Title 49 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) § 1544.219 provides for the carriage of accessible weapon by authorized full-time Law Enforcement Officers (LEO). To qualify to fly armed, Federal Regulation states that an officer must meet the following basic requirements:
- Be a Federal Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) or a full-time municipal, county, or state LEO who is a direct employee of a government agency.
- Be a sworn and commissioned to enforce criminal statutes or immigration statutes.
- Be authorized by the employing agency to have the weapon in connection with assigned duties.
- Have completed the training program, "Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed."
- Have the need to have the weapon accessible.
The need to have the weapon accessible must be determined by the employing agency, department, or service AND be based on one of the following:
- The provision of protective duties, for instance, assigned to a principal or advance team, or on travel required to be prepared to engage in a protective function.
- The conduct of a hazardous surveillance operation.
- On official travel required to report to another location, armed, and prepared for duty.
- Employed as a Federal LEO, whether or not on official travel, and armed in accordance with an agency-wide policy governing that type of travel established by the employing agency by directive or policy statement.
- Control of a prisoner, in accordance with Title 49 CFR § 1544.221, or an armed LEO on a round trip returning from escorting, or traveling to pick up a prisoner. Please note: In 2014, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) ruled that Conducted Energy Weapons (CEW), such as TASERs, are considered Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) due to their chemical composition. These items are prohibited from carriage on board or in checked luggage on any aircraft.
In order to determine need for non-federal LEOs, the employing agency, department or service should consider the following guidelines:
- Travel is fully paid by employing agency, department or service and;
- The LEO's duties onboard the aircraft require them to be armed or;
- The LEO is immediately engaging in official duties requiring him/her to be armed upon landing where the delay in checking the weapon and rearming poses significant negative impact upon his/her assigned duties.
Examples of positions or travel that have been determined to NOT meet the threshold for carriage of accessible weapons are:
- Retired, Contract, Reserve, Auxiliary or Annuitant LEOs
- LEOs who do not have general arrest authority and are limited expressly to governmental facilities.
- Any LEO who is employed by a department, agency, or service that is not fully taxpayer funded. (e.g. part of all paid by private or public corporation)
- Attendance of non-operational or enforcement related activities (e.g. Police Week, Memorial Services, training, conferences, etc.)