process or on their own initiative.
We believe that what makes good public safety sense for local police officers should be the same for visiting officers. Police chiefs may well find themselves in the position of learning that an out-of-state officer acted in ways prohibited by his or her own officers. The controls that progressive police leaders employ to ensure fair and humane service to all citizens may well be diminished.
Many PERF members' concerns center on the inclusion of former qualified police officers in House Resolution 218. There is reason to believe that the skills of retired or former police officers, as has been previously mentioned by the first panel members, lessen once regular training and oversight is stopped. While H.R. 218 requires that the individual must ''meet such requirements as have been established by the State in which the individual resides with respect to training in the use of firearms,'' we are unsure of how this would be implemented.
Some of the questions that have been raised by our members include, who will be responsible and accountable for ensuring that former officers receive regular training and who will certify successful completion? Who will pay for this additional training responsibility? Even a police officer who had exceptional firearm skills when he or she retired, may today, for example, be stricken with an illnesses or other problem that makes him or her unfit to carry a concealed weapon. Who will ensure that oversight will be provided?
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Retirement does not necessarily result in a loss of officer skill or capacity, but we can't ignore that potential, nor the possibility that an officer has retired under the threat of disciplinary action or dismissal for emotional or psychological problems. This is something that you hear increasing reported across the country, especially with the different postcertification processes in the States. And the bill does not account for officers who retire or quit just prior to a disciplinary or competency hearing, and this, I would submit, is a very serious issue that is currently being debated nationwide.
On liability, while the bill does not specifically address the issue of liability, it does not appear to supersede current State laws or departmental policies. We remain concerned, however, that a police agency may be held responsible for an off-duty officer who misuses his or her weapon in another State. Although the off-duty officer would not technically be exercising his or her legal authority as a police officer in another State, the agency could presumably become a target for a civil lawsuit, given the financial resources available to a municipal government and the police agency's authority to give an individual the status of police officer, which qualifies the officers to benefit from the legislation.
Under the proposed legislation, the officer or former officer would be required to carry a card issued by the employing police agencyand I would say that you will hear the argument that that may constitute ''under color of law,'' despite some of the earlier discussion to the contrary on that issue.
This issue goes beyond mere liability. It's also the expense associated with proving no liability. For example, if a Maryland officer travels to California on vacation and shoots a citizen, the citizen could conceivably sue in a California court, which may require the Maryland agency to spend considerable funds to defend the case. Those resources might be better spent serving our community.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As police chief executives, we're deeply concerned for the safety of our officers. The proposed legislation has been deemed by some as a means for police officers to protect themselves and their families while traveling, as was just mentioned by our distinguished IACP colleague. Another reason we hear is that undercover officers and others are concerned with being recognized and retaliated against. And we also know that if police officers see a crime in progress, they'll probably try to intervene, especially if they're armed.
These are all compelling considerations and are not to be taken lightly. We believe, however, that we must balance these benefits against some of the potential dangers before reaching final judgment on the legislation's potential impact on officer safety. For example, many police agencies discourage off-duty actions unless a life-threatening situation is involved. And this is not done solely for liability reasons. Problems in identifying an officer in plain clothes can create additional dangers when uniformed officers reach a scene. A particular agency's means for identifying an officer in plain clothes as an officer, or even officer recognition, is further complicated by an individual in civilian attire claiming to be an officer.
We fear this measure may increase the potential for officers mistakenly confronting armed officers from another State with potentially tragic results. And I might add that personallyand this is my thirtieth year in the business30 years ago while working as a police officer in Washington, D.C. in the 11th precinct down in Anacostia, we had a situation where there was a group of our own officers from a special enforcement division that were in plain clothes out in the community that were confronted by uniformed officers, with the tragic results of two police officers killed in the line of duty. And the same situation occurred down in Florida, and that's despite all the controls that we normally exercise on duty.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Addition, there are discussions concerning ''deconfliction'' within Federal law enforcement and HIDTA operations. Essentially, there are numerous narcotics enforcement efforts within Prince George's County, Maryland and the District of Columbia involving armed police officers. This is an issue that we must take very seriously, even with the protections that are in place.
