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Special Exemptions for Cops?

Public Servants Seek Immunity from Gun Laws they Enforce;
Gun Rights Leaders Say “No Thanks!”

by Angel Shamaya
Founder/Executive Director
KeepAndBearArms.com

April 19, 2002

Table of Contents
• Introduction
• H.R. 218 & Its History
• Law Enforcement Supporters
• Gun Rights Leaders' Positions
• Objections to Such Legislation
• How the Bill is Being Promoted
• Conclusion
• Take Action
• Acknowledgements

"It's inconceivable that Congress didn't pass H.R. 218 years ago when it was first introduced. What plausible argument can anyone give for not allowing these law enforcers the right to carry their firearms outside their jurisdictions when off-duty?"

—Jim Fotis, Executive Director
Law Enforcement Alliance of America
(source)

 

This report is loaded with plausible arguments for opposing LEAA's bill.

Be sure to read the WorldNetDaily.com coverage.
Be sure to view opposition coalition and cartoons.


Note:

The following terms are used throughout this report to describe law enforcement officers: cops, LEOs, law enforcement officers, and the police.  None is meant to be derogatory; they are simply descriptive terms in common use in our society to describe government employees who enforce laws. Any seeming hostility toward law enforcement you may find below is intended only toward law enforcement officers who dishonor their oaths to uphold the highest law of the land — cops who honor their oaths are absolutely respected and admired friends.


Introduction

118 law enforcement organizations are allied in support of federal legislation that would grant Executive Branch law enforcement officers (LEOs) from all 50 states exemptions from the concealed carry laws of all 50 states — while those same laws continue to be enforced against the People.  Many of these law enforcement groups clearly are not gun owners' friends.

Naturally, numerous gun rights groups and leaders oppose any such legislation, with good reason.

A close look at the history of a Cops-Only National Concealed carry bill holds many clues for liberty advocates and true supporters of the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

WHY OPPOSE COPS-ONLY NATIONAL CONCEALED CARRY

The reasons this legislation should be opposed include:

  1. Law enforcement support for national concealed carry for The People would further dwindle.

  2. The dangerous belief that "cops are better than citizens" would expand.

  3. Cop concealed carry national exemption gives more ammo to Gun Prohibitionists.

  4. Gun owner resentment in Infringement Zones would build.

  5. Cops-Only concealed carry exemption further empowers oath-breaking cops to wrongly think themselves superior to The People.

  6. Cops who oppose concealed carry for citizens in their own jurisdictions should be publicly disgraced, not given special treatment.

  7. It's UnConstitutional.

  8. It's one more step toward federalization of All law enforcement.

  9. It's a Mountain of Lawsuits waiting to happen.

HOW IT IS BEING PROMOTED

Cops-Only National Concealed Carry legislation is being promoted with various arguments that sound good on the surface — to some — but in fact are either hypocritical, unconstitutional, selfish, elitist, divisive, absurd or all of the above. These arguments include:

Some of the law enforcement groups allied to push the legislation are even investing time, energy and money to promote gun control and even gun bans for citizens while seeking exemptions from the same bans for law enforcement officers. And the details on such actions are ugly.

Also included in this report are statements from gun rights leaders who both support and oppose Cops-Only National Concealed Carry legislation.

Until a federal bill becomes law, there is room to stop it from ever hitting the President's desk. To that end, a Take Action section is included in this report in hopes we can pressure numerous co-signers of federal Cops-Only National Concealed Carry legislation to extricate themselves from this mess.


H.R. 218 & Its History

OVERVIEW

H.R. 218 is also known as "The Community Protection Act."  It's text is brief — you can read the entire bill in about three minutes and are encouraged to do so. In essence, if signed into federal law, this bill would grant current and most retired law enforcement officers — local, state and federal — full exemptions from concealed carry prohibitions in all 50 states while those prohibitions continue to be enforced with "zero tolerance" against The People mentioned in the Second Amendment. To quote from the bill, its purpose is:

"To amend title 18, United States Code, to exempt qualified current and former law enforcement officers from State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed handguns."

H.R. 218 was written by the Law Enforcement Alliance of America (the Law Enforcement Arm of the NRA). LEAA has been the prime force behind the bill ever since, calling it their "flagship legislation."

Never has the bill mentioned "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." In fact, the only time the word "right" shows up in H.R. 218 — all versions ever introduced — is when it says "...has a nonforfeitable right to benefits under the retirement plan of the agency" in defining what constitutes a retired law enforcement officer while offering him special, super-citizen national access to the means of self-defense.

FIRST SHOWING

The first time H.R. 218 was introduced as a Cops-Only National Concealed Carry Exemption bill was in the 104th Congress — introduced as "The Community Protection Initiative." The exact date of introduction was January 4, 1995. (View that version.)  Rep. Randy " Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) introduced it for LEAA, and they pulled 140 co-sponsors that year.  (NRA Board Member and U.S. Rep. Bob Barr was one of them.)

ONLY TIME IT MENTIONED SOME OF THE PEOPLE

In the 105th Congress, Rep. Cunningham introduced it again. (View that version.) That year, the McCollum amendment calling for national concealed carry standards (for people who submit to government "permit" systems and register themselves as gun owners in their own states) was attached to H.R. 218 as Section 4.  The bill was reported (amended) by the Committee on Judiciary in House Report 105-819 on October 14, 1998 — but went no further thanks to Schumer, Wexler and the usual anti-rights suspects. They opposed it, but for the wrong reasons — they and their kind could never see fit to support national concealed carry for even a small percentage of The People.

That was the first, last and ONLY time the bill mentioned anything about even a small select group of The People being included in the easing of restrictions on national concealed carry. And even then it was unConstitutional and wrought with problems for gun owner privacy, states' rights and much more — yet 124 co-sponsors signed on.

