What Do America\'s Police Officers Really Think About Gun Control?

I\'m sure many people, perhaps even you, are under the impression that police officers everywhere are big supporters of the gun control laws coming out of our state and federal legislatures. If that\'s what you think then the media and politicians have succeeded in \"influencing your opinion\" through the use of propaganda techniques. If you think I\'m kidding (or off my nut here) read what James J. Fotis, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Alliance of America (LEAA) has to say about what America\'s police officers think. And if that\'s not enough, read the quotes from the rank and file street cops below.


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On \"assault weapons\"
\"One Police officer of Puerto Rico was shot and killed on October 13, 1981, by a subject who was intoxicated with marijuana and armed with a semi-automatic 9mm Model A Uzi. This was the only listing for a law enforcement officer killed with an Uzi [from 1980 to 1989].\"

J. Harper Wilson: Chief of the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program
to Mr. Paul Blackman, NRA, regarding the use of an Uzi against police officers,
June 20, 1990 [American Rifleman, September 1990, pg. 64]


\"Since police started keeping statistics, we now know that assault weapons are/were used in an underwhelming 0.026 of 1% of crimes in New Jersey. This means that my officers are more likely to confront an escaped tiger from the local zoo than to confront an assault rifle in the hands of a drug-crazed killer on the streets.\"

Deputy Chief Joseph Constance:
Trenton, New Jersey Police Department,
speaking before a Senate Committee, 1993


\"I\'ve never encountered an assault rifle.\"

Dominick Polifrone, Chief of New Jersey BATF: The New York Times, June 20, 1993


Regarding semi-auto bans, answered \"I think of them as whitewash. Government has not been able to deal with the crime problem effectively, so Congress is now trying to find a `quick fix'that the public will accept, but it won\'t work. These measures don\'t impact on crime. They can actually make crime rates worse. A good example is Washington, D.C. - a city that has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. It\'s now the murder capital of the country.\"

Lt. Harry Thomas: Cincinnati Police [American Rifleman, July 1989, pg. 58]


Regarding lawmakers overreaction by sponsoring semi-auto bans, said \"The anti-gun sentiment concerns me. It\'s another freedom someone is trying to take away. It\'s an artificial solution to the crime problem. In Memphis, very few semi-automatic firearms are confiscated from criminals. Let\'s leave law-abiding citizens alone. Criminals will continue to get guns illegally.\"

Ray Maples: Memphis Police Ass\'n President [American Rifleman, July 1989, pg.58]



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Regarding HCI\'s claim that BATF traces on guns prove their criminal use:
\"[F]irearms selected for tracing do not constitute a random sample and cannot be considered representative of the larger universe of all firearms used by criminals, or of any subset of that universe. As a result, data from the tracing system may not be appropriate for drawing inferences such as which makes or models of firearms are used for illicit purposes.\"

BATF: Congressional Research Service Report for Congress,
\"Assault Weapons:\" Military-Style Semi-automatic Firearms Facts and Issues,
Keith Bea, et al, May 13, 1992.


\"[BATF] does not always know if a firearm being traced has been used in a crime. For instance, sometimes a firearm is traced simply to determine the rightful owner after it is found by a law enforcement agency.\"

BATF response of April 8, 1991 to an inquiry
by House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.



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On the Brady Bill, Waiting periods and other licensing proposals
\"The clearest way to argue for federal modesty in dealing with crime is to point out that where we\'re seeing dramatic success it\'s the result of local initiative. New York\'s new policing, designed by commissioner William Bratton...has reduced crime so remarkably that much of the national turnaround is attributable to this alone...None of this [crime decline] is the result of the president\'s temporary new cops, nor of the Brady Act (for most guns were never bought by youth from licensed gun dealers) ...\"

Philip Heymann: Former Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration,
Washington Post, January 13, 1997


\"Get a gun. I don\'t think law enforcement can always protect (residents).\"

Sheriff Jake Miller, Brevard County, Florida,
Florida Today, [American Rifleman, Jan/Feb 1995, pg. 7]


\"Gun control has not worked in D.C. The only people who have guns are criminals. We have the strictest gun laws in the nation and one of the highest murder rates. It\'s quicker to pull your Smith & Wesson than to dial 911 if you\'re being robbed.\"

Lt. Lowell Duckett: Special Assistant to DC Police Chief;
President, Black Police Caucus, The Washington Post, March 22, 1996.


