Safety On: Carrying A Service Sidearm While Off Duty

Just a few days ago, on June 2, 2018, an off-duty FBI agent was dancing in a club. After performing a backflip, his service firearm fell off his person. While picking it up to holster it, the firearm went off, hitting a spectator. Fortunately, the man hit wasn’t badly hurt. But the fact remains that a civilian was shot with a service firearm in what does appear to have been a preventable accident.

As of the writing of this article, there hasn’t been any news on what sanctions, if any, are going to be levied onto the officer in question. The issue does, however, bring up two issues that have to be discussed. First, protocols on open-carry firearms on off-duty officers; second, the conduct of a law enforcement officer when off duty.

Concerning the protocols on open-carry firearms, it looks like there won’t be any change given that the situation was an isolated one. We can, of course, expect a lot of buzz and discussion coming from groups that are opposed to public carrying of firearms, whether by civilians or law enforcement, but it’s highly unlikely that it will make an impact on any existing protocols.

For now, what’s important is making sure that these protocols are strictly followed in order to prevent accidents and keep issues like the one in question an isolated one.

This makes the second point of discussion the more important one: conduct of officers when off duty. While it is the right of officers for any law enforcement agency to enjoy themselves and relax when off duty however they see fit, it can also be argued that there’s also a modicum of dignity and restraint that has to be exercised when in public, as is practiced by officers in the armed forces.

There is merit to this as the entire incident could have been avoided if the officer in question hadn’t decided to show off his dancing skills and performed that backflip, especially while carrying his service firearm.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Should off-duty officers be expected to show more restraint? Or should they be able to cut loose, as long as they do it responsibly? Let us know!

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