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                                                       Calendar No. 761
107th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     107-345

======================================================================
 
            THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS SAFETY ACT OF 2002

                                _______
                                

               November 19, 2002.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Leahy, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                         [To accompany S. 2480]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 2480) to amend title 18, United States Code, to exempt 
qualified current and former law enforcement officers from 
State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon, and 
recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose..........................................................1
 II. Background on the Legislation....................................2
III. Need for the Legislation.........................................2
 IV. Hearings.........................................................5
  V. Committee Consideration..........................................5
 VI. Votes of the Committee...........................................6
VII. Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.......................6
VIII.Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................7

 IX. Regulatory Impact Statement......................................8
  X. Minority View of Senator Kennedy.................................9
 XI. Changes in Existing Law.........................................14

                               I. Purpose

    The purpose of S. 2480, the ``Law Enforcement Officers 
Safety Act of 2002,'' is to amend title 18, United States Code, 
to authorize qualified off-duty law enforcement officers and 
qualified retired law enforcement officers carrying the 
photographic identification issued by the governmental agency 
for which the individual is, or was, employed as a law 
enforcement officer to carry a concealed firearm that has been 
shipped or transported to interstate or foreign commerce. This 
act, however, does not seek to supersede Federal law or limit 
the laws of any State that permits private persons or entities 
to prohibit or restrict the possessions of concealed firearms 
on their property; or prohibits or restricts the possession of 
firearms on any State or local government property, 
installation, building, base, or park.

                   II. Background on the Legislation

    The ``Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act,'' S. 2480, was 
introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy and 
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Republican Member Hatch on 
May 8, 2002. Forty-one Senators--including Senate Judiciary 
Committee members Thurmond, McConnell, Edwards, Feinstein, 
Grassley, Sessions, Brownback, Cantwell, DeWine and Kyl--have 
cosponsored the bill in an effort to make communities safer and 
to better protect law enforcement officers and their families.
    Representative Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham first introduced 
similar legislation in the 102nd Congress as the National 
Police and Peace Officer Protection Act,'' H.R. 4897, which was 
cosponsored by 15 House Members. It was referred to the House 
Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice 
for consideration, but the Subcommittee took no action on the 
bills.
    Representative Cunningham reintroduced versions of this 
legislation in the House in the 103rd, 104th, 105th, 106th, and 
107th Congresses. In the 105th Congress, as the ``Community 
Protection Act,'' this legislation was ordered to be reported, 
as amended, by voice vote by the House Judiciary Committee and 
placed on the Union Calendar. No further action, however, was 
taken on the bill in the 105th Congress. In 1999, the House of 
Representatives adopted similar legislation, by a vote of 372-
53, as a floor amendment during its gun safety debate before 
the overall legislation was defeated.
    For the 107th Congress, Representative Cunningham 
reintroduced the ``Community Protection Act,'' H.R. 218 on 
January 3, 2001, and it has garnered 268 cosponsors. On 
November 11, 2001, a motion was filed to discharge the Rules 
Committee from consideration of H. Res. 271, which provides for 
the consideration of H.R. 218. The discharge petition (No. 107-
4) presently has 46 of the required 218 signatures for further 
action.

