Criminals increasingly are choosing high-powered firearms such as assault weapons, a new survey of 166 U.S. police agencies shows. Nearly 40% of the departments reported an uptick in the use of assault weapons, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, a law enforcement think tank.
In addition, half reported increases in the use of 9mm, .40-caliber and 10mm handguns in crimes — among the same types of weapons that police use. The survey offers one of the broadest indications of officers' concerns about the armed threat from criminals involved in murder, assault and other weapons-related offenses.
I like the comment by Southern Beale about this.
Nobody could have anticipated that allowing the federal assault weapons ban to expire in 2004 would have resulted in criminals’ increasing use of assault weapons.
Who indeed could have anticipated such a thing?
The two sides in the gun debate were represented in the USA Today article.
National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says officers' concerns are largely misplaced: "The real issue is the high-caliber criminal, not the high-caliber firearms." He says repeat offenders are overwhelming the system and could increase as states send fewer to prison to cut costs.
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, says the high-powered weapons endanger officers. If police say there's a problem, "public officials should be listening."
Now, I admit I have a soft spot for Paul Helmke. As a short time resident of Fort Wayne Indiana, the city which he presided over as mayor, I've always felt a connection with him. But, in the light of that tired old NRA line about "guns don't kill people, people kill people," I think Paul makes great sense when he urges lawmakers to listen up when police departments are talking.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.