THE CLOSEST IT HAS COME TO PASSING WAS AS AN AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION

In the 106th Congress, LEAA's legislation got closer to the President's desk than ever before or since — it didn't say anything about The People then, either. It's sponsor, Rep. Cunningham again, attached it to H.R. 2122 — the "Mandatory Gun Show Background Check Act," dubbed the "Juvenile Justice" bill — on the 18th of June, 1999 (H.AMDT.220).  Among the other amendments that were successfully attached to that bill were the following, which would have become law had it passed and been signed by President Clinton:

  • "ban the import of any large capacity ammunition magazines or clips that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition." —H.AMDT.217, Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL)
  • "mandates the transfer of a secure gun storage or safety device with the transfer of any handgun" —H.AMDT.219, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA)

In their Summer '99 legislative report, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — another supporter H.R. 218 — described the failed passage of the bill as follows:

"The measure was attached to a high-profile gun control bill that failed this spring when the gun bill was defeated."

Why did that bill calling for magazine bans and other gun control measures fail? The Democrats killed it, because they wanted more intense gun show regulations and because they couldn't support national concealed carry for the commoners. Meanwhile, 137 Republicans said "aye" to the bill — and the above gun controls.

Perhaps most telling for gun owners are the statements LEAA's congressional sponsor for H.R. 218 made after H.R. 2122 failed.  Said Rep. Cunningham:

"In June, 1999, the House considered gun control legislation (H.R. 2122)...Unfortunately, the House did not pass this measure..."

REPEAT: LEAA's sponsor for H.R. 218 was upset that magazine bans and federal gun show legislation didn't pass so he could declare a victory for his bill!  (In case "Duke" gets wise and pulls that telling statement from his official website, here is a screenshot to prove he said it.)

The Fraternal Order of Police — a major supporter of H.R. 218 — was equally disappointed when H.R. 2122 was defeated. Further in this report, you'll read how NRA touts F.O.P.'s support of H.R. 218 on their website. In other words, NRA's buddy LEO organization wanted federal gun control legislation to pass so their members could receive special status exemption from gun laws many of those same LEOs enforce against your brothers and sisters.

MOST RECENT ACTIVITY

Late in 2001, on November 13, in an attempt to force this bill along, Rep. Cunningham filed a Motion to Discharge a Committee from the Consideration of a resolution. Not only is he committed to seeing his states' rights-abusing, police-state-empowering bill become law, he's committed to using legislative force to get the job done. 

Currently, as of the date of publication of this report, there is a majority in the House co-signing on this bill. After reading this report, you'll have plenty of reason to Take Action to Stop It.

The next congressional actions on the bill were as follows:

1/3/2001:  Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.  
2/12/2001: 
Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime.
3/08/2002: LEAA says it's "being held hostage" by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Take Action to see that Rep. Sensenbrenner continues to hold the line.

To check current status of the bill, you can click here. To see if your congressmember is one of 251 co-sponsors of the current version of this bill, click here. (See also: Take Action.)

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Law Enforcement Supporters

OVERVIEW

LEAA's CopConcealedCarry.com provides a "listing of national and local law enforcement groups that have announced their support for H.R. 218."  But when you carefully examine the list of these organizations — which I have made very easy to do — some interesting patterns emerge:

1)  Nearly 1/3 of the 118 law enforcement organizations listed as supporters of Cops-Only National Concealed Carry are federal in nature (27 out of 118, to be exact).

2)  Of the 91 state-based groups who have endorsed an unconstitutional Cops-Only National Concealed Carry federal law, only 40.7% of them come from states where civil authority "shall issue" a concealed carry permit to local, lawful residents. In other words...

59.3% (three-fifths) of the state-based organizations endorsing national concealed carry exemptions for Cops Only come from states where the lawful, decent citizens caught carrying in their own neighborhoods will go to jail for doing so — in many cases, to fight off a felony conviction in a court that is biased against them.

These non-shall-issue states harboring LEO organizations who support Cops-Only National Concealed Carry legislation include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island

To really bring this point home, let's put it this way: Only 37 of the 118 LEO organizations supporting Cops-Only National Concealed Carry legislation are local or state groups that come from "shall issue" concealed carry states.  (That's only 31.4%.)

Worse yet...

3)  In at least Missouri, Illinois and Ohio, and Michigan, some of the police associations touted by LEAA as supporters of their bill have come out in strong opposition to "shall issue" concealed carry for peaceable citizens — in their own states. And we could not find a single LEO group among their entire list who actively supports and promotes Vermont-style carry for citizens — the only type of concealed carry that falls in line with the intentions of America's Founding Fathers when they drafted the Second Amendment.

 

THE REAL UGLY TRUTH

Some of the groups LEAA has allied with to push H.R. 218 are investing time, energy and money to promote gun control and even gun bans for citizens while seeking exemptions from the same bans for LEOs. Details exposing the dark sides of some of LEAA's pals can be found by examining our breakdown of the groups LEAA promotes as supporters of their bill.  When you peruse that page, following are some of the things you discover that some of LEAA's allies stand for:

  • endorsed Al Gore
  • endorsed Gun Prohibitionist Rod Blagojevich, who wants to ban the .50 caliber rifle and concealable handguns
  • calls the Second Amendment "the right of the States"
  • worked on the Democratic Platform Committee
  • represents BATF
  • presses for more restrictions on lawful, licensed gun dealers
  • endorses imprisoning people for up to 5 years if they sell a gun to a friend or family member without government permission
  • supports putting gun dealers in jail for a year for paperwork errors
  • aggressively opposes citizen concealed carry
  • thought it a bad thing to impeach confessed perjurer President Bill Clinton
  • lobbies against the right of the people to keep and bear arms consistently
  • supports a referendum to put an end to citizen concealed carry
  • and a whole lot more.

