Last week, a panel of three New Jersey judges upheld a precedent set by a lower court stating that former state and county prosecutors are not entitled the same concealed carry permits afforded retired law enforcement officers. The move is the latest in a round of judiciary debates surrounding the definition of the term “law enforcement officer” as it relates to the 2004 Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA).
The case was brought forth by Giles Casaleggio, current deputy attorney general and former assistant prosecutor in several New Jersey counties. Casaleggio, asserted that, as a former assistant criminal prosecutor, he is entitled to a concealed carry permit under the aforementioned legislation, also believing the carry permit is necessary for his personal safety. The aim of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act is to provide law enforcement officers – who face a unique set of dangers associated with their profession – the means to protect themselves and their families from criminals.
His attorney, Frank Pisano III, reiterated Casaleggio’s stance, stating, “He believes that the statute afford him that opportunity…Like any other prosecutor, he’s locked up some people in the past who may come up for parole now.’’
LEOSA, further amended in 2010, stipulates that acting and retired law enforcement officers are permitted to carry a concealed weapon for their own safety “notwithstanding any other provision of the law of any State or any political subdivision thereof.” In other words, the legislation allowing retired law enforcement officers to carry guns overrides state and local gun control measures, but does not trump federal gun regulations. Under the 2010 improvements, the definition of “qualified law enforcement officer” was further clarified, and includes government employees, “authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law.”
According to Casaleggio’s attorney, New Jersey’s stringent gun laws require his client to show an urgent need to defend himself, and would further require Casaleggio to show that carrying a firearm would mitigate the threat.
Casaleggio is now weighing a possible appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court.