Police Are Afraid of Assault Weapons

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2 mins read

Earlier this month, the mayor of Uvalde, Texas, released a surveillance video of the first responders at the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. I was shocked that police waited in the hallway for over an hour to confront the shooter while he continued to kill young students and their teachers. 

I firmly believe that what we saw on that tape was the fear that many police have in confronting shooters armed with assault weapons. If we continue to allow the sale of assault guns, even a well-trained, fully equipped police force could cower in the face of these weapons. 

Shamefully, some politicians say that the solution is to arm teachers. They will point to the armed civilian who shot and killed a heavily armed shooter in an Indiana shopping mall on July 17. But it is rare for an armed civilian to stop a shooter, and it could end badly for the civilian, who might be mistaken for the shooter when responders arrive on the scene.

A recent New York Times article, “Who Stops a ‘Bad Guy With a Gun’?” looked at how gunmen were stopped in 433 active shooting incidents. A bystander shot the attacker in only 22 of these cases. Of those 22 bystanders, only 12 were civilians. The other 10 were either security guards or off-duty officers.

The solution is not to arm teachers. The solution is to make it harder for killers to arm themselves with weapons that could make even police officers cower in fear. 

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, also the president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month. She said, “We are outgunned. We’re outmanned. … We do believe that there should be a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in order for us to properly serve and protect our community.”

Congress must ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines now.

Photo by Simeon Jacobson on Unsplash


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Martha Otto is an environmental engineer who recently retired after 35 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

1 Comment

  1. As a former police officer in both Pennsylvania and New York, I can say that law enforcement has always been outgunned. What has changed is the quantity of weapons of war being dumped on society which outgun police.
    A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would begin to level the playing field while reducing the flood of weapons of war flowing to bad actors. Too many weak and disgruntled citizens are using these weapons to slaughter innocent citizens. This is not freedom; it is quite the opposite. You are not free if you life in fear.

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