 

QUESTION

What should gun owners think about LEAA promoting support for their bill from numerous law enforcement organizations who oppose our right to defend ourselves?  Remember: At least tens of thousands of the line cops whom these organizations represent will throw their neighbors in jail if they "catch them" exercising their right to keep and bear arms.

SEE FOR YOURSELF

Take a good, hard look at the carefully-analyzed list of LEAA's H.R.218-supporters, and you will see one thing very clearly: far too many of these law enforcement organizations are not supporters of the Second Amendment.

Now where does that leave LEAA?

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Gun Rights Leaders' Positions

Two Camps:

• Leaders Who Oppose Cops-Only National Concealed Carry
• Leaders Who Support Cops-Only National Concealed Carry

 

Leaders Who Oppose Cops-Only National Concealed Carry

Numerous well-known and active gun rights organizations and leaders we polled in researching this issue oppose the concept of granting special exemptions to law enforcement officers from the concealed carry laws of all 50 states — a fact that, in itself, will convince most intelligent gun owners to be wary.

Take a look at the chart showing where gun rights leaders stand on this type of legislation. Included beneath that chart are statements from several leaders as to why they feel as they do and links to all of their websites.

There's also a link on that page for gun rights leaders to use to add their name/organization to the list. If you are a member of a gun rights group whose names isn't on the list, invite them on our behalf.

 

 

Leaders Who Support Cops-Only National Concealed Carry

In fairness to this issue, gun rights leaders who support this legislation should have their views aired. There are at least three avowed supporters of Cops-Only National Concealed Carry from the Gun Rights Camp:

• Neal Knox
• U.S. Rep. Bob Barr
• National Rifle Association

NEAL KNOX

It was Neal Knox's coming out in support of Cops-Only National Concealed Carry that prompted me to expose this treachery. And I hate doing this — Mr. Knox has been fighting for gun rights longer than I've been alive — but he's wrong, and when Liberty is at stake, there are no sacred cows. I asked him to reconsider his support and told him numerous gun rights groups and leaders would be publicly opposing him if he didn't. He wouldn't budge.

Neal Knox reported on November 2, 2001 — on his website and through his email alert — that he has had a change of heart and now supports H.R. 218.

In his report, Mr. Knox deftly acknowledges some of the concerns of gun owners:

"...a vacationing cop's life and family are no more important than mine or yours..."

"...the pressure of active and retired officers who want to carry out-of-state gives needed leverage to state reciprocity bills and Federal bills..."

"...the country would be made even safer by national reciprocity for licensed carriers..."

But then he falls back on a notion that has been used to shred America's Constitution for decades:

"But my personal interest must come second to the country's..."

Fortunately, personal interest and the country's interest are not mutually exclusive.  America's bedrock philosophy is that our national strength is born of our individual rights and our lofty respect for and defense of each and every one of them. What is good for the whole must be good for the individual first.

STRAIGHT OUT OF ORWELL

The idea that we should surrender some of our rights "for the good of the whole" is not only dangerous to Liberty, it's scary.  George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm each covered the topic thoroughly and effectively — if you haven't read each book, you are encouraged to do so, ASAP; we're being treated to the very paradigms Orwell exposed, right here in the land of the free.

In Animal Farm, Orwell depicted the way a police state evolves by leading you through a revolution of farm animals who exerted their superiority over their human oppressors — and eventually over one another.  During the early stages of their self-emancipation, a boar named Old Major, the philosopher of the revolution, said:

"Above all, no animal must ever tyrannize over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. All animals are equal."

The last sentence was forged into #7 of their Seven Commandments and painted on the barn for all to see.

After a good bit of socialism, elitism, fascism, communism and totalitarianism had incrementally come into general acceptance, an animal tyrant named Squealer managed not only to erase the other six commandments from the barn, but to rearrange this one to say:

"All Animals are Equal
But some animals are more equal than others."
—George Orwell, Animal Farm (Penguin Books, 1951, Pg. 114)

The line was used by one faction of the ruling class of society who was claiming special exemptions from laws they enforced — over others with whom they'd previously declared equality, and over whose rights they'd declared themselves protectors.

And though Squealer was a leader and spokesman, it's notable that the rest of the dominant animals went along with their "greater equality," many of them justifying their invented superiority with skewed "logic" that included complete divergence from the very principles they'd previously espoused. (See: Oaths of Office.)

And some of the "less equal" actually came out in vocal support of their own inferiority — incorrectly believing their support would help insulate them from the tyranny they helped create.

 

 

U.S. REP. BOB BARR

U.S. Rep. Bob Barr is on the national Board of the NRA, and he has been a co-sponsor for every version of H.R. 218 introduced since that number was assigned to Cops-Only National Concealed Carry Exemption. (See 104th, 105th, 106th and 107th Congressional lists of co-sponsors.)

To learn about how Rep. Barr — touted by NRA as a gun rights hero — was willing to pass federal gun control legislation that included magazine bans in order to get H.R. 218 signed into law, see History of H.R. 218.

 

 

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION

First of all, LEAA — H.R. 218's strongarm organization — got its start from NRA's offices and bankroll and has fed itself heartily from the NRA money-trough to the tune of millions of NRA members' dollars. According to Law Enforcement for the Preservation of the Second Amendment, run by LEAA Co-founder, Tom Aveni,

"Since 1990, LEAA has received over $4,500,000 in contributions from the NRA.  That's right folks, 4.5 million NRA dollars It's not a misprint!  So, who do you think LEAA speaks for?" [emphasis theirs]

Next, there is the fact that NRA's U.S. Rep. Board Member is a co-sponsor of H.R. 218 — has been every time it's been introduced.