\"As a former law enforcement officer, it is a disgrace that the Brady law is so weak that almost no prosecutions have taken place, even though a felon who attempts to purchase a gun can receive a five-year minimum sentence. It is a law with no teeth.\" ,

James J. Fotis: Executive Director of the Law Enforcement
Alliance of America, Law and Order, October 1996.


When asked about stricter gun control laws, answered \"Personally, I don\'t think that would have any effect, because what it does is make it harder for law-abiding citizens who want to get weapons to protect their homes and families to get weapons; because criminals are gonna get them if they want \'em.\"

Tina Dillard: DeKalb County, Georgia police officer;
NBC-TV Today show, Sept. 17, 1993


\"The majority of peace officers I\'ve talked to agree that gun laws only result in armed criminals preying on defenseless citizens. Instead of useless anti-gun owner legislation, what we need and need right now are tough anti-crime measures. Anti-gun bills only cloud the real issue. And those of us who actually battle crime pay the price.\"

Lt. Harry Thomas: Cincinnati Police Division,
American Rifleman, August 1989


Asked what could be done about the proliferation of guns on the streets, replied \"We\'re supposed to have the toughest law of all the states. It doesn\'t seem to be working too well.\"

Lt. James Moran: New York City Police Department
[American Rifleman, April 1989, pg. 18]


\"I\'m sick of the guns being put out on the street in the wrong hands. It\'s not that we don\'t have gun laws, we just need to enforce them. I\'m not for more gun laws, I\'m for enforcing the laws we have. We\'re going to enforce all the gun laws on the books.\"

Lt. Philip Dacey: Pittsburgh Police Department,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 21, 1993


\"It\'s wrong for a few police chiefs to endorse the Brady Bill, or any legislation, and say they speak for everyone in law enforcement.\"

Trooper Bill Krulac: Pennsylvania State Police,
U.S. Capitol Rally, September 7, 1988
Mr. Krulac wrote to me August 5, 1998 to say \"What I said 10 years ago still applies.\"


Speaking on the waiting period bills, stated \"The bill wouldn\'t reduce crime because it would take police resources away from areas where they are more needed - citizens'calls for service. It\'s toothless legislation. Most peace officers are intelligent enough to know this bill wouldn\'t keep guns out of the hands of felons. They don\'t obey other laws, so this is just another law for criminals to ignore.\"

Deputy Sheriff Dwight Van Horn: Los Angeles County Sheriff\'s Department,
U.S. Capitol Rally, September 7, 1988


\"Police officers alone cannot control or prevent crime - they never have and likely never will. Instead, their primary mission must be to help communities police themselves.\"

Patrick Murphy: former New York City police commissioner


\"I would be interested in seeing how they would set it up, but I don\'t want to get into a situation where we have gun registration.\"

National Fraternal Order of Police President Dewey Stokes:
speaking about licensing and registering guns, The Washington Times, December 10, 1993


\"On behalf of the South Carolina law enforcement, I can say we are adamantly opposed to registration of guns. I think there is no difference in licensing the gun owner or registering the gun - that is just semantics.\"

South Carolina State Fraternal Order of Police President Charles Canterbury,
of the Horry County, S.C., Police Department: The Washington Times, Dec. 10, 1993


\"My personal opinion is mixed. We need to do something to make some sense out of what is happening on the streets, but as a practical matter, people who are illegally using firearms are not going to be stopped by licensing.\"

Major Aaron Campbell: Miami Metro Dade Police Department,
The Washington Times, December 10, 1993


\"I have always been a proponent of gun control. But I\'m staunchly opposed to too much government control. I don\'t think licensing would have any effect on crime. And I recognize that however difficult you make it, the bad guys are always going to have guns.\"

Detective Phil Cameron, Fort Lauderdale, Florida,
Fraternal Order of Police President: Fort Lauderdale Police Department,
The Washington Times, December 10, 1993



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Comments on Concealed-Carry Reform Laws
\"[I\'m] eating a lot of crow on this issue. It isn\'t something I necessarily like to do, but I am doing it on this.\"

Harris County [Texas] District Attorney John Holmes


\"I lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because I thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn\'t happened. All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn\'t happen. No bogeyman. I think it\'s worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I\'m a convert.\"

Glenn White: President of the Dallas Police Association, Dallas Morning News, December 23, 1997