And in any case, there are legitimate needs for the kinds of guns that this "Why do you need it?" question gets asked about: to protect oneself and one's family. If such weapons as 17-round handguns and 20 or 30-round so-called "assault rifles" are unnecessary for individual self defense, then the obvious question is “Why do we issue them to individual police officers”? They don't face threats significantly different than any other citizen does, especially if a citizen is being targeted (most police face these same dangers more often, but that's beside the point).
What policies to propose?
In light of al the preceding, here's my list of suggested policy actions:
- Weapons with legitimate self-defense use should be allowed, including so-called assault rifles.
- Weapons that have no legitimate self-defense application should continue to be restricted.
- Weapons in the gray middle area can be decided on a fact- or outcome-basis. If they prove to be a menace they can be restricted; if they do not, there's no need to restrict them further nor to ban them.
- Enforce the myriad of unenforced legitimate laws already on the books. The NRA pushed the Clinton administration hard to do this; the Clintons resisted hard for years, but were finally forced to give in and fund Operation Exile, with a significant reduction in gun violence as a result.
- All gun laws (state, local and federal) ought to be reviewed and abolished if they can't be shown to have their desired outcome, to wit: a depressing effect on violent crime. (This kind of zero-based review of all laws would be wise, but such a proposal is beyond the scope of this article.)
- While right-to-carry licenses should probably, for practical reasons if nothing else, remain under the state's purview, how about a federal License To Carry if the applicant meets the normal criteria - no felony convictions, etc., and passes the same 40 or 80 hour firearms training program that federal agents have to pass in order for them to carry nationwide? The FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) firearms program - both the classroom and range parts) - could be made available to certified instructors in the private sector who would certify citizens.
So fellow officers, what do you think?