P1 mailbag: Retired Cops: Should they still pack?

When we asked PoliceOne members whether they felt retired officers should be allowed to carry concealed weapons, we quickly received nearly 1,000 responses...and they keep coming.

The question was posed after it was reported that retired Chicago officers would be receiving a letter in the mail informing them they would no longer be certified to carry their guns because the city was worried about liability issues. [Read the related article]

Reader responses were overwhelmingly in favor of allowing officers to continue to carry their weapons. View the results

The general consensus of those P-1 members who responded through emailed also followed the same line of thinking. Below are excerpts from a few of the many compelling e-mails we received.

Thanks and keep them coming!

Lindsay Gebhart
News Editor

Visit the poll section on the front page of PoliceOne.com to add your vote.

For more information on this topic, check out the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 .


E-mails were edited for length.

Det. Nick Urbano with the Plymouth (MA) PD:

Yes, I feel that retired police officers should be allowed to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the U.S. and its territories. I am a disability retired police officer, 64 years old, and have been carrying a weapon since I was seventeen years old. I’ve carried out of state many times (prior to 218) and intend to continue that practice. As the saying goes, “I’d rather be on trial for shooting him than he on trial for shooting me!"  Let’s wait until some city officials life, in New York or Chicago, is saved by a gun-toting retired police officer from East Nowhere USA. I think a different tune will then be sung!

Officer Paul Bowers with the Gowanda (NY) PD:

I feel quite strongly about this. I waited an extra year to retire, until Pres. Bush had signed the federal bill to allow this. I don't believe the city can deny it. I also have my own personal CCW. I live in New York state, one of the tougher states to give permits, and I carry except in the shower or bed.

Detective Michael J. Irise of the Nassau County (NY) PD:

A retired Police Officer carrying a concealed weapon is the decision of the local governmental agency. My agency allows us to carry a concealed weapon upon retirement. If that governmental agency grants that permission two things must be considered. The first is the liability of the retiree as it pertains to the use of the firearm. Is his former employee (Police Department/Governmental Body) liable or is the retiree themselves liable. Secondly is the issue of requalification of firearms discipline and accuracy. I as a Detective must qualify at least once yearly. In my retirement I will keep up that regiment. At the point and time I am unable to qualify I will consider myself a liability and surrender my carry capability. I will still own and maintain a firearm in my residence. I can always be a good witness if a crime occurs in my presence.

Det. Paul Edholm with the Beverly Hills (CA) PD (Ret.):

I have been retired for 6 years - after a 28.5 year career in law enforcement.  I carry a CCW, but must qualify once a year at my department to maintain it. About 2 years ago I received a death threat from someone I dealt with 15 years ago on the job.  Do I believe retired cops should carry CCW's - YOU BET!!!

Chief Stephen Amling with the Tomah (WI) VAMC:

Chicago is setting a dangerous precedent in denying retired retired officers the right to defend themselves against those that seek retribution against them, and their families. If this is just a ploy by Chicago to get DOJ to finally take action on LEOSA and absolve the city of liability for any defensive actions taken by retired officers in protecting themselves, then it is time for action by DOJ. If Chicago is allowed to ignore LEOSA, how many cities and States are going to jump on that bandwagon and choose to ignore this legislation also?

Sgt. Bill Tinsley Ret. with the Columbia (MO) PD:

I had not been retired very long and was in a business 25 miles away from the city from which I had retired when a previous arrestee walked in the front door and almost immediately asked "Ain't you a cop over in... ?" at which time every 'pucker factor' went into play (at that time Missouri only allowed open carry of weapons, even for retired officers and I was unarmed). As things turned out, I had apparently impressed the guy during our previous encounter and it wound up being a fairly pleasant ending. Regardless of the state law, I never went unarmed after that day.

Lt. Paul J. Hibser (Ret.) with the Peorian (IL) PD:

I retired as a lieutenant in charge of our detective bureau and as soon as I retired I was no longer legally able to carry a firearm. I WASN'T QUALIFIED? Now because of the federal law authorizing retired police officers to carry if they meet specific qualifications, I can now legally carry my firearm. Chicago, as well as other misinformed communities, trust their officers to carry firearms for 25 or 30 years, then upon retirement state they can no longer be trusted. This policy defies logic. If they would allow their retired officers to meet departmental qualifications why shouldn't they be allowed to carry firearms for self protection? Retired officers would still have to follow state and local laws with respect to their right to own and carry the weapon. Shame on Mayor Daily and the City of Chicago.

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