PERF members additionally raised the concern that additional information is needed on the level of training and education that probation, parole, and corrections personnel receive on criminal law investigations and the use of deadly force, as compared with law enforcement before expanding the reach of legislation to include them.
Concluding my remarks on behalf of PERF, our members are dedicated to advancing policing practices that will make our communities safer. We hope that the concerns we've outlined will help advance the discussion of laws that would permit police and citizens greater ability to carry concealed weapons in other States. PERF members know that police officers are caring and conscientious professionals. Our foremost concern is for their safety and that of the citizens they protect, and we certainly, lastly, look forward to working with members of this committee to make our cities safer places in which to live. And I thank you very much for the opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Farrell follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN S. FARRELL, LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR, POLICE EXECUTIVE RESEARCH FORUM
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Thank you for inviting me to appear before this committee to discuss the concerns Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) members have with proposed legislation that would permit citizens to carry concealed weapons nationally, and current and former qualified law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons outside their own jurisdiction. I commend the committee for recognizing the need for discussion on these issues. As police professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life in our communities, PERF members recognize that many citizens don't feel safe. They are often prisoners in their own homes because crime and fear of crime have crippled their ability to feel safe in their own neighborhoods. PERF members serve over 40 percent of the nation's population; they routinely see the need to provide better protection for their officers and the citizens they are sworn to protect. PERF vigorously supports and conducts research on crime prevention and intervention strategies, trying to find innovative solutions to long-term problems that plague our communities. We have studied H.R. 218 and believe that, as currently drafted, expanding the ability of current and former police officers to carry concealed weapons may exacerbate the problem of officer safety and citizen protection, without the commensurate advantages of having more armed officers on the streets. This is not to say that the sponsors of the legislation do not have laudable goals. Certainly, police cannot be everywhere. PERF members agree that we would like to increase police presence in communities, especially without additional costs to the taxpayers. We also want citizens to feel safer, and minimize their chances for being victims of crime. Our members tell us, however, that these national legislative proposals may not be the best remedy for our crime problems. The issues are many, and some of them complex. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the concerns raised by PERF chiefs. In July 1996, PERF surveyed 375 member police professionals on pending concealed weapon carrying laws for police officers and citizens. Seventy percent of the responding members opposed such legislation for police officers. Ninety-two percent of survey respondents opposed legislation that would allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, particularly when those laws would take discretion for granting concealed weapon permits away from law enforcement officials. I would like to share with the committee PERF's position on citizens' carrying of concealed weapons, and then focus the rest of my testimony on the police carrying of concealed weapons.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Citizen Carrying of Concealed Weapons
The reasons why more than 90 percent of responding PERF members indicated their opposition to citizen CCW laws focus primarily on officer safety and the lack of definitive evidence that such measures will reduce gun-related crimes. We also believe that this is an issue best handled by individual states, rather than by federal legislation. A 1995 study conducted by University of Maryland researchers David McDowall, Colin Loftin and Brian Wiersema indicated that in four out of five municipalities examined, there was an increase in the number of firearm-related homicides after carrying concealed weapon (CCW) laws were relaxed. At the time this study was released PERF President and Buffalo Police Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske stated, ''Given the findings in this study, I am concerned that we may see an increase in violent crime without any benefit in personal safety.'' Kerlikowske added, ''Having been a police chief in several jurisdictions, some of which have weakened their CCW laws, I am troubled that so many states are considering relaxing their laws. With more and more citizens carrying concealed weapons, there is heightened concern that conflicts among citizens, and those between citizens and police, will increasingly be resolved with a gun. There must be more research on the impact of these CCW laws.''