                     III. Need for the Legislation

    Chairman Leahy introduced the ``Local Law Enforcement 
Officers Safety Act'' in the Senate at the request of the 
National President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), 
Lieutenant Steve Young of Ohio. Lt. Young and the FOP have long 
dedicated themselves to this matter, and led the campaign to 
focus Congress on this measure that will help make our 
communities safer and protect those who are sworn to guard and 
serve the American public.
    Law enforcement officers are never ``off-duty.'' They are 
dedicated public servants trained to uphold the law and keep 
the peace. When there is a threat to the peace or to our public 
safety, law enforcement officers are sworn to answer that call. 
The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act enables law enforcement 
officers nationwide to be armed and prepared when they answer 
that call, no matter where, when, or in what form it comes.
    There are approximately 740,000 sworn law enforcement 
officers currently serving in the United States. Since the 
first recorded police death in 1792, there have been more than 
16,200 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. A 
total of 1,800 law enforcement officers died in the line of 
duty over the last decade, an average of 180 deaths per year. 
In 2001 alone, there were 232 police deaths, representing a 49-
percent increase from the 156 officers who died in 2000. 
Roughly 5 percent of officers who die are killed taking law 
enforcement action while in an off-duty capacity. On average, 
more than 62,000 law enforcement officers are assaulted each 
year, resulting in some 21,000 injuries.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ ``The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc.'' See http://
www.odmp.org/. See also ``Law Enforcement Officers Killed and 
Assaulted--2001 (Preliminary).'' U.S. Department of Justice, Federal 
Bureau of Investigations, Uniform Crime Reports.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While a police officer may not remember the name and face 
of every criminal he or she has locked behind bars, criminals 
often have long and exacting memories. A law enforcement 
officer is a target in uniform and out; active and retired; on 
duty and off.
    The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2002 is designed 
to protect officers and their families from vindictive 
criminals, and to allow thousands of equipped, trained and 
certified law enforcement officers, whether on-duty, off-duty 
or retired, to carry concealed firearms in most situations, 
thus enabling them to respond immediately to a crime across 
State and other jurisdictional lines.
    As Lt. Steve Young stated in his July 23, 2002, testimony 
before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

          Among the many tools of a professional law 
        enforcement officer are the badge and the gun. The 
        badge symbolizes the officer's authority and, in worst-
        case scenarios, the gun enforces that authority. These 
        tools are given to the officer in trust by the public 
        to enforce the peace and fight crime. In asking 
        Congress to pass this bill, we seek a measured 
        extension of that trust. In certain emergency 
        circumstances, an officer's knowledge and training 
        would be rendered virtually useless without a firearm, 
        as would his ability to provide for his own self-
        defense or that of his family. This bill will provide 
        the means for law enforcement officers to enforce the 
        law, keep the peace and respond to crisis situations by 
        enabling them to put to use that training and answer 
        the call to duty when need arises.

    Today, a complex patchwork of Federal, State, and local 
laws govern the carrying of concealed firearms for current and 
retired law enforcement officers. Many members of the law 
enforcement community, including the FOP, the National 
Association of Police Officers (NAPO), Federal Law Enforcement 
Officers Association (FLEOA), and International Brotherhood of 
Police Officers (IBPO), believe that national legislation is 
necessary because of this patchwork of conceal-carry laws. This 
bill addresses this need by establishing national measures of 
uniformity and consistency to permit law enforcement officers 
to respond immediately to a crime when off duty, as well as to 
protect officers and their families from vindictive criminals.
    The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act creates a mechanism 
by which law enforcement officers may travel interstate with a 
firearm. Qualified active-duty law enforcement officers will be 
permitted to travel interstate with a firearm subject to 
certain limitations and provided that officers are carrying 
their official badges and photographic identification.
    Generally, an active-duty officer is qualified to carry a 
concealed firearm under S. 2480 if he or she is authorized to 
engage in or supervise any violation of law, is authorized to 
carry a firearm at all times, is not subject to any 
disciplinary action by the agency, and meets any agency 
standards with respect to qualification with a firearm. A 
qualified active-duty officer may not, however, carry a 
concealed firearm on any privately owned lands if the owner 
prohibits or restricts such possession. A qualified officer 
also may not carry a firearm on any State or local government 
property, installation, building, base, or park. In his or her 
official capacity, though, a law enforcement officer is 
permitted to carry weapons whenever Federal, State, or local 
law allows. This bill is not intended to interfere with any law 
enforcement officer's right to carry a concealed firearm, on 
private or government property, while on duty or in the course 
of official business.
    Off-duty and retired officers should also be permitted to 
carry their firearms across State and other jurisdictional 
lines, at no cost to taxpayers, in order better to serve and 
protect our communities. The Law Enforcement Officers Safety 
Act would permit qualified law enforcement officers and 
qualified retired law enforcement officers across the Nation to 
carry concealed firearms in most situations. It also preserves, 
however, any State law that permits citizens from restricting a 
concealed firearm on private property and preserves any State 
law that restricts the possession of a firearm on State or 
local government property.
    In order to qualify for the bill's exemptions in permitting 
a qualified off-duty law enforcement officer to carry a 
concealed firearm notwithstanding the law of the State or 
political subdivision of the State, a qualified off-duty law 
enforcement officer must be authorized to use a firearm by the 
law enforcement agency where he or she works, not be subject to 
any disciplinary action, meet the standards of the agency to 
regularly use a firearm, not be prohibited by Federal law from 
receiving a firearm, and be carrying a photo identification 
issued by the agency. The bill preserves any State law that 
restricts concealed firearms on private property, and preserves 
any State law that restricts the possession of a firearm on 
State or local government property or park.
    For a retired law enforcement officer to qualify for 
exemption from State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed 
firearms, he or she must have retired in good standing, have 
been qualified by the agency to carry or use a firearm, have 
been employed at least 15 years as a law enforcement officer 
unless forced to retire due to a service-connected disability, 
have a nonforfeitable right to retirement plan benefits of the 
law enforcement agency, meet the same State firearms training 
and qualifications as an active officer, not be prohibited by 
Federal law from receiving a firearm, and be carrying a photo 
identification issued by the agency. This section preserves any 
State law that restricts concealed firearms on private property 
and preserves any State law that restricts the possession of a 
firearm on State or local government property or park.

