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On Monday, May 11, 2020, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA)President Larry Cosme and the New Jersey State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police President Robert W. Fox met at the NJFOP Trenton headquarters to announce that they jointly filed a lawsuit against the State of New Jersey for violating qualified active and retired law enforcement officers rights under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA). New Jersey has repeatedly denigrated the federal rights of qualified retired law enforcement officers via establishing a state patchwork of laws that ignore the clear language and rights outline in LEOSA.
President Fox noted, “When an officer takes his or her oath to protect and serve their community, it does not end when the badge comes off and an officer retires. The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) acknowledges this fact and provides qualified, former law enforcement with the opportunity to continue serving the public after their retirement if they feel compelled. When Congress passed LEOSA with wide bipartisan support, they accepted that there are no better trained individuals to respond to a threat than qualified retired law enforcement officers.” Fox continued, “After almost two decades, I am happy that the NJFOP and FLEOA have joined forces in bringing a joint lawsuit against the State of New Jersey pertaining to LEOSA.”
FLEOA President Larry Cosme said, “In the State of New Jersey, we see that criminals at times have easier access to firearms than qualified retired law enforcement officers. The intent of LEOSA was to bring a force multiplier of qualified retired law enforcement officers onto the streets of America, so criminals would think twice before acting. By adding their own regulatory scheme that violates the clear language of LEOSA and making it almost impossible in some cases for an officer to carry their authorized firearm, the State of New Jersey continues to make the public less safe for its residents, who already impacted by the violent crime statistics in some of its major cities.”
Both FLEOA and NJFOP leadership strongly believes this is not a matter of states’ rights or gun rights; it is a matter of public safety.
TRENTON – Governor Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 129, which extends Retired Officer Carry Permits by a period of 90 days until after the ongoing Public Health Emergency ends. The order also creates a process for individuals seeking to obtain or renew a Carry Permit to demonstrate the ability to safely handle and use a handgun as required by existing law.
“Retired law enforcement officers should not need to worry about the expiration of their carry permits,” said Governor Murphy. “At the same time, we must ensure that those applying for or renewing a carry permit have the ability to complete all legal requirements needed to obtain one. This executive order ensures that our strong, commonsense gun safety measures are in place while respecting existing law governing access to firearms.”
Executive Order No. 129 extends Retired Officer Carry Permits that expire during the term of Public Health Emergency declared in Executive Order No. 103, including those that expired after the issuance of Executive Order No. 103, until 90 days after the Public Health Emergency ends. The order further creates a process for applicants seeking to obtain or renew a Carry Permit to complete training, practice, or testing required by law, including by granting access to shooting ranges. Shooting ranges that are closed to the public under Executive Order No. 107 may only offer access to the above individuals, and must comply with social distancing practices where practicable.
The order will take effect immediately.
Brothers and Sisters,
In light of the fact that COVID-19 has placed first responders in the untenable position of fighting an invisible enemy which has severely adversely affected our health, NJFOP has successfully sought to have legislation introduced to address this issue. Our deepest thanks go out to Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy for introducing A-3945 that extends eligibility for accidental disability and accidental death benefits to certain PFRS and PERS members who contract infectious diseases during public health emergency or state of emergency. The FOP is pushing to have this enacted as soon as possible.
Robert W. Fox, President
Brothers and Sisters,
National FOP President Patrick Yoes has written to all of our Nation’s Governors urging them to amend State and local workman’s compensation laws through executive or legislative action and establish a presumption that law enforcement officers who contract the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) did so in the line of duty. (See attached letter).