What is the Basis of the Gun-Carry Lawsuit?
This lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of four retired officers from the Washington D.C. Department of Corrections, Ronald DuBerry, Robert L. Smith, Harold Bennette, and Maurice Curtis. The suit alleges that the four corrections officers were unfairly denied documentation necessary to obtain permission from licensing agencies to carry firearms as a right bestowed on them by the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA).
LEOSA, which became a federal law in 2004 when it was signed by then President George W. Bush, was created to grant “qualified retired law enforcement officers” the right to carry a firearm at any time without having to apply for a state license.
The four plaintiffs asserted that the ability to carry firearms is a necessity due to threats they have received from former inmates they encountered. In order to qualify for LEOSA, retired officers must have certified documentation from their former employer confirming their prior qualified law enforcement experience. The D.C. Department of Corrections has conversely affirmed that corrections officers do not qualify for the statute due to their lack of both official law enforcement status and authority to arrest.
What was the Judge’s Ruling?
Although U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras dismissed the suit, he did so on the basis of a technicality and did not directly address the question at the heart of the lawsuit. According to the Washington Times, Judge Contreras issued a 36-page opinion noting that the four officers incorrectly asserted their right to be certified, instead of declaring their right to carry as a matter of federal law. The Judge suggested that the officers should continue their pursuit through alternate channels, such as the D.C. Superior Court or through administrative measures.
Is the Lawsuit Dead?
Attorney Aaron Page, representing the four officers, said in a statement that his clients plan to follow the advice of Judge Contreras and continue their case via appeals and contacting D.C. lawmakers. The retired officers continue to assert that they are being denied a right they have earned as former law enforcement officers, and will seek remedy through any available Avenue.