                              IV. Hearings

    The Senate Judiciary Committee held one hearing on ``The 
Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, S. 2480,'' on July 23, 
2002. Testimony was received from six witnesses, including 
Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Representative Cunningham. 
The other witnesses were: Lt. Steve Young, national president 
of the Fraternal Order of Police; Mr. Arthur Gordon, a national 
executive board member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers 
Association; Deputy Chief of Police David Johnson of the Cedar 
Rapids Police Department in Cedar Rapids, IA; and Col. Lonnie 
J. Westphal, chief of the Colorado State Patrol.

                       V. Committee Consideration

    On September 19, 2002, the Judiciary Committee met in open 
and executive session to consider S. 2480, the ``Law 
Enforcement Officers Safety Act.''
    The Committee approved by voice vote an amendment 
introduced by Senator Durbin. The Durbin amendment increased 
the service requirement for a retired officer to qualify to 
carry a concealed firearm under the bill from 5 years to 15 
years of regular employment for a law enforcement agency. The 
Durbin amendment also requires retired officers to meet the 
same firearms training qualifications as active law enforcement 
officers. Finally, the Durbin amendment makes it explicit that 
an active officer does not qualify under the bill if he or she 
is prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm.
    Senator Kennedy offered an amendment to bar officers from 
carrying a concealed firearm into another State unless they 
were permitted to carry that particular firearm while on active 
duty. The Committee, on a 9 to 9 rollcall vote, defeated this 
amendment. The Committee did not complete consideration of S. 
2480 on September 19.
    On October 8, 2002, the Committee continued consideration 
of S. 2480 but did not complete consideration of the bill.
    On November 14, 2002, the Committee adopted, without 
objection, an amendment by Chairman Leahy and Senator Hatch to 
clarify that the legislation does not cover any machine gun (as 
defined in section 5845 of title 26), any firearm silencer (as 
defined in section 921 of title 18) and any destructive device 
(as defined in section 921 of title 18). The Committee then 
ordered the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act to be reported 
favorably to the full Senate, with Senator Kennedy dissenting, 
with a recommendation that the bill do pass.

