By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Senator Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) authored legislation that has been signed by Governor Brown, guaranteeing a path for retired peace officers to renew a concealed carry weapons permits from a now dismantled police department.
Senate Bill 303 requires law enforcement agencies in California to issue police officer identification cards and Concealed Carry Weapons Permits (CCWs) to officers honorably retired from a dissolved agency, if the new agency’s jurisdiction covers the same area.
“Severe state-wide budget cuts over the last several years have forced many struggling cities to dissolve their police department and contract out for law enforcement services. An unfortunate result of this is that retired officers can be left without a path to renew their police ID cards and CCW permits,” said Senator Knight (R-Palmdale). “This is inherently unfair and it was important to find a way to remedy this problem.”
This measure was supported by the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC).
“The Peace Officers Research Association of California appreciates Senator Knight carrying this important legislation for our 64,000 public safety members,” says Lieutenant Ron Cottingham of PORAC. “California has thousands of honorably retired officers, who dedicated their lives to keeping our streets safe. Unfortunately, many of these retirees are finding that their agencies are now defunct or have been absorbed. Within the last two years alone, at least five agencies have gone under, leaving their retired officers with nowhere to turn to renew their retiree identification cards and CCW permits.”
In 2004, Congress established the right for peace officers to carry firearms in any state with appropriate identification. Current law in California allows peace officers to maintain their law enforcement identification card and CCW endorsement after an honorable retirement. This ID card is provided by the agency from which the officer retired. Every five years, a retiree is required to petition the issuing agency for renewal of the privilege of carrying a loaded firearm.
“SB 303 provides a clear path by which these deserving individuals who have served their community their entire career may renew their permit – a law-issued right,” continued Senator Knight. “Retired officers from defunct departments, through no fault of their own, are placed at a distinct disadvantage to their retiree peers. This bill fixes that inequity and ensures that all peace officers who honorably retire receive the same treatment.”
Senate Bill 303 is a bipartisan measure and has received unanimous support at every step in the legislative process. It was signed into law on August 26, 2013 and will take effect on January 1, 2014.