Then there is NRA's promotion of F.O.P.'s endorsement of the bill, posted on the NRA-ILA website on October 3, 2001 and still there as of March 8, 2002:

F.O.P. Says Let Police Carry Firearms Nationwide

Steve Young, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, urges the Bush Administration to include H.R. 218, the "Community Protection Act," enabling qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to carry their firearms when traveling outside their own jurisdiction into legislation aimed at improving public safety. "For too long, this has been considered to be a 'firearms issue,'" Young said. "If it ever was just a 'firearms issue' it certainly is that no longer. On Sept. 11, 2001, it became a critical public safety issue."

In case NRA pulls that page, we captured a screenshot — see it for yourself by clicking here.

NOTE: The Fraternal Order of Police was disappointed when H.R. 218 failed as a rider on the above-mentioned federal gun control legislation to which Rep. Barr said "aye".

COINCIDENCE?

NRA put that page up on their site as a legislative alert on October 3, 2001. That was the same exact day LEAA put out a press release asking Congress to pass H.R. 218 for the law enforcement officers slain at the World Trade Center.  President George W. Bush signed the misnamed USA PATRIOT ACT into federal statutory law just 23 days later. A police state coincidence? Maybe. But it sure is an uncomfortable one. When the largest national gun rights organization in the nation — partially responsible for putting Bush in the White House — endorses an unconstitutional Police State Advancement Bill while their law enforcement group simultaneously pleads for passage of the same bill, surely the President can feel comfortable signing off on another Police State Advancement Bill he and half of Congress didn't read, right?

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Objections to Such Legislation

"It's inconceivable that Congress didn't pass H.R. 218 years ago when it was first introduced. What plausible argument can anyone give for not allowing these law enforcers the right to carry their firearms outside their jurisdictions when off-duty?"

—Jim Fotis, Executive Director
Law Enforcement Alliance of America
(source)

"You do not examine legislation in light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."  

—Lyndon B. Johnson

Following are clear, plausible arguments for opposing any bill that would allow any law enforcement officer to have national concealed carry merely because of his/her profession to the exclusion of the people. Click on any statement below for details:

  1. Law enforcement support for national concealed carry for The People would further dwindle.

  2. The dangerous belief that "cops are better than citizens" would expand.

  3. Cop concealed carry national exemption gives more ammo to Gun Prohibitionists.

  4. Gun owner resentment in Infringement Zones would build.

  5. Cops-Only concealed carry exemption further empowers oath-breaking cops to wrongly think themselves superior to The People.

  6. Cops who oppose concealed carry for citizens in their own jurisdictions should be publicly disgraced, not given special treatment.

  7. It's UnConstitutional.

  8. It's one more step toward federalization of All law enforcement.

  9. It's a Mountain of Lawsuits waiting to happen.

 

Law Enforcement Support for National Concealed Carry for The People Would Further Dwindle.

Once law enforcement officers are exempted from unconstitutional concealed carry laws, there will be little reason for the vast majority of them to support national concealed carry decriminalization for the people they were hired to serve — their pressure to do so would virtually disappear. Even a well-known gun rights leader who supports this legislation agrees with that statement.

The only exceptions would be the law enforcement officers and groups who already deeply understand the right of the people to keep and bear arms to the point that they are willing to champion the cause — and even then, there'd be little or no personal incentive for them to be fervent and active in their support for a national concealed carry initiative for The People.

Conversely, making law enforcement officers wait until We The People have our gun carry rights restored alongside theirs means we are more likely to get their support — if they want the same freedoms we are already supposed to enjoy, that is.

And finally, even if all of the law enforcement groups who oppose local concealed carry suddenly and miraculously began supporting a national concealed carry initiative for the people, such legislation still wouldn't be Constitutional.  (The United States Constitution is the law of the land. If you support its violation so you can "get yours," you do not fully understand what the document means — or you are drowning in hopelessness over the plight of today's America and trying to salvage what you can from a ship you think it sinking. Do not abandon the Constitution — it's probably our last hope for avoiding an eventual bloody civil conflict; instead, restore it.)

 

The Dangerous Belief that "Cops Are Better Than Citizens" Would Expand.

There are sheeple in our society who foolishly believe that when a person is handed a badge, he or she is suddenly superior to someone who hasn't been handed a badge.  Giving LEOs yet another perk further sets them apart and above those who are in fact their superiors: We the People. 

If LEOs and The People cannot be given national concealed carry rights at the same time, We Their Bosses should have our right to carry fully restored before theirs are restored — not the other way around. The operative phrase: the right of the people.

Also worth considering is the fact that if LEOs were given this elitist special exemption, many who became aware that former and current cops could now carry nationally would bolster their false belief that police have a duty to protect you when they do not, as the Supreme Court and several lower courts have clearly ruled.

 

Cop Concealed Carry National Exemption Gives More Ammo to Gun Prohibitionists.

Having national concealed carry exemption only for LEOs further supports the anti-gun elitists in our society — wet dreamers for a police state — who believe that "only the police should have guns."  From their irrational anti-self-defense perspective, "if all police can now carry anywhere, there is no reason for people to carry."  This abhorrent anti-self-defense ideology has been seeping steadily into the mainstream, infecting otherwise intelligent people along the way — nothing should be done to let this dangerous idea grow.

Elitist National Concealed Carry Exemption Only for LEOs would give more ammo to the enemies of the Second Amendment — including and especially those in law enforcement.  No, thank you.

 

Gun Owner Resentment in Infringement Zones Would Build.

Imagine living in a semi-Police-State where you as a citizen will be slapped with a felony if "caught" carrying a concealed gun for self-defense (Chicago, New York City, Cincinnati, D.C., Los Angeles, etc., ad nauseam).  If LEAA's bill becomes law, police officers from 2,000 miles away can come and eat at the same restaurant where you've been eating for years, and they can pack heat. Not only that, but they might even bust you if the gun on your hip underneath your jacket (for defense against neighborhood thugs who concern you more than your local, unconstitutional laws do) catches their attention.

