WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Four former federal corrections officers with decades of experience and training with firearms have sued the District of Columbia, claiming DC unfairly denies them the ability to carry a concealed weapon for protection – something federal law allows for other law enforcement.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Aaron Page with the firm Gowen, Rhoades, Winograd and Silva – was argued in front of an appeals court on Monday, after first being dismissed on an issue of standing.

The officers say that they regularly run into ex-convicts on the streets of DC whom they interacted with in prison. Sometimes those street interactions get heated, they say, and the former guards want to be able to defend themselves, if necessary.

In court, the District’s attorney’s argued that the former federal corrections officers weren’t actually law enforcement officers at all [embed memorandum PDF here], and therefore not subject to the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) [http://le.nra.org/leosa/frequently-asked-questions.aspx], which allows retired officers to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

That stance infuriated two of the plaintiffs in the case, who spoke to WUSA9 on Friday.

“The only thing police officers do that we don’t do is write tickets,” said Maurice Curtis, who retired as a sergeant after 25 years. “Everything else, we do. We do things that they can’t even do.”

Ron Duberry retired as a Captain, and is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.

“Every time the FBI agents who’ve retired get a raise, we get a raise,” he said. “Every time the bureau of prisons get a raise, we get a raise. If that’s not federal law enforcement, then what is it?”

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office, which defends the District in lawsuits like this, declined to comment on ongoing litigation.