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Nashville Police Allowed to Carry AR-15 Rifles

In a response to recent mass shootings, the Nashville Police Department is allowing trained officers to carry their personal AR-15 rifles in their vehicles while on duty.

The updated policy will allow police officers to carry "personally owned" rifles inside their vehicles as long as the weapons are inspected and authorized, aren’t modified and the officers complete a three-day training course on patrol rifle deployment, according to The Tennessean.

"Deadly events across the United States over the past few years, including, among others, those in Carson City, Nev., Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., demonstrate the high-powered weapons with which criminals are arming themselves," Police Chief Steve Anderson told the newspaper.

"It has become increasingly clear that a pistol and shotgun may not be enough for an officer to stop a threat to innocent citizens. This policy change is in the best interest of public and officer safety."

Department spokesman Don Aaron said that the department has considered the move for a few years and likened the changed to a shift in 1990 from revolvers to semi-automatic pistols.

Robert Weaver, president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, said his members support the policy change and believe it is a step to make sure officers have the tools they need.

While there are no immediate plans to purchase the rifles at the city's expense, which officials estimated could cost around $1.4 million; the department will be providing the officers with ammunition.