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FLEOA Announces LEOSA Lawsuit Win over New Jersey

June 22, 2022


Dear FLEOA Members, 
 
I am happy to announce that the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey  has ruled in FLEOA and the NJ FOP’s favor in our joint lawsuit against the State of New Jersey for violations of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA). FLEOA and the New Jersey State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (NJ FOP) launched this lawsuit to compel the state of New Jersey to comply with federal LEOSA law rather than undermine the rights of qualified law enforcement professionals. We are proud to say that result has been achieved.
 
The order finds that the LEOSA statute, 18 U.S.C. 926C, preempts New Jersey laws and regulations that bar an otherwise qualified law enforcement officer living in or passing through New Jersey from exercising their LEOSA rights. The ruling also permits LEOSA qualified law enforcement officers to carry hollow point ammunition in the State of New Jersey.
 
The order attached here states:
 
IT IS on this 21st day of June,
 
ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 34) is hereby
GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED that Defendants' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF Nos. 41) is
hereby DENIED; and it is further
ORDERED that N.J.S.A.2C:39-5, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6(1), and N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(f) are
preempted by LEOSA, as-applied, to any retired law enforcement officer who is qualified under 18 U.S.C. § 926C(c) ("QRLEO") and has identification required by J 8 U.S.C. § 926C(d), regardless of their residence; and it is further
ORDERED that any QRLEO who has identification required by 18 U.S.C. § 926C(d) may carry a concealed firearm in the State of New Jersey, including hollow point ammunition, without obtaining a Retired Police Officer permit under New Jersey law regardless of their residence or the agency from which they retired; and it is further
ORDERED that the State of New Jersey is enjoined from arresting and/or
prosecuting any QRLEO who has identification required by 18 U.S.C. § 926C(d) regardless of their residence or the agency from which they retired; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk is instructed to mark this matter CLOSED.
 
s/ Zahid N. Quraishi
ZAHID N. QURAISHI
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
 
While the State of New Jersey always has the option to appeal, the logic the federal Judge used in his Summary Judgment findings indicates it would be an uphill fight against this ruling and the federal law. The ruling was based on the clear text and history of the statute.
 
At this time, the decades of legal jeopardy and unfairness otherwise LEOSA qualified law enforcement officers faced in the State of New Jersey has ended. A federal court decision agrees that 18 U.S.C. 926C preempts New Jersey laws and regulations regarding LEOSA. This means the federal statute that requires a qualified retired law enforcement officer to meet this criteria (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/926C) clearly preempts state law.  
 
As a reminder, under 18 USC 926C, generally, a qualified law enforcement officer must generally be in "good standing", have had ten or more years of service in law enforcement, not be under the influence of any drugs or prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, have an identification issued by their agency that states you were employed as a police officer or a law enforcement officer and indicates that the individual has, not less recently than one year before the date the individual is carrying the concealed firearm, qualified.  
 
Today is a new day and a great day for ALL law enforcement officers in the State of New Jersey–for our members, for our partner NJ FOP’s members, and for the federal LEOSA statue that we crafted and helped advocate for its proper implementation for many years. This ruling should also send a message to other states that is not fully LEOSA compliant, to become compliant. 
 
We'd like to thank the NJ FOP President Robert W. Fox and his NJ FOP Board of Directors for their partnership and support. We also like to thank the law firm of BLANKROME and attorney's Stephen M. Orlofsky, Nicholas C. Harbist and Michael Darbee for their efforts on our members’ behalf. 
 
Fraternally, 
 
Larry Cosme 
FLEOA President