Gun owners living under gross civil rights prohibitions — self-defense bans — do not need "special" LEOs from other states rubbing their noses in the fact that they are treated like and held to be second class citizens.  I predict more than a few major problems as a direct result of the tension that would be created by growing this already unbalanced and elitist dynamic.

When carried to its logical conclusion, that kind of unintended consequence has a heavy price, indeed.

 

Cops-Only Concealed Carry Exemption Further Empowers Oath-breaking Cops to Wrongly Think Themselves Superior to The People.

Consider that unfortunate percentage of police officers who believe that we "regular citizens" should not be allowed to own handguns (or any guns) at all.  (Like it or not, they exist. One such recent example involves the NYC creep who laughs at the right to keep and bear arms as a joke.)  Giving these same individuals the right to carry nationwide — including in states where carrying a concealed weapon by a "regular citizen" is considered and treated as a violent felony — only feeds their Constitutional Dysfunction.

QUESTION:  What kind of a mindset would an exempted police officer from New Jersey have toward citizens in California when he can carry and they cannot — when he can defend his own life at their local restaurant, but they will go to jail for so doing?

ANSWER:  "I'm above the laws these people have to live by.  I'm special.  I'm superior.  Of course — I'm a cop."

"Some animals are more equal than others." ?

 

Cops Who Oppose Concealed Carry for Citizens in Their Own Jurisdictions Should Be Publicly Disgraced, Not Given Special Treatment.

When you take a class bully and give him candy after catching him picking on the little kid, do you honestly think he's going to learn to be respectful?

At a time when so many law enforcement organizations are publicly standing in opposition to citizens who wish nothing more than to defend their own lives, the last thing these public servants need is a pat on the back. In fact, the law enforcement organizations and individuals who oppose your rights after they've sworn an oath to protect and defend them need to be ostracized, castigated and taken to task with fury, all the time, until they feel so much heat they relent.

Any law enforcement officer or member of an LEO group who opposes the right of the people to keep and bear arms is an elitist hypocrite with a superiority complex, and you are on the wrong end of that complex. While there are many law enforcement officers — line cops — who support your right to defend yourself (in some areas of the country, but certainly not all areas), their profession is poisoned by the other kind.

 

It's unConstitutional.

There is NO PROVISION in the United States Constitution that gives the federal government the authority to force all 50 states to rescind their laws solely for the Executive Branch law enforcers from the other 49 states. NONE.

The "equal protection of the laws" doctrine encoded into the 14th Amendment is also violated by giving "extra rights" to citizens — and a police officer who is off duty is just that: a citizen. (Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution also says "No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States" — if this wouldn't be such a monster, what would?)

This nation is a Constitutional Republic. Period. And though we've let slide a long list of unConstitutional measures, those mistakes by government and the people who hired them do not justify any further unConstitutional destruction.

That NRA, Neal Knox, Rep. Bob Barr, LEAA and a long list of law enforcement organizations wish to further unConstitutionalize our country is disturbing. Thank goodness so many gun rights groups and leaders oppose them.

The state of Florida cannot be compelled to allow a police officer from Maryland to carry concealed just because he's a cop in another state. (The State can be compelled to cease all violations of constitutionally enumerated rights — for all people, not just one class of people.)  If a Florida resident is wrongly shot by a police officer from Maryland, does he sue Maryland, the federal government — or the State of Florida for accepting the federal government's illegitimate authority in this matter? There are many valid reasons a state — any state — would oppose the federalization of armed law enforcement officers from the other 49 states.  (More on the legal issues below.)

And this is what this is really coming down to...

 

It's One More Step Toward Federalization of All Law Enforcement.

When you talk about the federal government "granting" law enforcement powers to cops outside of their own jurisdiction, you are setting up a future scenario that doesn't bode well for Liberty. In essence, what H.R. 218 seeks to do is admit that the federal government has an authority it most certainly does not have. And when the President signs off on it, the federal government will begin to operate, once again, under yet another false, unConstitutional "authority".

Imagine the first time a New Jersey police officer carrying in Georgia tries to play cop in Georgia and shoots a citizen. Who is going to cover that police officer's actions if it's a wrongful shooting — or in a civil lawsuit even if it's a rightful shooting? His local department? Hardly. The local department didn't authorize him to play cop in Georgia — the federal government did.  And though it would take time, the federal government could pass another law "to clear up the confusion about the status of traveling law enforcement officers," or some such thing — securing more "authority" for traveling law enforcement officers when the federal government never had nor was intended to have that authority in the first place.

We're talking about some major lawsuits here, too...

 

It's a Mountain of Lawsuits Waiting to Happen.

Wrongful shootings by police officers from faraway jurisdictions could make quite a few attorneys rich. Not only could lawsuits flourish by cops and their departments being sued, and not only could the federal government find itself in court defending against both citizens and police officers — states could be suing the federal government, too.  Think about it...

Mississippi and their local departments would only pay out so much money for wrongful shootings — or defending in civil suits against justifiable shootings — before they blamed the truly responsible party: the federal government who exerted authority it doesn't have to empower local LEOs across state lines and outside their jurisdictions. Same goes for the other 49 states, too. After all, the federal government would have been the one that vested these cops' law enforcement powers outside their jurisdictions. (And if you say the federal government wouldn't be extending the police powers of local cops, think again; the only real reason H.R. 218 justifies specially exempting these folks is because they are law enforcement officers.)

And when states sue the federal government, there is one court that will hear that case in its final battle: the United States Supreme Court. And the high court could only rule one way: the federal government does not have the authority to force all 50 states to allow the police officers from the other 49 states to play cop in their state.