As a research organization, PERF is constantly reviewing and integrating new research findings as it forms policies and directs change in the law enforcement field. After reviewing the criticisms and discussions of the recent research done by John Lott, Jr. and David Mustard-research that finds ''shall issue'' laws allowing easier citizen access to concealed weapon permits have been responsible for significant reductions in violent crime-PERF sees no immediate need to revise its position in opposition to relaxed CCW laws. PERF's position is based on criticisms of the Lott and Mustard research methodology-criticisms from academicians outside of PERF as well as our own research director. PERF encourages further debate on CCW laws and supports additional research. But until more careful research has been conducted, PERF continues to advise legislators to oppose any CCW legislation for citizens as a public safety matter. Many of the issues that follow apply to both citizen and police carrying of concealed weapons. I will proceed by sharing with you PERF members' comments from the survey.States' Rights
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC PERF members have long held that the role of the federal government in controlling state and local crime problems must be carefully defined. Certainly local police appreciate the substantial federal resources this committee has made available for supporting additional officer hiring, equipment and other necessary support for police. There are also times, as with the 1968 gun control law, that a national strategy is needed because lax gun laws in one state were undermining the efforts of other states. Expanding citizens' and police carrying of concealed weapons does not dictate such a response. We believe this issue is best left to the states. For example, each state should have the power to determine whether they want police officers who are trained and supervised by agencies outside their state to carry weapons in their jurisdiction. According to the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, more than 20 states now forbid officers from other states to carry concealed weapons when not on official duty. There is good reason for this, as detailed in the following discussion. More guns, even in the hands of police officers, does not necessarily mean less crime. We see no reason to federalize a policy that has been traditionally handled adequately on the state level. To date, states have decided or have deferred to individual departments to set the policy on off-duty police officers' carrying concealed weapons.Variation Among the States
Another major concern of the PERF members surveyed focused on variations among states regarding police use of force. The nation's attention on police use of force underlies the priority police and citizens place on strict standards regarding when deadly force is justified and for accountability when it is employed. We are concerned that proposed legislation could undermine both standards and accountability. Authority for police to carry firearms when not on duty, and policies on use of force and firearms training standards, vary among agencies from state to state. Why should a police chief who has employed the most rigorous training program, the strictest policies and strident accountability measures be forced to permit officers who do not meet those standards to carry a concealed weapon in his or her jurisdiction? A police chief will be held accountable to citizens and elected officials for police actions in that city, even when those actions are by police from another jurisdiction over which the chief has no control. There are minimum standards regarding use of deadly force, but many police agencies go well beyond those minimum standards. For example, though Tennessee v. Garner sets minimum deadly force standards, many police agencies exceed those standards either through the accreditation process or on their own initiative. What makes good public safety sense for my officers should be the same for visiting officers. Police chiefs may well find themselves in the position of learning that an out-of-state officer acted in ways prohibited by his or her own officers. The controls that progressive police leaders employ to ensure fair and humane service to all citizens could well be compromised.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Former Qualified Police Officers
Many of PERF members' concerns center on the inclusion of former qualified police officers in H.R. 218. There is reason to believe that their skills may diminish once regular training and oversight is stopped. While H.R. 218 requires that the individual must ''meet such requirements as have been established by the State in which the individual resides with respect to training in the use of firearms,'' we are unsure of how this would be implemented. Who will be responsible for ensuring that former officers receive regular training and certification of successful completion? Who will pay for this additional training responsibility? Who will provide the accountability required of current law enforcement officers? Even a police officer who retires with exceptional skills today may be stricken with an illness or other problem that makes him or her unfit to carry a concealed weapon. Who will ensure that repeat training andoversight will be provided? Retirement does not necessarily result in a loss of officer skill or capacity, but we cannot ignore that potential, nor the possibility that an officer has retired under threat of disciplinary action or dismissal for emotional or psychological problems. The bill does not account for officers who retire or quit just prior to a disciplinary or competency hearing.Liability
While the bill does not specifically address the issue of liability, it does not appear to supersede current state laws or departmental policies. We remain concerned, however, that a police agency may be held responsible for an off-duty officer who misuses his or her weapon in another state. Although the off-duty officer would not technically be exercising his or her legal authority as a ''police officer'' in another state, the agency could presumably become a target for a civil lawsuit, given the financial resources available to municipal governments and the police agency's authority to give an individual the status of ''police officer,'' which qualifies the officer to benefit from the legislation. Under the proposed legislation, the officer or former officer would even be carrying a card from the employing police agency. The issue goes beyond merely liability; it is also the expense associated with proving no liability. For example, if a Maryland officer travels to California on vacation and shoots a citizen, the citizen could conceivably sue in a California court, which may require the Maryland agency to spend considerable funds to defend the case-even if the agency is determined not to be liable. Those resources would be better spent serving our community. We wonder if an officer would also have to expend critical personal resources if his or her agency decides that officer was not acting within their scope of employment at the time of the shooting. There are many issues that we believe must be addressed regarding officer and agency liability.Police Officer Safety
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As police chief executives we are deeply concerned for the safety of our officers. The proposed legislation has been deemed by some as a means for police officers to protect themselves and their families while traveling. Undercover officers and others are concerned with being recognized or retaliated against when on vacation or travel. They also know that if they see a crime in progress, they will try to intervene, gun or no gun. These are all compelling considerations and are not to be taken lightly. We believe, however, that we must balance these benefits against some of the potential dangers before reaching final judgment on the legislation's potential impact on officer safety.
