However, this law does have limitations.  
Let's say you're a police officer in the state
of Virginia, and you've decided to take some
college classes at Virginia Tech University
during your off-duty hours.  While Virginia
has one of the most liberal concealed carry
laws in the nation, you'd better not be caught
carrying on that campus.  Even after that
horrible massacre of 31 students and faculty
at Virginia Tech, their gun-free zone policy
is being enforced as strictly as ever.  The
fact that you're an off-duty police officer
won't entitle you to be armed.
H.R. 218 doesn't change the politics and
policies of private and public institutions.  
Here's an example of some of the silly stuff
that has always happened and will continue
to happen even with the new law:
Shortly before I retired, I was summonsed
for a court appearance in Glen Burnie, MD
which is located in Anne Arundel County
which shares its northern boarder with
Baltimore City.  

I entered the courthouse behind a uniformed
Maryland State Trooper.  The Trooper
walked through an area around the metal
detector.  Since I was in full uniform, I
followed the Trooper.  I didn't get far before
being stopped by a  security officer who
politely told me that I had to surrender my

While I questioned the court officer as to
why I was required to check my weapon,
three Anne Arundel county police officers
and one Maryland Transportation Authority
officer walked past us into the courthouse
without being required to check their

Now, here I was, a uniformed Baltimore
Police Lieutenant, and a member of the
largest police department in Maryland,
being disarmed under really humiliating
circumstances.  I couldn't get the court
officer to come clean about why only
Baltimore police officers were being
disarmed, but I already knew the reason.  
Some judge or courthouse bureaucrat had a
bone to pick with someone, and this was his
or her juvenile attempt at retaliation.
You're going to learn very quickly that a lot
of people have a total disdain for the
authority you possess, and that handgun you
carry is a powerful symbol of that authority.  
Whenever these types have a chance to
exercise any amount of authority over you,
it's a temptation that's just too good to pass
up.  When they're in a position to lawfully
disarm you, they'll feel like they've died and
gone to heaven.

H.R. 218 is a good law, and it's long
overdue.  However, as a new police officer,
you won't be able to initially comprehend all
the complications that will occur along the
way as the law becomes settled.  For
instance, you could find yourself in another
state and in the midst of a crime in
progress.  The implied intent of H.R. 218
appears to indicate that you're expected to
act. what degree should you act?

Okay...let's say you're a police officer from
Las Vegas, Nevada visiting Baltimore,
Maryland.  You're having a nice dinner in an
upscale restaurant when a disturbance
breaks out.  One of the restaurant's patrons
is obviously intoxicated, and he's become
loud and verbally abusive toward the
restaurant staff and other patrons near to
him.  Additionally, his verbal abuse consists
of threats to commit physical violence.
Since you're from Las Vegas, you probably
have no idea what the Baltimore Police
Department's policy is for an off-duty
Baltimore officer who finds him or herself in
a situation similar to what you're now
experiencing.  You'll find that a lot of police
departments don't want their police officers,
when off-duty, to take enforcement
action(s); unless, such action(s) is absolutely
necessary.  Baltimore is no different.  An
off-duty Baltimore officer's first
responsibility is to contact on-duty police

At this point in your scenario, your only
responsibility under H.R. 218 would be to
contact 911.  But...let's take this to a new
level.  Before the arrival of Baltimore police
officers, this drunken moron acts on his
threats of violence. He picks up his steak
knife, and he goes after his waiter.  At this
point, there's no question that you're going
to act.  Thanks to H.R. 218, you have the
means to threaten or employ deadly force to
the extent it takes to protect lives and
incapacitate the armed suspect.

In this knife scenario you'd act even if you
weren't armed with your handgun.  You'd
most likely arm yourself with a dining room
chair and go for broke.  However, if your
suspect is armed with a gun and you're not,
you'd have few, if any, options for
aggressive action.  

In my mind, it shouldn't be too difficult for
you to comply with H.R. 218 -- even with all
the questions which will arise -- as long as
you act appropriately.  By appropriately, I
mean this:  When you observe criminal
activity, you notify on-duty police officers
and assist the on-duty officer(s) when
needed.  Prior to arrival of an on-duty
officer(s), you should take enforcement
only under imminent life threatening

There's also a thing called police civil
liability.  Just because you act correctly,
whether it be in your own jurisdiction or in
another state, that doesn't mean you can't
be sued.  Can you imagine how much more
complicated things will get if you take
enforcement action in somebody else's back

Never forget this...there's a lot of politicians
who simply hate the idea of H.R. 218.  Just
because it's a law doesn't mean anything to
them.  They'll exploit every weakness and
omission (aka: loophole) in the law to make
an example...and you don't want to be that

There will, for certain, be examples.  It's
inevitable that police officers from other
states will employ the use of their firearms
while in another state.  As long as the use of
deadly force is to protect the officer's life, or
the life of another, there shouldn't be a
problem; unless, it can be argued that the
officer's action(s) prior to the use of deadly
force in some way contributed to the
creation of the deadly force situation.  That
covers a lot of territory, and here's my
simple advice:  keep your mouth shut and
act only when a life is in imminent danger.

H.R. 218 includes retired police officers as
well as active officers.  Retired officers have
a tremendous advantage over new, or much
younger, police officers.  They've been there
and done that, and they're aware of the
dangers of letting altruism supersede
"H.R. 218 doesn't change the politics
and policies of private and public
institutions." ~ Barry M. Baker
Copyright © 2015  Barry M. Baker
Concealed Carry
Law for Cops
In 2007 President Bush signed into law H.R.
218 (full text) giving active and retired
police officers the right to carry a concealed
handgun anywhere in the nation. any new law, this law has more
bugs than you can count.  The creators of
the law envision giving trained police
officers the ability to take enforcement
action to protect life and property no matter
where they might find themselves.  

While a majority of states now issue
concealed carry permits, many are not that
easy to obtain.  In Maryland, for instance,
concealed carry permits are highly
restrictive as to the circumstances under
which you can be armed.  Your desire to
carry a concealed handgun for self
protection will not get you apermit.

As a police officer, you'll probably be
allowed to wear your handgun off-duty
anywhere in the state where your
jurisdiction is located.   Under H.R. 218  
you'll now be allowed to cross state lines
while wearing your handgun
as long as you meet the identification
requirements as outlined in the law.