                       VI. Votes of the Committee

    The Committee approved by voice vote the amendment by 
Senator Durbin.
    The rollcall vote on the amendment by Senator Kennedy 
barring officers from carrying any concealed firearm unless the 
officer was authorized and qualified to carry that same firearm 
was as follows:
    Tally: 9 Yes, 9 No, 1 Not Voting

Democrats (10)

N  Leahy (D-VT.)
Y  Kennedy (D-Mass.)
Y  Biden (D-Del.)
Y  Kohl (D-Wis.)
Y  Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Y  Feingold (D-Wis.)
Y  Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Y  Durbin (D-Ill.)
Y  Cantwell (D-Wash.)
NV  Edwards (D-N.C.)

Republicans (9)

N  Hatch (R-Utah)
N  Thurmond (R-S.C.)
N  Grassley (R-Iowa)
Y  Specter (R-Pa.)
N  Kyl (R-Ariz.)
N  DeWine (R-Ohio)
N  Sessions (R-Ala.)
N  Brownback (R-Kan.)
N  McConnell (R-Ky.)

    The Committee approved without objection the amendment by 
Senator Leahy and Senator Hatch regarding the types of firearms 
covered by the legislation.
    The Committee then ordered the Law Enforcement Officers 
Safety Act, as amended, to be reported favorably to the full 
Senate, with Senator Kennedy dissenting, with a recommendation 
that the bill do pass.

            VII. Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 provides that the short title of the bill shall 
be the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2002.

Section 2. Exemption of qualified law enforcement officers from State 
        law prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms

    Section 2 would permit qualified law enforcement officers 
to carry a concealed firearm notwithstanding the law of the 
State or political subdivision of the State. A qualified law 
enforcement officer under this section must be authorized to 
use a firearm by the law enforcement agency where he or she 
works, not be subject to any disciplinary action, meet the 
standards of the agency to regularly use a firearm, not be 
prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm, and be 
carrying a photo identification issued by the agency. This 
section preserves any State law that restricts concealed 
firearms on private property and preserves any State law that 
restricts the possession of a firearm on State or local 
government property or park. This section does not supercede 
any other Federal law.

Section 3. Exemption of qualified retired law enforcement officers from 
        State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms

    Section 3 would permit a qualified retired law enforcement 
officer to carry a concealed firearm notwithstanding the law of 
the State or political subdivision of the State. A qualified 
retired law enforcement officer under this section must have 
retired in good standing, have been qualified by the agency to 
carry or use a firearm, have been employed at least 15 years as 
a law enforcement officer unless forced to retire due to a 
service-connected disability, have a nonforfeitable right to 
retirement plan benefits of the law enforcement agency, 
annually meet State firearms training and qualifications that 
are the same as active law enforcement officers, not be 
prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm, and be 
carrying a photo identification issued by the agency. This 
section preserves any State law that permits or restricts 
concealed firearms on private property and preserves any State 
law that restricts the possession of a firearm on State or 
local government property or park. This section does not 
supercede any other Federal law.

            VIII. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
standing rules of the Senate, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, S. 2480, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, November 19, 2002.
Hon. Patrick J. Leahy,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2480, the Law 
Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2002.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Mark 
Grabowicz (for federal costs) and Angela Seitz (for the state 
and local impact).
            Sincerely,
                                         Robert A. Sunshine
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

S. 2480--Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2002

    S. 2480 would exempt certain current and former law 
enforcement officers from state laws prohibiting the carrying 
of concealed handguns. CBO estimates that the bill would have 
no impact on federal spending. The legislation would not affect 
direct spending or receipts.
    S. 2480 would impose an intergovernmental mandate as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) because it 
would preempt certain state and local laws that prohibit 
carrying concealed weapons. CBO estimates that complying with 
that mandate would result in no direct costs to state and local 
governments, and thus the costs of that mandate would not 
exceed the threshold established by that act ($58 million in 
2002, adjusted annually for inflation). S. 2480 contains no new 
private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Mark Grabowicz 
(for federal costs) and Angela Seitz (for the impact on state 
and local governments). This estimate was approved by Peter H. 
Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    IX. Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b)(1), rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee, after due 
consideration, concludes that S. 2480 will not have significant 
regulatory impact.

