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Old October 29, 2004, 11:14 AM   #3
Johnny Guest
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Join Date: August 28, 1999
Location: North Texas
Posts: 4,116
An old cop's oviepoint

Endor5, I believe you came to a good place to seek information. Reading your initial post, I began mentally composing a reply, and was gratified to see that shaggy has already covered practically each point I would have made.

As to your question concerning the feelings of current or retired law enforcement officers - - I personally prefer the concept of Peace Officer - - That those entrusted with special responsibilities by their community are or should be Officers of the Public Peace. In recent years there has been a trend toward the militarization of civil police personnel, including municipal police, constables, sheriffs and deputies, state police, and other non-military persons with statutory power to enforce local and state laws and to make arrests. Non-military federal agents are, in my mind, a somewhat different matter . . . .

I feel I have standing to express my opinions on this topic having over 35 years service with municipal and county agencies, all in Texas. My response is filled with first person opinions and the pronoun “I,” but you asked - - -

I think the “danger” to peace officers posed by any particular class of firearms is highly overstated. “Assault” is a behavior more than a descriptor of type. Let’s use the term “Assault Rifle” properly, to refer to a selective fire or full automatic arm firing an intermediate-power cartridge. This is distinct from the submachine gun (mostly using pistol cartridges) and military battle rifles (using full power cartridges.) This type arm usually has certain cosmetic features: A pistol style gripping area for the strong hand and a “high capacity” magazine. As most of the type originated for military use, they can usually accept a bayonet.

Without regard to what the law should be, the “Assault Weapons Ban” had nothing to do with full automatic firearms. It merely addressed the visual features - - long magazines, pistol grips, bayonet lugs and so forth. Possession, sale, and manufacture of fully automatic firearms have been federally regulated since 1934. The AWB did NOT deal with machine guns at all, and the expiration of this law did not legalize a single machine gun. All it did was regulate those who wished to have a civilian-legal version of a military rifle - - For WHATEVER purpose.

As to use of full auto guns in commission of crimes, I make two observations. As possession of an unregistered machine gun is illegal, a criminal is liable for arrest merely for having one. The gangsta risks incarceration for simple possession, his choice. I worry far more about one of our deputies being taken under fire by someone with a bolt action hunting rifle than a full auto sound effects gun. The guy with a lever action or bolt action deer rifle probably realizes he must take aim. A single aimed round from a high powered rifle is far more dangerous than an indiscriminate spray of lower powered, short range pistol bullets. Or, forget high powered deer rifles - - a cool headed kid with a scoped .22 rabbit rifle can be a problem for an infantry squad! Give me a thug with a sloppily converted AK or Uzi any day of the week. IF his weapon works, we’ll solve the problem while he’s fumbling around trying to reload after the sound effects are done.

The proper use of a full auto weapon requires a lot of practice, and preferably good training. Few criminals bother practicing with conventional firearms. Far fewer want to draw attention to themselves by firing off illegal full automatic guns.

As a hobbyist, I participate in occasional full auto shoots with a group of guys (and a couple of gals) that enjoy machine guns. You’d be hard put to find a more law-abiding group, or one more mindful of firearms safety. Just as with individuals who lawfully carry handguns, legal machine gun shooters in this area tend to be pillars of the community. These people are probably less danger to society than sports car enthusiasts, skate boarders, or dirt bike owners.

Must go now - - Good luck in your quest for knowledge.

Johnny
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