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
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 weapon.

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 weapons.

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
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.  But...to 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 officers.

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 action
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 yard.

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 pragmatism.
"H.R. 218 doesn't change the politics
and policies of private and public
institutions." ~ 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

But...like 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

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.
Copyright © 2018  Barry M. Baker