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Thread: 'Arms race' has police carrying deadlier guns. Officers armed with increasingly powerful tools.

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    http://dailycamera.com/news/2008/mar...deadlier-guns/

    BOISE, Idaho -- The 30-year-old mother of three jumped from her disabled SUV holding a gun to her head to keep police back. Officers moved in close enough to fire a stun gun, but it bounced off her heavy coat.

    Then investigators say she tried opening the door of another vehicle stopped along the highway, pointing her handgun at the two nearest deputies. They fired their assault rifles and Sarah Marie Stanfield, of Boise, fell to the ground, hit eight times with bullets designed to break apart on impact to increase internal damage. She died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.
    Along with nonlethal devices like stun guns, an increasing number of rank-and-file patrol officers across the U.S. have started carrying high-powered assault rifles.
    Law enforcement officials say it's part of a trend that has accelerated in the last year because of more shootouts with guns, standoffs in which police were outgunned, rising officer fatalities in 2007 and mass shootings of civilians where heavily armed "active shooters" kill until being killed.
    "If you get into a firefight, you want to be the winner," said Scott Knight, police chief for Chaska, Minn., and chairman of the firearms committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. "Our departments are moving to those weapons out of necessity across the country."
    Chaska is a town of about 24,000 residents 25 miles southwest of Minneapolis, and earlier this month Knight ordered the department's first 10 assault rifles, each with two 30-round magazines.
    Only patchwork information is available on how many other law enforcement agencies are outfitting sheriff's deputies and patrol officers with assault rifles, the kind of firepower once reserved for specialized SWAT teams. But from Chaska to the city of Miami to college campuses in Arizona, agencies are acquiring AR-15s or M-4s, both close relatives of the military's M-16.
    All three weapons fire .223-caliber bullets. While the M-16 can fire as an automatic, the M-4 and AR-15 are generally configured to fire one round with each squeeze of the trigger.
    The rifles can carry clips that hold 30 rounds, can fire bullets with enough velocity to pierce some types of body armor and have greater accuracy at longer range than handguns. Police say the guns are more accurate then a handgun in life-and-death situations.
    Law enforcement officials see another benefit: many officers are former soldiers familiar with the M-16 who can make an easy transition to police assault rifles, which cost about $900 to $1,500.
    In Miami, Police Chief John Timoney late last year authorized his patrol officers to carry AR-15s because of a rise in assault rifle use by criminals.
    The chief blamed the 2004 expiration of the federal ban on assault weapons for the escalation of heavily armed violence on Miami's streets. He said AK-47s have become a "gun of choice" for criminals.
    "My police officer who was killed (in January), that was an AK-47 bought by an 18-year-old," said Timoney, whose agency now has about 50 AR-15s and expects to eventually get 150 more. "This is a national problem. Police agencies all over the U.S. are going to bigger weapons."
    In 2007, according to preliminary numbers compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 69 officers were shot to death, up from 52 in 2006 and the most in five years. Last year included six shootings where two or more officers were killed in the same event, said spokesman Kevin Morison.
    "There just seems to be a more brazen, cold-blooded killer out there," he said. "Officers being shot multiple times and multiple officers being shot in the same incident. That's fueling a lot of concern among law enforcement professionals."
    The American Civil Liberties Union and the Violence Policy Center declined to comment on the trend of police agencies going to assault rifles.
    The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said it understood the move, but blamed the expiration of the assault weapons ban for making it necessary.
    "Police officers need to be able to defend themselves and the rest of us, and they need the weapons to do so," said spokesman Peter Hamm. "In a lot of departments across the country, officers are more and more finding military style assault weapons in the hands of bad guys."
    Law enforcement officials say the trend toward issuing assault rifles to regular patrol officers started in Los Angeles after a 1997 shootout following a botched bank robbery. There, two heavily armed men wore body armor that stopped bullets fired by the standard-issue 9 mm Beretta handguns carried by police, 11 of whom were injured along with six civilians. The two bank robbers were eventually killed. The Los Angeles Police Department now issues AR-15s.
    Two years later came Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., where two teens killed 13 people and wounded two dozen others before both committing suicide, forcing police to rethink a strategy based on securing areas and waiting for negotiators and SWAT teams.
    The new strategy played out last month in Oregon's Linn County, south of Portland, when 51-year-old Robert Earl Thompson used a shotgun to take 16-year-old high school sophomore Nicole Street hostage at a gas station. A sheriff's sergeant used his AR-15 to kill Thompson within a few minutes of arriving.
    "The people we protect expect us to go in and resolve that situation and save that hostage," said Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller, who is still building the department's arsenal of AR-15s.
    While officers in the field can react more quickly than SWAT teams, law enforcement officials say that's of little use if patrol officers are outgunned when they arrive. That concern has increased based on past shootings where assailants carried multiple weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
    Last April, a Virginia Tech student armed with two handguns fired 174 rounds in just over nine minutes, killing 32 people and then himself when police stormed the stairs of the building.