             X. MINORITY VIEW OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY

    The horrific sniper shootings in Maryland, Virginia, and 
the District of Columbia in October 2002 called our attention 
once again to the problem of gun violence facing our nation: 
the pointless injury and loss of life, the families that are 
ripped apart, the communities consumed in fear. Tens of 
thousands of people in the United States die from gunshot 
wounds each year. The rate of firearm deaths among children is 
nearly twelve times higher in the United States than in other 
industrial countries.
    The national response to this death toll has been minimal. 
Americans overwhelmingly favor responsible gun-safety measures. 
Nevertheless, Congress has to this point failed to close the 
``gun show loophole,'' which allows firearms to be purchased 
illegally at gun shows, no questions asked. Similarly, efforts 
to enact a national ballistic tracking system, which would 
strengthen the ability of law enforcement to catch serial 
killers, have stalled.
    Instead of pursuing such needed gun-safety measures, the 
Judiciary Committee has passed S. 2480, the ``Law Enforcement 
Officers Safety Act,'' a bill that would undermine gun-safety 
laws that have been passed by State and local governments. It 
is a giant step in the wrong direction.
    The Majority argues that S. 2480 is necessary to protect 
active and retired officers and their families from 
``vindictive'' criminals. It points to ``a complex patchwork of 
Federal, state and local laws'' that govern the carrying of 
concealed weapons. However, while the safety of police officers 
is a goal of the highest importance, there is no evidence that 
a national override of State and local gun-safety laws is 
necessary to achieve this goal.
    The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the primary supporter 
of this bill, has submitted two lists of officers and prison 
guards who were killed while off-duty or retired. The stories 
of these slain men and women are tragic. Their killers deserve 
to be severely punished. But not one of these incidents 
involved an officer who was killed outside his or her home 
state. Indeed, these lists show that States and local 
governments are best equipped to implement policies, 
regulations, and laws that protect the safety of their own law 
enforcement officers, and also protect the public at large.
    Consider one of the FOP's most recent examples. In New 
Jersey, retired police chief John Deventer was shot while 
heroically trying to stop a robbery. This incident prompted New 
Jersey to enact a law allowing retired officers to carry 
handguns under a number of conditions. In drafting this law, 
now codified at N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6(1), the New Jersey legislature 
made a deliberate effort to balance the safety of police 
officers with the safety of the public at large. The Majority 
offers no reason why Congress shall second-guess this State's 
decision, or the considered judgment of any other State--
particularly when S. 2480 fails to provide the basic safeguards 
that the New Jersey legislature considered necessary even in 
the wake of Chief Deventer's shooting. Unlike New Jersey's 
statute, S. 2480:
           does not set a maximum age;
           does not have an annual application process;
           does not require retirees to list all their 
        guns;
           does not give police departments discretion 
        to deny permits; and
           is not limited to handguns.
    A comparison of the balanced New Jersey statute with the 
sweeping approach of S. 2480 argues against, not for, enactment 
of this federal legislation.
    The Majority claims that it is advancing the interests of 
law enforcement by allowing off-duty and retired officers ``to 
carry their firearms across State and other jurisdiction lines 
* * * in order better to serve and protect our communities.'' I 
strongly favor giving State and local police departments all 
the resources they need to fight and prevent crime. I am proud 
to have played a leading role in increasing by more than 
100,000 the number of police officers in our communities 
through the 1994 Crime Act. I question, however, the Majority's 
assertion that communities will be safer if we override gun-
safety laws for the purpose of arming out-of-State off-duty and 
retired police officers. The evidence is to the contrary.
    S. 2480 is strongly opposed by the Police Executive 
Research Forum and the International Association of Chiefs of 
Police (IACP). These law enforcement organizations understand 
the potential of this bill to undermine the safety of our 
communities and the safety of police officers. As Colonel 
Lonnie Westphal of the IACP stated in testimony to our 
Committee in July:

