Would Changing Leosa Help Prevent Mass Shootings?

Each time our nation faces a mass shooting everyone asks two questions: “Why” and “How can we stop this?” Unfortunately, I do not think the first question can be answered other than to say monsters walk among us and sometimes they act in heinous ways. As for the second question, there are those suggesting the answer is MORE guns- specifically in the hands of off-duty law enforcement officers. But the real question is “How would that help?”

Many younger officers and even more civilians believe that officers can carry a firearm anywhere, anytime simply because they are a police officer. Not true. Older officers will remember a time not that long ago when you could not even leave your home state. If you did and were unlucky enough to get caught you could face arrest the same as any other citizen – and it happened more often than not.

In 2004 then President George W. Bush signed into law the Law Enforcement Safety Act, a measure designed to allow off-duty and qualified retired law enforcement officer the ability to carry a concealed firearm in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. Possession. But it is not a clear-cut as it appears. Although the law has been amended in 2010 & 2013 in an attempt to clarify requirements and add additional classifications to those covered by the Act it still contains several loopholes and misinterpretations.

For example, it is illegal to fly with a firearm unless on official duty AND authorized by TSA. It is also legal for businesses such as restaurants and stadiums to prohibit firearms – even those carried by law enforcement officers. This, according to some advocates, is why off-duty officers were unable to assist with the Las Vegas shooting. There is no firm number concerning how many off-duty officers were attending the country music festival where the shooting occurred, however, dozens of reports have surfaced identifying those who were victims or witnesses. Many of these officers have reported being unarmed due to having flown to Las Vegas and ALL were subject to the venue’s “no firearms” policy.

Some officers assisted others to escape, some shielded victims with their own body and at least one stood guard at a nearby establishment after borrowing a firearm from a bystander. But what would it have helped save lives? I doubt it.

The shooter was 32 floors above the targets- far outside the effective range of a handgun even in the hands of a proficient shooter. It is also unlikely a group of off-duty officers armed with nothing more than a handgun could have organized and stormed the hotel room, taking out the shooter before the Las Vegas Police Department did. So no I do not see how having additional armed officers in the crowd could have changed the outcome. But that does not mean I do not support additional changes to LEOSA.

What if there had been additional shooters on the ground? What about next time when the shooter is not in a secure, far off position? Yes, there will be a next time. There is probably a small group of want to be crazies already thinking about how they could do better, sooner or later one of them will try. No, allowing officers to carry in any place at any time may not have prevented this even but it still has merit.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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