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    Handguns and shotguns are useless against a bad guy with a rifle 100 yards away.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    Maybe for you.
    Now I think your point is valid that a rifle is superior to a pistol or shotgun, but with proper training 100 yard shots are possible to make on man sized targets with a handgun and a shotgun equiped with rifle sights and shooting foster slugs is also viable to 100 yards.

    On the other hand when was the last time that somebody other than a police marksman had to make a shot longer than 50 yards?

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    longwatch wrote:
    SNIP On the other hand when was the last time that somebody other than a police marksman had to make a shot longer than 50 yards?
    This is known as "a good question."
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    What fraction of kills by bad guys are at ranges like 100 yards or 100 feet - or more than 100 inches?

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    longwatch wrote:
    Maybe for you.
    Now I think your point is valid that a rifle is superior to a pistol or shotgun, but with proper training 100 yard shots are possible to make on man sized targets with a handgun and a shotgun equiped with rifle sights and shooting foster slugs is also viable to 100 yards.

    On the other hand when was the last time that somebody other than a police marksman had to make a shot longer than 50 yards?
    100 yards as the borderline... rifles can reach out for 300 meters or more. No handgun or shotgun slug is going to touch that.

    The guy with the rifle will have better penetration power and far better accuracy than the cop with the pistol.

    I have seen a few videos where the cop chases the bad guy who stops, gets out of his car with the rifle and turns the cop's car in to swiss cheese. Cop shoots back with his handgun but the guy is too far away.

    This is where a rifle would come into play.

    Over time the bad guy learns the weaknesses of any system and exploits it. In this case the bad guy have learned that cops cannot shoot from any great distance. So to have superior firepower will aid in your escape.

    Bad guys also have easy access to body armor and have been known to use it. Handguns used by the police will not stop the guy unless they are lucky enough to get a head shot. This is also where the rifle will come into play.

    So it is only out of necessity that many departments are issuing a few street officers with rifles.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    So now LEOs need rifles because that bad guys wear body armor, and will be outside of 100 yards? I guess its time to abandon the handgun for the American policeman and issue all police carbines like in other countries.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    I have no problem with cops carrying AR-15s in their cars. Lots of them have been doing it for years and even in my small town they carry shotguns. I don't think any huge justification needs to made for that. I want cops to go home to their families at the end of the shift too, and I would rather see them take out a BG in a few minutes than have the cluster-f we often see with 40 cop cars and one guy with a megaphone.

    What concerns me is that this is the same stuff police organizations started saying to advocate to congress for the 1994 ban. Turned out that "assault weapons" were used in less than 1% of all crimes. And now the drum starts banging again with a "see, see what happens when we don't have a ban - all of a sudden cops start dying like flies at the end of assault weapons". I think this is more a political article than a news article.

    If it is a news article, lets see the stats on LEO injuries and deaths due to long guns broken down by shotgun, hunting, and "assault" long guns vs deaths from other causes.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    I Believe it is Doug who says "we are equal or we are not" Why should we be allowed to have a particular type of weapon, but not the police. You can call me a traitor, or whatever else you would like (i am sure some will) but I don't think the police should be denied any type of weapon, any more than we should. If we want all of us to be able to have machine guns, or assault rifles, or what ever other type of weapon, it is going to be just as available to a BG. Why should the police not be allowed to properly equip themselves to be able to protect themselves and others. Isn't that why we want our gun rights?

    Most people have a prevailing attitude that all police are bad. I have run into my share of "jerk-off" cops. I have also however, run into MORE than my share of police who were polite, helpful, and had a great attitude about helping people. I just think it's hypocritical to demand a right and then say because i don't like you, i am not going to give it to you. just my 1/2 Cent

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    In general I do not have a problem with it.

    But it is another step towards the militarization of police departments, which I do not like. The more they are given tactical/military toys, the more inclined they are to act like 'soldier's' and not 'peace officers'.


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    Leave it to the stooges of the brady organization to summize that all of this police increase of firepower has something to the with the sunset of the clinton semi auto ban, as if criminals had difficulty getting the banned weapons during such legislation's 10 year life.

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    VAopencarry wrote:
    In general I do not have a problem with it.

    But it is another step towards the militarization of police departments, which I do not like. The more they are given tactical/military toys, the more inclined they are to act like 'soldier's' and not 'peace officers'.
    Believe me..... cops do not want to have to carry all that gear.

    Remember the days of Andy Griffith. He did not even carry a gun and Barney had an unloaded pistol.

