- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2007

OCEAN CITY (AP) — The Ocean City Council has approved a measure that will allow retired police officers to carry concealed handguns.

The council acted, at the request of the police department, to accept the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 on Wednesday.

“I know this was a congressional law that was passed, but I don’t want to rubber-stamp it,” council Secretary Nancy L. Howard said. “I guess just call me a crazy liberal or something, but I think there are enough guns out there.”

Miss Howard and council member Margaret Pillas voted against the order.

According to the Library of Congress’ Web site (www.loc.gov), the act “exempts qualified current and former law enforcement officers from State laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed handguns.”

The council’s approval of the order will allow the Ocean City Police Department to comply with the act, but with certain conditions.

An officer’s retirement must be in good standing, and he or she must have no history of mental instability. Also, the retired officers will be required to complete training.

The 11-page general order carries other provisions.

Some council members said Ocean City’s enacting the law gives the city more leeway and control over the issue. It allows the police department to regulate the practice.

Council member Jay Hancock, a former police officer, said he normally would agree with Miss Howard, one of the council members who voted against the order.

But Mr. Hancock said the order will let police know who has the guns.

“At least in this case, we know who they are and at least they have capability and creditability,” he said.

Council member Jim Hall asked Mr. Hancock whether he would apply to carry a concealed handgun.

Mr. Hancock said no, adding, “I didn’t need it much when I was there and I don’t need it now.”

Miss Howard was not swayed.

“I can appreciate my fellow council members trying to ease my mind on this, but if Superman was carrying a gun, I wouldn’t be OK with it,” she said. “I just don’t think guns belong in public and the fewer guns that we have perhaps the fewer reasons we’ll have for officers to have to carry guns.”

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