For example, many police agencies discourage off-duty actions unless a life-threatening situation is involved, and this is not done solely for liability reasons. Problems in identifying an officer in plainclothes can create additional dangers when uniformed officers reach a scene. A particular agency's means for identifying an officer in plainclothes as an officer, or even officer recognition, is further complicated by an individual in civilian attire claiming to be an officer. We fear this measure would increase the potential for officers mistakenly confronting armed officers from another state, with potentially tragic results. The off-duty officer is also not regularly equipped with handcuffs or a radio and may not have an alternate less-than-lethal weapon, such as spray, to employ before using his or her gun. We believe further research is warranted on the use of weapons by off-duty officers before expanding their use to a national level.Probation, Parole and Corrections Personnel
We believe additional information is needed on the level of training and education that probation, parole and corrections personnel receive on criminal law, investigations and use of deadly force as compared with law enforcement before expanding the reach of the legislation to include them.Conclusion
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
PERF members are dedicated to advancing policing practices that will make our communities safer. We hope that the concerns we have outlined above will help advance the discussion on laws that would permit police greater ability to carry concealed weapons in other states. PERF members know that police officers are caring and conscientious professionals. Our foremost concern is for their safety and that of the citizens they protect. We look forward to working with members of this committee to make our cities safer places to live.
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 29 TO 32 HERE
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you for being here. I'm going to recognize myself for 5 minutes.
Chief Sanders, Chief Farrellwhile recognizing a couple of differencesagrees with you, as the whole panel does, in opposing this legislation, but one of the things I heard him sayand he can correct me if I'm wrongis that he does recognize that police officers who are off-duty on vacation could be more vulnerable than the average citizen to somebody coming after them personally and their families simply because they may have been engaged with somebody who's a bad guy. Do you agree, even though you may not agree with the bill, that that is indeed truethat they're more vulnerable than the average guy? And that that in some ways at least justifies their argument?
Mr. SANDERS. It's a very difficult question to respond to, Mr. Chairman, in that the experiences of the police officersI mean, when you look at the numbers, and I think it's like 85 percent of all police departments are 25-men size and smallerwhen you look at the number of violent felons and those kinds of things and where they're arrested from, I would say that certainly it's possible. The mathematical probability would be the difficult part to answer. There's certainly that possibility, there's that potential, but I mean there's always that. I mean, the number of police officers, I thinkI want to say, like last year there was like 50 officers that were killedthat were killed in the line of duty that never even had an opportunity to return fire. I mean, those potential dangers are always there; I just don't think that the level, the weight of it would
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Would justify the bill? Well, I understand that. I just was trying to make the point that because law enforcement officers have a greater likelihood of people retaliating against them, a police officer in another State who's off-duty at the moment has a higher degree of risk for himself and his family than the average citizen. Plain common sense tells me that.
Mr. Eisenberg, do you know if Virginia, or any of the other States that you follow, allow citizen arrests?
Mr. EISENBERG. That's a good question. I assume a citizen can always try to take somebody into custody if they're willing to bear everything that goes along with it. I really wouldn't have any specific knowledge of the laws governing that in the State of Virginia.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. But it used to be that States, generally speaking, recognized in law the right of a citizen to arrest a criminal, albeit, if you don't succeed or if you violate someone's rights, you have no color of law to do this. You have technical authority and, consequently, you bear the legal responsibility for lawsuits. However, you've not necessarily committed a criminal act if you were engaged in such a situation. It's usually not a criminal matter.