If such lawsuits took place, before the matter was resolved in court it would probably cost untold millions of dollars, and quite a few states, cities and counties could be paying their fair share in legal fees and settlements along the way.

Carried to its logical conclusion, all legal expenses of all of those states, cities and counties could end up as legal bills in the federal government's inbox. And guess where they get their money.

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How the Bill is Being Promoted

Following are many of the ways LEAA's H.R. 218 is being promoted. Included are as many published justifications for passing this legislation as could be found. Click on any of the list below to be taken to detailed information, quotes, documentation and responses. Or read the list and then skip to the next section.

 

So cops can feel safe and protect their families without fear.

LEAA's Jim Fotis quotes Lt. Frank Freeland, a correctional officer in California, who says, 

"I would feel safer and more able to protect my family if I could carry in other states without fear of being charged with a crime."

Welcome to the club, Lt. Freeland. How do you think the gun owners feel after having had their constitutional rights violated by LEAA's allies' members because they wanted to protect themselves and their families? Are their families important — worth protecting? The gun owner's fear of being arrested for simply choosing to protect self and family counts too, right?

What makes a police officer's life and family more important than mine?

One must wonder if Lt. Freeland has ever busted a gunowner for carrying a concealed firearm in California when that gunowner showed no criminal intent with his firearm. If not, have any of his buddies busted our countrymen?

 

The maze of laws across jurisdictions is unfair/hard for cops.

LEAA's Federal Affairs Director, Laura Griffith, said in their Summer/Fall 2000 issue of Shields:

The "maze of jurisdictional boundaries in which officers live and work...demonstrates the practical need for H.R. 218 to be written into federal law."

Police are "caught in the jurisdictional trap where they are transformed from defenders of the law into potential law-breakers, as they carry their firearms into prohibited regions."

That same patchwork of wildly varied laws exists for citizens, too. The only difference is: we don't get treated to "professional courtesy" when we meet up with one of LEAA's allies' members who is enforcing illegal prohibitions against our right to keep and bear arms.

In other words, tough. Don't enforce laws against The People and expect sympathy from The People when those laws get enforced against you.

 

So cops don't get arrested when they carry where it's illegal to do so.

LEAA's Federal Affairs Director, Laura Griffith, said in their Summer/Fall 2000 issue of Shields:

"One of the most blatant examples of the injustices posed to law enforcement officers by the absence of H.R. 218 as national policy was documented by LEAA in 1995. An officer from Prince George's County, Maryland, was on vacation in North Carolina. During a 'routine' traffic stop, the visiting officer, as a matter of courtesy, told the Carolina state trooper that he had a firearm in the vehicle. The Maryland officer was immediately arrested for carrying a concealed firearm."

(In case that quote gets pulled from their site, here is a screenshot.)

So a sworn police officer breaks a law the likes of which he himself enforces and LEAA presents it to the world as if we're all supposed to feel mortified when he gets caught and has to eat the same porridge he serves?  Interestingly, they're talking about an LEO from a police department in Maryland — where a "regular" citizen has to be just this side of immortal to get a concealed carry permit — that has been exposed for shooting unarmed local residents to death with impunity.

The Law of Cosmic Justice seems to be working just fine.

How enlightening it is to see NRA's Cop Group crying that a police officer who enforces gun bans against NRA members was busted for violating a gun law — while NRA pushes for zero tolerance enforcement of unConstitutional gun laws against the people.

Rush right out and write a fat check to "My NRA" now that you know you're so respected as a gun owner.

 

If you don't support H.R. 218, you hate cops.

LEAA's Jim Fotis quotes then-President Gilbert Gallegos as having:

"chastised HCI and its law enforcement allies for turning their backs on H.R. 218 and, subsequently, on the right of law enforcement officers to protect their lives..."

Then Mr. Fotis informs us:

"As always we're anticipating stiff resistance from Handgun Control Inc. and those few politicians who repeatedly attack gun rights and law enforcement. But now we can put HCI's claim of being pro-police to a true litmus test and demonstrate once and for all that Handgun Control Inc is no friend of law enforcement."

So there you have it. If you do not support unConstitutional, elitist, hypocritical, immoral, states'-rights-usurping federal legislation that violates the "equal protection under the law" doctrine; removes support for the right to keep and bear arms from the law enforcement community; gives more ammo to anti-gunners; empowers elitism in law enforcement; builds gun owner resentment; and goes against dozens of gun rights groups and leaders, you're "turning your back" on law enforcement and are not "pro-police." In other words, let's just say it: you're a COP HATER.

This tactic is reminiscent of having anti-gunners call gun owners baby killers when we defy their legislation.

QUESTION FOR JIM FOTIS:

Are the gun rights groups and leaders who oppose Cops-Only National Concealed Carry cop haters, too? And are the many esteemed law enforcement officers in each of the groups also cop haters, as well?

 

Do it for NYC's dead cops.

An October 3, 2001 LEAA Press Release offers the following:

"pass it to honor the valiant members of America's thin blue line who have shown us how heroic they can be when they risked their lives on September 11"

NOTE: That was the same exact date NRA published their promotion of the Fraternal Order of Police's endorsement of H.R. 218.  (Archived copy of LEAA's above-mentioned press release is right here.)

How many times have we seen anti-gunners use Columbine to pimp their agenda? The law enforcement officers who gave their lives at the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 hadn't been dead for a month yet — many of their bodies were still under the rubble, and some still are — and LEAA is using them to promote this bill. (USNewswire.com's service isn't cheap either — more than a few of LEAA's non-LEO members might resent their using their money that way.)

So does that mean that if we don't support H.R. 218, we are dishonoring the fallen police officers in New York City? No. But LEAA would apparently like you to think so.

 

To "restore...dignity" to cops.

