H.R. 2137, Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015

H.R. 2137

Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015

Committee
Judiciary

Date
May 10, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 2137, the Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on April 30, 2015, by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2137 grants federal law enforcement officers the same rights to carry a government-issued firearm during a furlough that they have when a furlough is not in effect. A “covered federal law enforcement officer” is defined as any agency employee who has the authority to make arrests or apprehensions, or prosecute violations of federal law, and is authorized to carry a firearm in the course of official duties. Further, a “covered furlough” is defined to mean a planned agency event during which employees are involuntarily furloughed due to downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work, or any budget situation, including a lapse in appropriations.

 

Background

A federal law enforcement agency is an organizational unit, or subunit, of the federal government with the primary responsibility of prevention, detection, and investigation of crime and the apprehension of alleged offenders. Examples of federal law enforcement agencies include the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.[1]

In 2008, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) conducted a Census of Federal Law Enforcement Officers across all agenices that employee full-time officers with federal arrest authority who were authorized to carry firearms while on duty. The census covered 73 agencies,and accounted for approximately 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers[2], but did not include officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, the Central Intelligence Agency, or the Transporation Security Administration’s Federal Air Marshals.[3]

During the lapse in funding in 2013, approximately 1,800 federal officers were forced to hand over their government issues firearms while placed on involvuntary furlough. According to the bill’s sponsor, “These officers are highly trained and know the responsibilities associated with possessing a weapon; it does not make sense to disarm them if there is a lapse in federal appropriations, especially as our country faces increasing national security threats.”[4]

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[1] See BJS Website Federal Law Enforcement
[2] See BJS 2008 Census of Federal Law Enforcement at 1
[3] See BJS Website Data Collection: Census of Federal Law Enforcement Officer
[4] See Rep. Doug Collins’ Press Release “Collins Bill to Protect Law Enforcement Passes” April 27, 2016

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 50190.