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Burban v. City of Neptune Beach

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

April 5, 2019

CAMILLE BURBAN, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
CITY OF NEPTUNE BEACH, FLORIDA, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 3:17-cv-00262-MMH-JBT

          Before ED CARNES, Chief Judge, MARTIN, and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges.

          MARTIN, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act ("LEOSA") allows "a qualified retired law enforcement officer . . . who is carrying the identification required by [the Act]" to "carry a concealed firearm," notwithstanding most State or local restrictions. 18 U.S.C. §§ 926C(a), (b). Camille Burban, who is a retired police officer formerly employed by the Neptune Beach Police Department ("the Department"), sued the City of Neptune Beach, Florida seeking to have it issue her the type of identification card required by LEOSA. The District Court dismissed Ms. Burban's amended complaint, finding that LEOSA does not give rise to a federal right enforceable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. After careful review, and with the benefit of oral argument, we affirm.

         I.

         In March 2017, Camille Burban sued Neptune Beach, Florida seeking to enforce her individual rights she believes are granted to her by the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, 18 U.S.C. § 926C. LEOSA permits qualified active and retired law enforcement officers who meet certain conditions to carry a concealed firearm anywhere in the United States, even if State or local law would ordinarily prohibit it. See id. §§ 926B(a), 926C(a). But see id. § 926B(b) (establishing that LEOSA does not supersede laws restricting firearms on private property or State or local government property); id. § 926C(b) (same). Section 926C, which is divided into five subsections, addresses retired officers.

         Subsection (a) provides:

Notwithstanding any other provision of the law of any State or any political subdivision thereof, an individual who is a qualified retired law enforcement officer and who is carrying the identification required by subsection (d) may carry a concealed firearm that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, subject to subsection (b).

Id. § 926C(a). As set out in subsection (c), a "qualified retired law enforcement officer" is defined as a person who, among other things, "separated from service in good standing," "served as a law enforcement officer for an aggregate of 10 years or more," and has met certain firearms training standards during the most recent 12-month period. See id. § 926(c) (establishing seven conditions for recognition as a "qualified retired law enforcement officer").

         Subsection (d) sets out two options for the type of identification a qualified retired law enforcement officer must possess in order to lawfully carry a concealed weapon under LEOSA. Option one is:

[A] photographic identification issued by the agency from which the individual separated from service as a law enforcement officer that identifies the person as having been employed as a police officer or 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, been tested or otherwise found by the agency to meet the active duty standards for qualification in firearms training as established by the agency to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm[.]

Id. § 926C(d)(1). Option two is "a photographic identification issued by the agency" that identifies the person as retired law enforcement together with a firearms certification issued no more than a year ago by either "the State in which the individual resides or by a [qualified] certified firearms instructor." Id. § 926C(d)(2). The firearms certification must show that the retired officer met the active duty standards "as established by the State, to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm," or, if the State does not have such standards, "standards set by any law enforcement agency within that State to carry a firearm of the same type as the concealed firearm." Id. § 926C(d)(2)(B)(I), (II). Finally, subsection (e) defines "firearm" and "service with a public agency as a law enforcement officer." Id. § 926(e).

         According to Ms. Burban's amended complaint, she was an officer with the Department for more than ten years before she retired from service in 2013. In October 2016, she asked the Department to issue her the type of photographic identification card required by LEOSA. The Department denied her request, explaining that under its policy, these cards are issued only to officers who retired in good standing and who qualify with a Department-certified firearms instructor. The Department policy also requires an officer to serve for at least fifteen years to be eligible to receive an identification for LEOSA purposes, even though the statute requires just ten. Ms. Burban's later petitions for clarification about the Department's reasons for denying her request went unanswered.

         Ms. Burban's suit challenged the Department's requirements as inconsistent with federal law. More to the point, Ms. Burban asserted that she is a qualified retired law enforcement officer as defined in LEOSA. She said the City's refusal to supply her with LEOSA-compliant identification deprived ...


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