    Can you imagine criminals today driving into Mayberry??? Andy and Barney would not have a chance!!!

    Some criminals are arming themselves better than the police. Lets take a look at the guys that robbed the bank in Cali a few years ago. Head to toe body armor and full auto rifles!!

    The police had to barrow rifles from a gun store to be able to fight back.

    Times are changing..... and the police have to adapt to those changes.


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    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    Can you imagine criminals today driving into Mayberry??? Andy and Barney would not have a chance!!!
    I can't believe you would disparage your fellow officer's like that. Andy, er.. Sheriff Taylor can quickly disarm BG's with his wit and Barney could have his revovler loaded in just a few minutes if needed. on topic..

    I am not against PD's being properly equipped but I really think they are going 'over the top' with a lot of this gearing up. A lot of these toys they don't 'need' but want. So they ask for it, and who can be against officer safety, so they get it.

    What I think it does is have, what I would call, a negative affect on the LEO's mentality. You get a roided up SWAT team with all the coolest gear, they want to use it. So then they end up kickin down some MF' ers door(with or without an APC)with no violent crime history, in the middle of the night cause he sold a 1/4 oz of weed to somebody.

    Think a firefighter wants to go through training, get a new shiny fire truck and then never leave the firehouse?

    Disclaimer; "roided up" used for entertainment purposes only
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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    VAopencarry wrote:
    In general I do not have a problem with it.

    But it is another step towards the militarization of police departments, which I do not like. The more they are given tactical/military toys, the more inclined they are to act like 'soldier's' and not 'peace officers'.
    Believe me..... cops do not want to have to carry all that gear.

    Remember the days of Andy Griffith. He did not even carry a gun and Barney had an unloaded pistol.

    Can you imagine criminals today driving into Mayberry??? Andy and Barney would not have a chance!!!

    Some criminals are arming themselves better than the police. Lets take a look at the guys that robbed the bank in Cali a few years ago. Head to toe body armor and full auto rifles!!

    The police had to barrow rifles from a gun store to be able to fight back.

    Times are changing..... and the police have to adapt to those changes.
    Its not like criminals armoring themselves is a new thing.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ned_Kelly

    I have to agree Vaopencarry, its not so much that I have a problem with the police having rifles, its that I'm concerned about how those weapons are used.


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    mmdkyoung123 wrote:
    I Believe it is Doug who says "we are equal or we are not" Why should we be allowed to have a particular type of weapon, but not the police.
    Police officers on duty have no right to carry any weapons, only permission from the civilian officials in charge, who get their authority from the federal or state constitutions.

    A police officer who is not on duty has the right to carry whatever you do.



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    VAopencarry wrote:
    Can you imagine criminals today driving into Mayberry??? Andy and Barney would not have a chance!!!
    I can't believe you would disparage your fellow officer's like that. Andy, er.. Sheriff Taylor can quickly disarm BG's with his wit and Barney could have his revovler loaded in just a few minutes if needed. on topic..

    I am not against PD's being properly equipped but I really think they are going 'over the top' with a lot of this gearing up. A lot of these toys they don't 'need' but want. So they ask for it, and who can be against officer safety, so they get it.

    What I think it does is have, what I would call, a negative affect on the LEO's mentality. You get a roided up SWAT team with all the coolest gear, they want to use it. So then they end up kickin down some MF' ers door(with or without an APC)with no violent crime history, in the middle of the night cause he sold a 1/4 oz of weed to somebody.

    Think a firefighter wants to go through training, get a new shiny fire truck and then never leave the firehouse?

    Disclaimer; "roided up" used for entertainment purposes only
    My apologise to Matlock for all his years of service.. I mean Andy...

    Cops get shiny new guns and vests but they do not go out and shoot people and shoot each other to see if the vests work. :P

    Same goes for mace and nightsticks.

    They have shotguns and it is rare for them to get pulled out. There is a time to use that tool and then it is utilised. The rifle is no different.

    What you may not know is that senior officers and supervisors let young roided junior officers know when they are going overboard. So if theypull out that rifle for each and every call... they would hear about it.

    Having it does not automatically mean they are going to use it all the time.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    mmdkyoung123 wrote:
    I Believe it is Doug who says "we are equal or we are not" Why should we be allowed to have a particular type of weapon, but not the police.
    Police officers on duty have no right to carry any weapons, only permission from the civilian officials in charge, who get their authority from the federal or state constitutions.

    A police officer who is not on duty has the right to carry whatever you do.
    I did not see anyonearguing "rights."

    The police are permitted to carry and those guns are limited to what the department authorises.

    Unfortunately... In most cases the officers OFF DUTY do NOT get to carry what they want and have to carry what the department allows.