LEAA's Federal Affairs Director, Laura Griffith, said in their Summer/Fall 2000 issue of Shields:

"H.R. 218 will restore the 'privileges and immunities' and the professional dignity, that comes with the job..."

"Dignity" is what a newly-expecting mother gets to keep when she puts a bullet through a knife-wielding would-be rapist's black heart. Restore that option to every woman in America — stand for nothing less — and you, LEAA, will receive our undying loyalty.

Your desire to restore cops' dignities when far too many police officers will put that same woman in jail if they catch her carrying her Rapist Prevention Tool — without also standing for equally-timed decriminalization for her right to self-defense — puts you on the same level as any run-of-the-mill police-statist from the farthest Left of the Democrat Party.

 

So cops can "protect themselves and others."

LEAA's Federal Affairs Director, Laura Griffith, said in their Summer/Fall 2000 issue of Shields that H.R. 218 should be passed so police officers can "protect themselves and others." She also said to pass this bill in case LEOs "happen upon a life-threatening situation while off-duty."

News Flash: Citizens are on duty to protect themselves 24 hours a day. What about The People mentioned in "the right of the people to keep and bear arms"?  What about these people who successfully protected themselves and others with firearms? They each encountered life threatening situations and handled them effectively.

What is it about an employee of government that makes him or her so much more worthy of protection that we should grant such access while it is denied The People?

 

To "utilize [cops'] expertise."

LEAA's Jim Fotis said in the Fall of 1999:

"We must utilize [police officers'] expertise while allowing officers - who when off-duty are citizens - the right to protect themselves..."

Let's play with some numbers. There are in the neighborhood of a million law enforcement officers in America. (That number may be off one way or the other, but not by enough that it would alter the general point I'm about to make.) And there are some 90,000,000 gun owners in America. That's 90 to 1 in favor of gun owners. Now let's assume that at least one of those 90 gun owners can out-shoot and out-perform a police officer in a confrontational situation requiring a firearm. Given widespread, longstanding rumors, backed up by plenty of evidence, that some law enforcement officers aren't exactly marksmen, it might stand to reason that there is more "expertise" in the non-LEO community than there is in the LEO community.

And after having studied everything I could get my hands on that Jim Fotis has said or written about his H.R. 218, I can tell you why he put that "who when off duty are citizens" in there. First, he'd like to see law enforcement officers come to understand the right to keep and bear arms and to remember that their off-duty time makes them a citizen (a citizen who generally enjoys a free pass called "professional courtesy," of course). But more importantly, he'd like to have gun owners think he puts their interests on the same level as the interests of police officers, when nothing could be further from the truth. He's been willing, repeatedly, to pass his bill to the absolute exclusion of THE PEOPLE — even if it was tacked on to gun control legislation.

He'd declare a victory today if the President signed his bill as submitted.

Sweet talk about gun rights loyalty is all well and good, but a track record of selling out your allies speaks much louder than cooing. Jim Fotis, like too many who are walking, promoting and/or profiting from that "thin blue line," puts LEOs and their wants, needs and desires above the United States Constitution and the people it was written to serve. If you want to hear the things about the Law Enforcement Alliance of America — NRA's cop group — that you'll never get addressed by Jim Fotis, go do some reading on their history of ethics problems, their losses of large groups with whom they were affiliated and plenty more:

 

It will move us one step closer to restoring the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

I saved the biggest joke for last, largely because some very well-meaning gun owners have bought into it.

First of all, if an anti-gun police organization's members actively violate their oaths to uphold, protect and defend the United States Constitution — from which the Bill of Rights cannot be separated — by enforcing gun bans, gun confiscations and by aggressively defying moves to legalize freedom, believing these same people are going to have a 180 degree turnaround after we further increase their gun-superiority over the people is insane. I refuse to pay homage to such absurdity by giving it another thought.

Instead of deceiving ourselves, let's look at the concept of "incrementalism." One respected gun rights leader who said he supported the concept of Cops-Only Concealed Carry Exemptions (but refused to publicly stand on his position, or even to debate it rationally) said it "could" be an incremental move toward greater acceptance of armed citizens.  ("Could" is a smooth word for "gamble," and gambling with Liberty is for fools.) However, if we are to be intellectually honest, we cannot ignore the fact that LEOs would only be granted this exemption because they are cops — not because they are citizens.

Dictionary.com defines "incrementalism" as "social or political gradualism." And "gradualism" is defined as "The belief in or the policy of advancing toward a goal by gradual, often slow stages." [emphasis mine]

So what is the goal toward which Cops-Only National Concealed Carry Exemptions would move us? To answer that question rightly, logic necessitates that we assess what it does in reality:

1)  exempts police officers from the very laws they enforce against the people, in essence creating yet another immunity for enforcement agents of local, state and federal governments

2)  reduces law enforcement support for national concealed carry decriminalization for the people

3)  fosters cop superiority complexes, both within and outside of law enforcement

4)  gives more ammo to the enemies of Liberty

5)  violates the United States Constitution

6)  federalizes local and state law enforcement in a way unprecedented in America

7)  opens the door to complicated lawsuits that would ultimately be funded by taxpayers

8)  assures a marked increase in the resentment many long-suffering gun owners feel

That is what Cops-Only National Concealed Carry Exemptions does in reality. If you want to move incrementally toward more of that, I encourage you to read Unintended Consequences by John Ross and know that his rosy picture of how the next American Revolution would go down is a pie-in-the-sky fantasy that grossly understates the mayhem that awaits our nation if we don't stop the onslaught of the American Police State through peaceful, civil means.