Mr. EISENBERG. I do not believe thatI believe you are correct in that statement. I do remember general discussions with our police officials who generally say that if you've observed any kind of criminal behavior as an untrained citizen, as a lay person, you are much better off involving those who are trained to take the appropriate action than to get involved yourself and perhaps become another statistic.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I recognize that as a general rule of advice, but, nonetheless, my point was to bring out the fact that what the police officers have saidand you heard them in the previous panelwho advocate this law, is that they would view themselves in any other State just like a citizen. So they have no protections; they have no color of lawthough Chief Farrell mentioned the possibility of protections on the liability side.
But in terms of their perception and aside from the liability question, would you agree that, if given certain concealed weapon rights to carry, police officers would be treated in all of these cases just like Joe Citizen? They would have no special rights whatsoever in this situation. Do you agree with that?
Mr. EISENBERG. I would agree with that as a general proposition.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And I think, Chief Sanders and Chief Farrell, you would agree with that, too? That's the operational facet of this legislation.
Mr. EISENBERG. Mr. Chairman, with one additional twist to that, and that is that, to the extent to which, again, their position as an official of another government imposes certain other expectations, such as their training, the fact that they have carriedthat they are carrying a police firearm that has been issued by another entity, may in fact raise the ante, in terms of liability
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Civil liability. But civil liability of the police department or the other entity in the other State, not the liability of the local police or the local government. It would be the liability of the employer in the other State, presumably. Is that the understanding you all have? Is that what we're talking about? The liability question, Chief Sanders, is the liability question of the active-duty police officer's own police department back home, correct?
Mr. SANDERS. That would be my concern, yes, sir. The idea that the preemption is for police officers, which in my mind that it islegally, it's going to become an appendage to my department, yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, suppose we granted immunity for the local police department or the local unit of government for any acts of their police officers in another State if they're off-duty and carrying a weapon in another State. Would that make any difference, Chief Sanders, in the view of the chiefs of police?
Mr. SANDERS. I'm sure it would. It would certainly make it more acceptable, especially on that particular issue.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. In States with concealed weapons laws allowing off-duty police officers to carry concealed weapons, is there any study that you're aware of or any compilation of data that shows that these police officers do or have in fact used their weapons in crime scene situations more frequently than the average citizen who has permission to carry a concealed weapon? Because I know there must be a number of those same States where the concealed weapon laws apply to other people besides police officers. I'm just wondering if you're aware of any study that would demonstrate the truth of what you've said empirically. It seems logical that a policeman would, Chief Sanders, be more likely than the average citizen to pull out his gun in the grocery store if he sees something illegal happening. Are you aware of any such studies or data supporting this assumption?
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. SANDERS. No, sir.
Mr. FARRELL. I'm not aware of any.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Okay. We may come back to this issue. Ms. Jackson Lee, you're recognized.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
In trying to explore this issue, I appreciate the perspective being given by the gentlemen in this particular panel. I note that, generally speaking, and you might answer this questionand I tend to give a series of questions and then I would appreciate an answerthat we already have laws that allow out-of-state police officers who are on duty to go from State to State. But if you'd reflect on that in the backdrop of this conversation in question: How would you distinguish that from merely adding, I guess, numbers by way of now adding that right for those who would be off-duty? Do you have any facts or statistics that would suggest there would be an enormous number of individuals that might take advantage of that?
The other question would be: How do you respond to the proponents' perspective that the increaseor the opportunity would provide for greater opportunities for safety and response by a number of people who are trained with guns to respond in emergency situations? So you would have an added measure of protection in a society that seems to certainly be extremely obsessed with the criminal acts that are perpetrated in this country.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Then I would ask the question: If you were asked to refine this legislation to help with your concerns, how would you offer to do that?
So I've asked three questions. Will you get most of them? Mr. Eisenberg, your response?
Mr. EISENBERG. I'll answer your last question first. I would propose something that nobody would want because it's where the legislation heads. In effect, the legislation would seek to establish an ersatz national police force on the cheap. In effect, my community is going to benefit from all the officers that show up for the national memorial commemorations. We're a very large tourist and business travel destination, Arlington County, and we've got all manner of people with official responsibilities coming through our communityofficial responsibilities in their normal, daily life. This whole area, the whole metropolitan area, is always receiving delegations of people from different law enforcement associations and entities, and we love to have them. But the extent to which they bring with them whatever training they have that may not be the same as oursmore to the point, certain techniques, use of force standards, command control understandings, and a whole variety of things that are very familiar to them there, but we're not familiar with their stuff herewell, we think that that can create a problem.
