By: Friedrich Seiltgen
We're nearly half-way through 2019, and an abundance of new gun laws have been proposed or enacted by governments trying to out-progressive one another. It’s important to note, as Police One did recently, how these laws will affect the way law enforcement officers (LEOs) do their jobs.
'High Capacity' Magazine Bans
The winner, in my opinion as a retired police officer, for the most insane gun laws is New Jersey. The Garden State has enacted a total ban on the sale and possession of any magazine holding more than 10 rounds (because we all know it’s always the eleventh round that kills!). The ban requires citizens to turn in their standard capacity magazines and does not provide a grandfather clause.
As of the writing of this article, exactly ZERO citizens have turned in their magazines! This law is setting up serious problems in the future when politicians ultimately order LEOs to confiscate these magazines.
What's more, in their haste to deny the people their Second Amendment rights, politicians forgot to put in an exemption for law enforcement officers themselves. That meant that until the law was amended, officers could become felons when carrying their service weapons off-duty, including in their own homes.
‘Safe Storage’ Requirements
Many states have enacted new regulations regarding the storage of weapons. While I am certainly in favor of weapons being secured and out of the hands of little ones, some regulations require guns to be unloaded with ammunition stored separately, leaving you defenseless when evil comes knocking!
I once took a report in reference to a stolen gun; the owner left his pistol in the door pocket of his minivan, left the vehicle unlocked, and someone stole his pistol. He asked my opinion about the chances of getting his gun back, and I said it was very unlikely. He then asked if he should purchase a new one. I told him no, since he wasn’t responsible enough to secure his weapon properly, he should not own any firearms. Needless to say, he was not happy.
There are ways to secure weapons at home and in your vehicle that also allow for quick access. Use them! LEOs are busy enough with their daily duties without having to take reports for weapons stolen because they were left unsecured. If people would be a little more responsible, we wouldn’t have politicians dictating all these new laws. Actually, strike that! Politicians are all about control.
LEOSA Not So Simple
Many cops carry when traveling around the country. In 2004, H.R. 218, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), was passed. The law allowed officers to carry nationwide, or so we were told. While the law is not new, it continues to be vague. Many states have put restrictions on H.R. 218, and some ignore it altogether!
While you can carry in another state, you still must abide by other state laws, such as those mandating magazine capacities. That extra 33-round Glock magazine in the glove box may get you in trouble.
Consider taking a wheel gun. With its six rounds, it “appears” less menacing than a semi-auto and may keep you out of trouble. For civilians with a CCW, you must know the laws of your state and check on CCW reciprocity when traveling.
Officers making traffic stops are already in danger, since we have no idea if the person in the vehicle is a “good guy or bad guy.” People get nervous when they’re pulled over. Law-abiding citizens with CCW permits from another state are treated like criminals in “May Issue” states like California that typically do not recognize out of state permits. Many people mistakenly think the police are responsible for these laws. While many chiefs are for these types of restrictions, patrol officers generally aren’t!
All these feel-good laws make both sides more suspicious of the other, and create danger.
Bump Stock Ban
As a result of the Las Vegas shooting, many states enacted a ban on bump stocks, though the state laws are now moot, as the federal government has enacted its own nationwide bump stock ban.
This ban, like so many other ones, has no grandfather clause. People must turn their bump stocks in or destroy them within 90 days of the law being enacted. This ban violates not only the Second Amendment, but also the Fifth Amendment “Takings Clause,” which states that “private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
It’s yet another law that makes things dangerous for LEOs. People spend a lot of money on firearms and accessories. When you’re dealing with people who have newly banned items, they often think cops showing up at their residence have come to take these illicit items away.
More Laws Make Things Harder for LEOs
As usual, politicians are making life harder for LEOs. They take away laws that make the job easier and replace them with draconian, progressive, unconstitutional, knee-jerk policies.
While many of these laws are being challenged in the courts, be aware of the changes and do your job in the meantime as a law-abiding citizen to obey them, as best you can. Most LEOs are conservative, pro-gun, ex-military, etc., but more and more state attorneys are liberal progressives who won’t hesitate to make your life miserable.
For the time being, you must “embrace the suck,” speak up in opposition to these terrible, life-threatening policies, and remember that most cops who enforce these laws encourage good citizens to embrace their Second Amendment rights and carry a firearm for self-defense!
Just look at all the brave LEOs in places like New Mexico and Colorado who are defying the left by refusing to enforce gun control laws that violate the Constitution. There is hope!
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He currently conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms, First Aid, and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations in Florida. His writing has appeared in The Counter Terrorist Magazine, Homeland Security Today and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.