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Once again qualified retired law enforcement officers who are interested in carrying a concealed weapon under federal law will this year be able to qualify to meet state standards for firearms qualifications at the Harrison Police Department in June.

House Bill 218, often called the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), was signed into law in 2004 by then-President George W. Bush.

LEOSA allows all law enforcement officers, both active and retired, to carry a concealed handgun anywhere in the United States if they meet certain criteria.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a “qualified retired law enforcement officer” is one who:

• Is retired in good standing from a public law enforcement agency, other than for reasons of mental instability.

• Was, before retirement, “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.”

• Had been regularly employed as an officer for at least 10 years or who retired after completing the department’s required probationary period due to a service-connected disability.

• Has a non-forfeitable right to benefits under the retirement plan in question.

• Has met, at his/her own expense, the state’s standards for training and qualification for active law enforcement officers to carry firearms.

• Is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance.

• Is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm.

Meeting the state’s standards for qualifications is where the HPD comes into play.

Officials say the retired officers must bring their own firearm for the 50-round qualifying course. Retired officers also need to supply their own ammunition and show their retired ID cards.

The goal is to set a certain date when several interested retired officers can go through the firearms qualification instead of doing a few every now and then.

The purpose of qualifying is to make sure officers handle the firearm properly, that they are familiar with the gun and that they fire them safely. It also gives trainers a chance to make sure the firearm is in good working order. Officers must pass the course with a minimum score of 85 percent.

The date for the event is Wednesday, June 10, at 9 a.m. at the HPD’s firing range on Silver Valley Road.

Interested retired officers are asked to contact Leta Price at the HPD at (870) 741-5463.

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