So where do you head with that? You head with that to national training standards, national protocols, certain kinds of national direction in terms of the use of deadly force under certain circumstances, and so on. I don't think you want to get into that. And without a Good Samaritan law in effect now, without some kind of Federal insurance or re-insurance program that the gentlemen who were here beforewithout any of that in play, and the Federal Government, I'm sure, not willing to get into the same business that's equivalent to flood-control for police officers carrying concealed weapons, I don't think you would want that kind of solution. It's a problem.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Sanders.
Mr. SANDERS. Yes, ma'am. I guess the first thing is that the difference I see between on-duty and off-duty is the fact that you'd have control over them. You would know that your officers were leaving your jurisdiction; they would have an official capacity and purposewhich I think would give you a lot more control and would, in my mind, be less likely to cause them to be involved in something. They would have some forms of communication, I would hope, because they should be travelling in official capacity and those kinds of things.
I don't know what it would do to the numbers, I mean, I really don't. I would presume there's probably a lot of police officers that carry their weapons now when they leave the State, on the basis that that's what they're comfortable with and they just take the chance. What the law would do would allow them to do that without having to be worried about being charged withlike in Illinois it would be unlawful use of a weapon, a UUW violation. So I really don't know what it would do to the number.
As to the legislation, if I had an opportunity to revamp it, I would suggest again that you look at the definition again to allow for peace officers or police officers, depending upon the statutes of the jurisdiction, to be defined that way. I would say that there would have to be a minimum standard of proficiency or police training required. Certainly, you would want a liability exemption so that the jurisdiction would not have to be concerned with that, and I would not allow former police officers. It would have to be active-duty police officers.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Farrell.
Thank you very much, Mr. Sanders.
Mr. SANDERS. Yes ma'am.
Mr. FARRELL. I think the concerns that I shared on behalf of the PERF members really address the issues we're talking about. Much of it really comes down to cost. Who's going to pay for all this? In Florida we used to call themI guess you could call them unfunded mandates or Article 5 down therethese dictates by the State government that put these costly initiatives on the locals. And, just from a practical consideration, I think with a department of 1,700 people with 1,400 sworn, it's all we can do just to get them through their State-mandated training right now. And we exceed by a significant margin the State requirements; it's a mammoth undertaking.
So I would sayand by the way, I think that you could make good arguments both ways on the more well-trained, armed police officers out there in different jurisdictions versus the safety issues. I don't even sense that as the only big issue. I think to administer this kind of program as it's presently set up is going to be just an enormously cumbersome proposition and a potentially very costly one.
And even on the liability issues, no matter what you set in law, I think people generally look at the jurisdictions as the potential deep pockets and it'swhether the law covers it or notthe potential cost for the jurisdiction in defending the action; whether it's specious or has no merit, you still potentially incur the cost.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So I think these are many of the issuesI'm assuming that, although I don't believe we asked the members the question of how would you refine the legislative proposal or make it usable. And I'd also have to say that the response and the way the surveys are conducted by the PERF staff, basically the responses don't come back that way. I think most people recognize the intent of the legislation is a good one, is a positive one, but as police managers, basically, it's essential that this be a States' rights issue; it's adequately addressed at this level; the cost for the administration of it could conceivably be tremendous. And there's a lot of discussion on the liability issues. So if you could get at some of those issues in terms of streamlining and revising the legislation somehow, I'm assuming the PERF staff would just go right back to the membership with whatever the modifications would be.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, would you yield for a question to the chairman, please?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Certainly. I'll yield to you.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you. Or would you allow me an inquiry, just so that we can clarity the posture that we're in? I note that we have three bills in front of us pending during this hearing, including one proposed by the chairman. And my understanding, then, is this hearing is helping us to elaborate further on how we may respond to some of the both concerns and very good suggestions that have been made.
