Bill would mandate safe storage for corrections officers' firearms
The bill has passed in the House and is now in the Senate
By C1 Staff
WASHINGTON — Legislation that would require the Bureau of Prisons to provide storage for corrections officers' personal firearms could be passed by the end of the year.
The Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act is named after Puerto Rican CO Osvaldo Albarati, who was murdered while driving in 2013, the Daily Item reported. Three inmates hired a hitman to kill Albarati.
Currently, only correctional officers at 31 Federal and penal correctional institutions are allowed to securely store personal firearms while at work. The proposed bill would ensure a secure storage area outside the perimeter of the institution or allow the employee to store the firearm in an approved vehicle lockbox.
Shane Fausey, Northeast Regional Legislative Coordinator for the Council of Prison Locals 33, said federal corrections officers are often targeted by ex-convicts, a prisoner's gang members, and family and friends of inmates while off-duty and the bill allows them to better protect themselves.
“Day in and day out correctional officers serve as the front line of defense against some of the most dangerous criminals in the world,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who reintroduced the bill, said. “Ensuring that federal correctional officers are able to protect themselves at all times from criminals who wish to harm them is critical and I am calling on Congress to pass this commonsense legislation.”
The bill has passed in the House and is now in the Senate.
“I’ve been to Washington talking to legislators about this bill,” Fausey told The Daily Item. “It’s not often you see both sides of the aisle working together on legislation. This truly is a bipartisan issue, and I’m hopeful the president will sign this when it gets to his desk.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the bill would allow corrections officers to carry off-duty. The bill would require the BOP to provide a storage space for corrections officers' personal firearms.