Finally, nobody has yet used logic and reason to explain how doing all of the above is going to help the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and I cannot imagine it happening no matter how hard I try. So I invite you, below, to show me. I'll close this section with a quote from a friend of mine and one of my favorite gun rights leaders. Russ Howard, former NRA Director and the only person I know who ever resigned from their board over ethics issues, had the following to say on incrementalism:

"Incrementalism works for some causes and interests, but that does not mean it works for all. It works for government, anti-freedom, and business special interests because they have natural means & motive to continuously exploit opportunities. For other causes, it can be a harmful prescription. Government & police state interests need not consciously exploit incrementalism — it's always there working — whereas it does not naturally work in a self-propelling, self-perpetuating way for the forces of freedom."

"It'd make sense for citizen gun rights activists to support police carry first (PC1) instead of a package with expanded citizen carry if it made it easier to expand citizen carry later. Unfortunately, logic, common sense, and 225 years of evidence all say it's a sucker bet. I'm still waiting for a serious argument that supporting standalone PC1 incents and does not hurt expanded citizen carry. I do see vague references to arguments not made, probably because they're ludicrous and embarrassing, like the gullible and even delusional notion that helping the police get more power will make them feel grateful and compelled to help expand citizen carry."

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Conclusion

Some people claiming to be gun owners' friends aren't living up to their claims. Rabid anti-gun-rights people are allied with gun rights people and groups who feed themselves from gun owners' back pockets while slapping them in their trusting faces.

There are numerous valid reasons to oppose any move to federally empower local law enforcement officers so they can exercise rights denied the people. The People deserve at least equal access to the right and means to self-defense, and anything that goes against that basic fact is unwelcome in a free society.

H.R. 218 is trash. Oppose it. Any time it looks like it's going to get a hearing, shout it down, and kill it.

Be leery of any gun rights leader or group who tries to tell you this bill is a good thing. Their excuses for supporting this unConstitutional Police State Advancement Bill do not hold water, cannot withstand close scrutiny and crumble under logic and reason. If you disagree, make your assertions and prove them with reason, logic, the Constitution and history as your guides — then tell us all about it.

Any time a politically conservative group must resort to claiming allegiance with blatant violators of the very cause to which they profess service, there is true justification for concern surrounding the issue where they've done so. Caution is advised before supporting a gun-related cause that attracts anti-Second-Amendment people but denies We The People any of the bounty.

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Take Action

Fight Against H.R. 218

To check current status of the bill, you can click here.

Though the House Judiciary Committee claims the bill isn't slated for hearing this session, the bill comes up every year. We need to make a pact to see how many of these co-sponsors we can turn away from next year's version.

To see if your congressmember is one of 251 co-sponsors of the bill, click here. (If you don't know who your Representatives are, now is a good time to click here and find out.) If he or she supports this Liberty Travesty, use your telephone and your fax machine to insist a pull out, and give explicit reasons why they need to do so immediately. Send them the link to this website: http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com/CopsOnlyCCW.  Use GOA's Legislative Action Center to grab contact information on your Rep., and get after it right now.

To see how LEAA is currently promoting the bill, click here.

Email H.R. 218's Supporters:

NRA:  membership@nrahq.org, ILA-Contact@nrahq.org
Rep. Bob Barr: 
barr.ga@mail.house.gov
LEAA: leaa.membership@erols.com
LEAA's H.R. 218 Group: info@copconcealedcarry.com
Neal Knox: 
nknoxn@aol.com
KABA Liberty Letters (so we can print your letter): Letters@KeepAndBearArms.com

MAKE TOLL-FREE CALLS:

NRA: 1-800-672-3888
LEAA: (800) 766-8578

Rep. Bob Barr: D.C. (202) 225-2931, Georgia: (770) 429-1776, (770) 836-1776, (706) 812-1776, (706) 290-1776

CURRENT STATUS

LEAA says H.R. 218 is "being held hostage" by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Email Rep. Sensenbrenner and tell him to hold onto the bill as if it was a satchel full of gold: sensen09@mail.house.gov. Or, better yet, call him and tell him to come pick up some ammo to justify holding the bill by reading this report. Enough pleas to do so, and he may just stop on by:

Brookfield, Wisconsin Office
120 Bishops Way, Room 154

Brookfield, WI 53005
Telephone: (262) 784-1111
Outside Milwaukee Metro Area: 1-800-242-1119

Washington, D.C. Office
2332 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515-4909
Telephone: (202) 225-5101

 

Spread the Word

SEND the following website address to people who care about gun rights and freedom and ask them to get involved: http://KeepAndBearArms.com/CopsOnlyCCW/

USE our Cops-Only Concealed Carry Cartoons — on your website, in your newsletter, through email, wherever: http://KeepAndBearArms.com/CopsOnlyCCW/cartoons.asp. If you print them somewhere, provide a link to the main website address so more people can find out about — and oppose — this nonsense.

HAVE me on your radio program. I can handle this issue quite well on the fly, and we'll make it fun. There's plenty of material here to formulate good questions, and I'll be quite direct and thorough — dodging questions is for people who hold the moral low ground. Email me at alangottlieb@KeepAndBearArms.com with a subject of Cops-Only_CCW_RADIO_CHAT. Or, better yet, schedule a debate between me and any of the folks who support H.R. 218, get us the biggest audience you can muster, and let's go toe to toe. Just give a couple of days lead time so we can make sure and generate as many listeners as possible — preferably on a broadcast that can be heard online, recorded, and rebroadcast over and over again at people's leisure.

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Acknowledgements

Special thanks and sincere gratitude go to our Newslinks Director, Melissa Seaman, for her extensive research for a major section of this report. People with her level dedication to Liberty are few and far between, and I am honored to call her my friend. Also deserving of acknowledgment are Tony Branco and Scott Bieser — the cartoons they produced in support of this report are excellent.

 

QUOTES TO REMEMBER...
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins ... Society is in every state a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. — THOMAS PAINE

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