I raise two points. One, I don't think anyone who has made a statement here doesn't have the greatest amount of respect for individuals who've chosen law enforcement as their chosen profession and would not attribute any negative motives to the reasoning for carrying firearms. I started out by saying, having come from local government, that I know from which these gentlemen speak, that I have a real deep concern about the cost and responsibility of the local jurisdiction in case of an incident.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I also raise the issue of active versus non-active. I know that your legislation seems to respond by allowing only active-duty. Are we suggesting by this hearing, then, that we have an opportunity to explore ways to accommodate many of the issues and questions and concerns that have been raised this afternoon?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. If the gentlelady would yield
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I'd be happy to yield.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. This is what it says it is: It's draft legislation. I have not introduced this bill as a bill. I think these bills are flawed in several ways and I want to see what kind of other product, if any, we might be able to agree upon or at least gather comments from various parties on it.
So we're in that exploring mode. There are varying viewsas you've heard today, Ms. Jackson Leeas to whether we should have any legislation at all. But I would first like to determine what the best possible product would be and then we could argue whether there should be any legislation or not. The States' rights argument is that we shouldn't have any legislation, no matter what.
But, as you've pointed out in your questioning, there may be improvements that would make a better product than any one of the three that are out here today. So if we are going to move a bill, and we may do that, it will be modified based upon these hearings and any input you have.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I would like to have input and I would, first, thank you for taking hold of the legislation. I think it appropriately can be managed through the judiciary. Obviously, we have individuals on both sides of issues dealing with guns here and I think this is an appropriate forum.
Let me offer my interest in this legislation as it is being formulated and thanking these gentlemen for raising some very important issues. I'll be back in touch with a lot of your agencies, having been involved with, certainly, the National League of Cities.
Mr. Chairman, I'm going to ask your indulgence. I have another meeting, but I wanted to clarify that for the record
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Oh, we're all
Ms. JACKSON LEE [continuing]. And offer the assistance of my office to work on this legislation.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I don't have any more questions for this panel, and unless somebody else has any order of business, we're going to call this hearing adjourned. Thank you very much, gentlemen, for coming.
[Whereupon, at 3:18 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned.]
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
INTERSTATE CARRYING OF CONCEALED FIREARMS BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICALS; COMMUNITY PROTECTION ACT OF 1997; NATIONAL CONCEALED FIREARMS STANDARD, AND THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND COMMUNITY PROTECTION ACT OF 1997
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
H.R. 218 and H.R. 339
JULY 22, 1997
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Serial No. 99
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
SONNY BONO, California
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
CHRISTOPHER B. CANNON, Utah
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTH, New Jersey
THOMAS E. MOONEY, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
JULIAN EPSTEIN, Minority Staff Director
Subcommittee on Crime
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
PAUL J. MCNULTY, Chief Counsel
GLENN R. SCHMITT, Counsel
DANIEL J. BRYANT, Counsel
NICOLE R. NASON, Counsel
DAVID YASSKY, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
July 22, 1997
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida, and chairman, Subcommittee on Crime
Eisenberg, Albert, County Commissioner, Arlington County, Virginia, Representing the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors
Farrell, John S., Legislative Committee Chair, Police Executive Research Forum
Nowicki, Ed, Officer, Twin Lakes Police Department, on behalf of Law Enforcement Alliance of America
Rhinebarger, James A., Chairman, National Troopers Association
Sanders, Darrell L., President, International Association of Chiefs of Police
Teodorski, Bernard H., National Vice President, Fraternal Order of Police
Thompson, H.G. Bill, Director of Governmental Affairs, Southern States Police Benevolent Association
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Eisenberg, Albert, County Commissioner, Arlington County, Virginia, Representing the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors: Prepared statement
Farrell, John S., Legislative Committee Chair, Police Executive Research Forum: Prepared statement
Jackson Lee, Sheila, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas: Prepared statement
Nowicki, Ed, Officer, Twin Lakes Police Department, on behalf of Law Enforcement Alliance of America:
Rhinebarger, James A., Chairman, National Troopers Association: Prepared statement
Sanders, Darrell L., President, International Association of Chiefs of Police: Prepared statement
Scully, Robert T., Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations, Inc: Prepared statement
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Teodorski, Bernard H., National Vice President, Fraternal Order of Police: Prepared statement
Thompson, H.G. Bill, Director of Governmental Affairs, Southern States Police Benevolent Association: Prepared statement