E-Newsletter Edition: May 7, 2008
Response Provided By: Brian S. Batterton
Always note that state law may be more restrictive on police power than the U.S. Constitution.
Can federal bureau of prison “correctional officers” carry concealed weapons off duty like law enforcement officers? Do they fall under H.R.218?
18 U.S.C. 926B allows “qualified law enforcement officers” to carry their weapons in any state subject to a few exception. Therefore, the answer to this question depends upon whether a Federal Bureau of Prisons correctional officer meets the definition of a qualified law enforcement officer. A qualified law enforcement officer is defined by Section 926B(c) as follows:
…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;
(5) is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance; and
(6) is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm.
Thus, if a Federal Bureau of Prisons correctional officer has the powers of arrest, is authorized by his/her agency to carry a firearm, is not under disciplinary action, meets agency qualification standards for firearms, is sober and not prohibited by Federal law from possessing a firearm, then the officer may lawfully carry under this statute.
Of course, if an individual state, under its own law, wishes to allow these correctional officers to carry firearms, then they may carry under state law.