The Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America state that the official uniforms are intended for use in connection with Scouting activities as defined by the National Executive Board, and their use may be approved by the local council for council events or activities under conditions consistent with the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America. The perception (particularly of the media) has always been that anybody wearing a Scout uniform is surely a currently registered member. Obviously, that is not the case, and that will have to be communicated and explained in the event of any inappropriate use.
There is no provision, requirement, or even ability to require the return of a Scout uniform by former members; therefore, people (including the media) should not assume that just because someone is wearing a uniform they are a member of Scouting (and it is even possible that they were never a member of Scouting, as old Scout uniforms are often found in thrift stores and are even collected and sold through online auction sites). Once the uniform is sold, the BSA’s control of its use becomes very limited under intellectual property laws. It is through BSA’s bylaws and rules and regulations that we can control the wearing and use of the uniform by BSA members, which is exactly why Article X, section 4, of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America states:
Clause 2. “Restricted Sale and Use. The sale and use of the appropriate uniform as specified shall be restricted to members of the Boy Scouts of America who are registered and in good standing, according to the records of the organization. It shall be the responsibility of all members of the Boy Scouts of America and especially of all commissioned officers and chartered councils to cooperate with the Corporation in preventing the use of the official uniforms by those who are not members of the organization in good standing.”
“The official uniforms and parts thereof shall be issued only as authorized by the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America and sold either directly by the national office—through responsible local merchants designated as local Scouting distributors—or through designated local councils.”
If a registered member does not adhere to the BSA’s policies, then appropriate action will be taken by the council in consultation with the National Council. If a nonmember or former member engages in conduct inconsistent with the BSA’s values, policies, or statements, it should be made clear that the individual is not a member of Scouting and does not speak for the BSA or the local council, and their use of the Scouting uniform is not approved or authorized by the BSA.