          [O]ne of the reasons that this legislation is 
        especially troubling to our nation's law enforcement 
        executives is because [it] could in fact threaten the 
        safety of police officers by creating tragic situations 
        where officers from other jurisdictions are wounded or 
        killed by the local officers. Police Departments 
        throughout the nation train their officers to respond 
        as a team to dangerous situations. This teamwork 
        requires months of training to develop and provides the 
        officers with an understanding of how their coworkers 
        will respond when faced with different situations. 
        Injecting an armed, unknown officer, who has received 
        different training and is operating under different 
        assumptions, can turn an already dangerous situation 
        deadly.

    S. 2480 does not simply override State law for active 
police officers. It does so for retired officers also--and, 
indeed, for anyone who has served in a law enforcement capacity 
for fifteen years in the ``aggregate''--before resigning and 
moving on to a different job. There is no requirement that a 
retiree demonstrate a special need for a firearm.
    While S. 2480 provides that an officer must have 
technically left law enforcement in ``good standing,'' it is 
well known that sub-par employees can be released from their 
jobs without a formal finding of misconduct. This bill does not 
draw a distinction between officers who served ably and those 
who did not. Officers who retire in ``good standing'' while 
under investigation for domestic violence, racial profiling, 
excessive force, or substance abuse could still qualify for 
broad concealed-carry authority for the rest of their lives. 
Furthermore, as the IACP has observed:

          [T]his legislation fails to take into account those 
        officers who have retired under threat of disciplinary 
        action or dismissal for emotional problems that did not 
        rise to the level of ``mental instability.'' Officers 
        who retire or quit just prior to a disciplinary or 
        competency hearing may still be eligible for benefits 
        and appear to have left the agency in good standing. 
        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, but they will not be overseen by a 
        police management structure that identifies such 
        problems in current officers.

