Statistics Show Disarming Police of Weaponry Causes Rates of Violence to Plummet, Raises Questions About De-Militarizing Law Enforcement

Cyrus Massoumi

It seems pretty counter-intuitive to decrease the amount of weapons to police officers as a way to decrease gun crime.  Bob Owens, however, one of the premier gun bloggers in America poses this question with tongue only somewhat in cheek, and he has the data to back it up.

You see, it turns out that America’s law enforcement officers are responsible for an enormous number of gun deaths every year.  According to Jim Bovard, in a March 4 editorial the Washington Times:

Jim Fisher, a former FBI agent and criminal law professor, compiled a database of police shootings and estimated that police in the United States in 2011 shot more than 1,100 people, killing 607. Mr. Fisher relied on the Internet to track the casualties, and the actual toll may be significantly higher. (Many police departments are very secretive about their shootings and succeed in withholding either numbers or key details from the public.) Mr. Fisher’s numbers do not include cases of off-duty police who shot acquaintances, such as the recent case of the veteran, married D.C. policeman convicted of murdering his girlfriend and leaving their 11-month-old baby to die in an overheated SUV to avoid paying child support.

According to the FBI, 323 people were killed nationwide by rifles in 2011 — less than 4 percent of the total deaths by firearms. The official statistics are not broken down by the type of rifle, so it is impossible to know how many of the victims were slain with the type of weapons that Mr. Obama classifies as “assault” weapons. Nationwide, 10 percent of the killings with rifles were committed by law enforcement officers, according to the FBI. Ironically, the raw numbers of killings by police are tossed into the firearm fatality totals that some politicians invoke to drum up support for confiscating privately owned guns.

Bob Owens adds some additional data to the numbers about people who die at the wrong end of a policeman’s gun.  He points out that the trend amongst urban police forces has been to militarize (i.e., give the police more military arms, military vehicles, and military body armor).  This militarization increases moral hazard.

“Moral hazard” — there’s a term you don’t hear often, right?  “Moral hazard” describes a peculiar human trait:  the more insulated people feel from the negative results of their conduct, the more likely they are to take risks.  That’s why people in cars outfitted with all the latest safety gadgets suddenly turn into very aggressive drivers; why football players with fancy helmets use their poor heads like battering rams; and why people with solid gold health insurance plans have less incentive to avoid unhealthy behaviors such as cigarette smoking or excessive alcohol intake.  There are some indications, say Owens, that our police forces, who are increasingly insulated behind all sorts of cool military equipment, are engaging in riskier behaviors when it comes to dealing with violent people and situations.

The problem, according to Owens, is that, even though police have military materiels, they don’t have military training:

Compared to the military agencies these weapon and armor packages are designed for, the police are poorly and infrequently trained, with very limited live-fire experience and minimal standards for passing scores designed not to demand officer competence, but to provide the minimal level of legal protection for the agencies for lawsuits resulting from police shootings.

Owens quite obviously isn’t serious when he proposes disarming America’s police force.  Instead, his point is that, if Progressives and other gun (sorry, people) control advocates are seriously looking into ways to decrease gun homicides, that should look at a segment of American society that was responsible in 2011 for at least 1,100 shootings, more than 600 of which were fatal.  Given those numbers, it may be time to contemplate taking all these fancy new military toys away from the police and returning them to old-fashioned revolvers:

When we have department-issued revolvers, there seemed to be fewer accidental police shootings, fewer shots fired per incident, and fewer innocent bystanders hit. Perhaps it is time to take a long, hard look at the amount of red blood spilled by the thin blue line, and limit their firepower as the first step in reducing gun violence of all kinds.

“Enough with the hysteria!  Enough is enough!”

Last week we wrote an article Debunking Every Liberal Gun Myth – Still, who knows if the government will pass the assault weapons ban, if you’re worried it will pass – here are the 5 Guns You should Buy Before A Gun ban, in better news though – a Sheriff in Oregon has said that he will not enforce the gun ban even if it is passed – and he is joined by many other law enforcement that are standing against Obama’s Gun Control Agenda.

 

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