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    The difference between Right and privilege, between citizen and public servant, between principle and practice.

    It is lightly snowing this morning reminding us that Easter is a promise, just as is the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

    Either we are equal or we are not. good people ought to be armed wherfe they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    I don't at all understand people getting freaked out about this. I don't remember the last time I saw a patrol car without at least a shotgun in it. There are already numerous places where at least some cops already carry an AR-15 in their trunk. This really isn't much of a deviation from anything.

    A hundred years ago LE carried rifles on horseback in rural areas. More modernly, I personally know of 3 rural area LEOs who carried a shotgun and a rifle (one a scoped 30/30 lever action, another a scoped .30-06, and the last I do not know what it was) from at least the mid 70s until retirement.

    This may be a new thing in the cities but it is not a new thing in rural areas. And as to envoking the Andy Griffith/Mayberry image, the Mayberry Sheriff's office had the ubiquitous rack of shotguns and rifles mounted on the wall behind Andy's desk. YES even in our wholesome 1960's Father Knows Best/Leave it To Beaver naive and whitewashed family television programming, shotguns and rifles were considered normal and appropriate for a LE office. And while he never carried a sidearm in the show, there was more than one episode where he did carry a rifle or shotgun.

    I reiterate that my problem is not with LEOs having a rifle, but rather the language used in the article, essentially making an argument to reinstate the AWB or something even more restrictive.


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    Even at close range a rifle is much better than just a sidearm, see the Miami Shootout.

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    Here, the media is (as usual) confusing semi-automatic rifles which are similar in appearance to assault rifles to being assault rifles (select-fire). As far as they are concerned they are just like any other rifle. I don't really care what they have, a gun is a gun right? Does it matter if they arehandguns,rifles,or shotguns?

    Of course, many police actually do use actual assault rifles.

    http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=835840 (Utah police buy M14)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2600403_3.html (Police recievefree surplus military equipment, including M16's)

    I don't see whats wrong with police having assault rifles as long as we can have them too.For police, they fulfill the role of a rifle just as fine as any "non-assault" rifle, just like they would for us. Even the military usually uses them in semi-automatic mode.

    Why is it thoughthat police are allowed touse surplus M16 from the military wheras regularcivilians can't because they are "machine-guns?" Well,I suppose the argument here isthat they recieve them at little to no charge from military surplus saving everyone money from them buying semi-auto AR-15's. But why can't I also buy military surplus M16's to reduce my costs?

    The biggest argument against equipping police with assault rifles, or supposed "assault weapons" like AR-15, is that they are expensive. Sincepolice are supported through tax, it probably makes much more sense to give them cheaper weapons, or best yet allowindividual officersto buy (with their ownmoney)and useon dutyweapons fromthe civilian market like the rest of us.If they want an AR-15 for the squadcar they can buy it.

    Also, if police need the privelege of buying the armor-piercing rounds (like SS190,) because the criminals they are shooting have body armor, shouldn't that reason for useapply to civilians as well?

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    I do not recall any police asking to use armor piercing rounds.

    But if we want to play the game of..."If they can why not us" I guess you should be allowed to install blue lights and a siren in your Honda Civic and kick it into hi gear as you rush to work doing 120 MPH. If the police can do it..... why not every citizen that drives a car!!

    There are good reasons citizens are not allowed to do the same things. Mostly... training, responsibility and accountability. A citizencannot be firedbut you can from the departmentif you abuse it. The most a civilian will get is a traffic ticket and maybe.. loss of license for a few days. The cop can lose his job and that also counts towards losing his career!!

    I know that many departmentsissue+P+ ammo and this is restricted to law enforcement. Should citizens have this ammo too? No law against it... but they cannot buy it off the shelf.

    The "assault" rifles are nothing more than AR-15s or M-16 rifles.

    BOTH!!!! Can be owned by civilians. AR-15 for aboutthe same price but the M-16 will be about $18,000 more for civilians. This is because the cost has gone up over the years as they change hands.

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    'Police won't be outgunned' The Washington Times Nation

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/artic...47/1002/NATION

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    Are we forgetting that the number of incidents where high power rifles and "assault weapons" are used is insignificant compared to the number of attacks with small caliber firearms? Also, note how in the article the Brady Bunch is talking about the assault weapons ban, the go on to cite a situation where the assailant used a shotgun.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Handguns and shotguns are useless against a bad guy with a rifle 100 yards away.
    OTOH, there are not that many cases where such a shot is necessary, and a 100 yard shot with a rifle is not as easy to make as some people seem to think.

    personally, I am not opposed to cops having a carbine in their squad, as long as they get some training and practice with it. its another tool at their disposal, and tools are inherently neither good nor bad.



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