    Indeed, although Senator Durbin's amendment of September 19 
clarified somewhat the firearms training standards that retired 
officers must meet, these officers will not be subject to any 
continuing police department policies or guidelines. Thus, if 
it passes this bill, Congress will be effectively extending to 
former police officers greater authority to carry concealed 
weapons than it extends to active police officers.
    Furthermore, in granting off-duty and retired police 
officers broad authority to violate State and local gun-safety 
laws, S. 2480 is not limited to the carrying of officers' 
authorized weapons. In most police departments, officers may 
seek authorization to carry a range of weapons. If an officer 
wants to carry a weapon other than his service weapon--
typically, a nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol--he must 
show that he is qualified before the department will authorize 
him to carry it. To be qualified, the officer must demonstrate 
that he can handle that weapon safely.
    Rather than limiting itself to authorized weapons, the 
initial version of S. 2480 provided that so long as an officer 
received authorization to carry a particular kind of firearm 
(such as his service weapon), he could carry concealed any 
other kind of firearm while off-duty or retired--even if he 
never received authorization from his own police department to 
carry that weapon, and regardless of all applicable State and 
local laws. Even worse, under federal law the term ``firearm'' 
is defined extremely broadly. It includes ``any weapon 
(including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may 
readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an 
explosive''--and ``any destructive device.'' 18 U.S.C. 
Sec. 921(a)(3). Thus, under the initial version of S. 2480, so 
long as an officer had been at some point authorized to use his 
service weapon on the job, he could carry a concealed bomb or 
grenade while off-duty.
    On September 19, 2002, I introduced an amendment providing 
that an off-duty or retired officer could carry a concealed 
firearm only if he had been authorized to carry that firearm by 
the agency he works for, or if he had been so authorized at the 
time of his retirement. The Committee rejected this amendment 
by an evenly divided 9-9 vote.
    On November 14, the Committee adopted without objection an 
amendment by Chairman Leahy and Senator Hatch providing that S. 
2480 does not authorize the carrying of machine guns, 
silencers, and destructive devices such as bombs and grenades. 
This amendment takes a step in the direction of common sense. 
Clearly, no civilian--not even an off-duty or retired police 
officer--needs to carry a machine gun, bomb, or grenade. It is 
equally clear, however, that off-duty and retired officers do 
not need to carry concealed shotguns or long-range sniper 
rifles. S. 2480 will still override State and local laws that 
prohibit such dangerous weapons, and will still allow off-duty 
and retired officers to carry a wide range of weapons which 
their own police departments do not allow them to carry. The 
idea that Americans will be safer if we allow more people to 
carry such weapons is pure fiction.
    S. 2480 does little to preserve ``safe harbors'' from gun 
violence that currently exist under State and local laws. Many 
States and local governments now single out places as needing 
special protection from the scourge of gun violence. Michigan, 
for example, prohibits concealed firearms in schools, sports 
arenas, bars, churches, and hospitals. Georgia law allows 
active and retired police officers to carry firearms in 
publicly owned buildings, but not in churches, sports arenas, 
or places where alcohol is sold. Kentucky prohibits carrying 
concealed firearms in government buildings, bars, and schools. 
South Carolina prohibits concealed firearms at school athletic 
events, churches, and hospitals. Rochester, New York, prohibits 
guns in government buildings, on school property, and in public 
parks. Cincinnati prohibits carrying deadly weapons on school 
property.
    Inexplicably, S. 2480 overrides all local gun-safety laws, 
without exception. In the 1990's, cities like Boston and New 
York made great strides in the fight against crime precisely 
because they were able to pass laws that addressed the factors 
that lead to violence--including the prevalence of firearms in 
inner cities. As Congressman Henry Hyde has observed, ``the 
best decisions on fighting crime are made at the local level.'' 
By overriding all local gun-safety laws, S. 2480 will undermine 
the ability of cities to fight crime.
    Even at the State level, S. 2480 will override most ``safe 
harbor'' laws. For example, it will override State laws that 
categorically prohibit guns in churches and other houses of 
worship, since only laws that permit private entities to post 
signs prohibiting concealed firearms on their property will 
remain in force. In most States, churches are not currently 
required to post signs in order to secure a gun-free zone. S. 
2480 also overrides laws that prohibit concealed weapons in 
places where alcohol is served. Surely, it is reasonable for a 
State to prohibit people from bringing guns into bars, to 
prevent the extreme danger that results when liquor and 
firearms are mixed.
    Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun-safety laws in 
the country, including a comprehensive ban on carrying 
concealed weapons without a permit. The decision to grant a 
permit lies in the discretion of local law enforcement 
officials. Massachusetts has taken strong steps to protect our 
citizens, our children, and our communities, and the results 
are clear. The firearm death rate in the State is well below 
the national average.
    There is simply no reason for Congress to second-guess the 
judgment of Massachusetts, Michigan, Georgia, Kentucky, South 
Carolina, or any other State when it comes to protecting its 
citizens from gun violence. Each State and local government 
should be allowed to reach its own judgment as to where 
citizens and out-of-State visitors may carry concealed 
weapons--and whether active or retired law enforcement officers 
should be included in or exempted from any prohibition. In the 
words of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, it 
is ``essential that state and local governments maintain the 
ability to legislate concealed carry laws that best fit the 
needs of their communities.''
    For all of these reasons, I oppose S. 2480.

                                                       Ted Kennedy.

                      XI. Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 2480, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman);

UNITED STATES CODE

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                TITLE 18--CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

Part                                                             Section
    I. CRIMES.................................................         1
     * * * * * * *

                             PART I--CRIMES

Chapter                                                          Section
    1. General provisions.....................................         1
     * * * * * * *
    44. Firearms..............................................       921
     * * * * * * *

                          CHAPTER 44--FIREARMS

Sec.
921. Definitions.
     * * * * * * *
926. Rules and regulations.
926A. Interstate transportation of firearms.
926B. Carrying of concealed firearms by qualified law enforcement 
          officers.
926C. Carrying of concealed firearms by qualified retired law 
          enforcement officers.
     * * * * * * *

Sec. 926A. Interstate transportation of firearms

    Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule 
or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, 
any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from 
transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be 
entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any 
place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, 
during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither 
the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily 
accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger 
compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the 
case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the 
driver's compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be 
contained in a locked container other than the glove 
compartment or console.

Sec. 926B. Carrying of concealed firearms by qualified law enforcement 
                    officers

    (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law of any 
State or any political subdivision thereof, an individual who 
is a qualified law enforcement officer and who is carrying the 
identification required by subsection (d) may carry a concealed 
firearm that has been shipped or transported in interstate or 
foreign commerce, subject to subsection (b).
    (b) This section shall not be construed to supersede or 
limit the laws of any State that--
          (1) permit private persons or entities to prohibit or 
        restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their 
        property; or
          (2) prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms 
        on any State or local government property, 
        installation, building, base, or park.
    (c) As used in this section, the term ``qualified law 
enforcement officer'' means an employee of a governmental 
agency who--
          (1) is authorized by law to engage in or supervise 
        the prevention, detection, investigation, or 
        prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for 
        any violation of law, and has statutory powers of 
        arrest;
          (2) is authorized by the agency to carry a firearm;
          (3) is not the subject of any disciplinary action by 
        the agency;
          (4) meets standards, if any, established by the 
        agency which require the employee to regularly qualify 
        in the use of a firearm; and
          (5) is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a 
        firearm.
    (d) The identification required by this subsection is the 
photographic identification issued by the government agency for 
which the individual is, or was, employed as a law enforcement 
officer.
    (e) Defined Term.--As used in this section, the term 
``firearm'' does not include--
          (1) any machinegun (as defined in section 5845 of 
        title 26);
          (2) any firearm silencer (as defined in section 921); 
        and
          (3) any destructive device (as defined in section 
        921).

Sec. 926C. Carrying of concealed firearms by qualified retired law 
                    enforcement officers

    (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law of any 
State or any political subdivision thereof, an individual who 
is a qualified retired law enforcement officer and who is 
carrying the identification required by subsection (d) may 
carry a concealed firearm that has been shipped or transported 
in interstate or foreign commerce, subject to subsection (b).
    (b) This section shall not be construed to supersede or 
limit the laws of any State that--
          (1) permit private persons or entities to prohibit or 
        restrict the possession of concealed firearms on their 
        property; or
          (2) prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms 
        on any State or local government property, 
        installation, building, base, or park.
    (c) As used in this section, the term ``qualified retired 
law enforcement officer'' means an individual who--
          (1) retired in good standing from service with a 
        public agency as a law enforcement officer, other than 
        for reasons of mental instability;
          (2) before such retirement, was authorized by law to 
        engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, 
        investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration 
        of any person for, any violation of law, and had 
        statutory powers of arrest;
          (3)(A) before such retirement, was regularly employed 
        as a law enforcement officer for an aggregate of 15 
        years or more; or
          (B) retired from service with such agency, after 
        completing any applicable probationary period of such 
        service, due to a service-connected disability, as 
        determined by such agency;
          (4) has a nonforfeitable right to benefits under the 
        retirement plan of the agency;
          (5) during the most recent 12-month period, has met, 
        at the expense of the individual, the State's standards 
        for training and qualification for active law 
        enforcement officers to carry firearms; and
          (6) is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a 
        firearm.
    (d) The identification required by this subsection is 
photographic identification issued by the agency for which the 
individual was employed as a law enforcement officer.
    (e) Defined Term.--As used in this section, the term 
``firearm'' does not include--
          (1) any machinegun (as defined in section 5845 of 
        title 26);
          (2) any firearm silencer (as defined in section 921); 
        and
          (3) a destructive device (as defined in section 921).

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