I have not even read this yet so I cannot comment. Apparently there were some rediculous pictures that went with the article as well. I will check back later-just though you guys should see this. Out to class...
Posted on Thu, Oct. 23, 2003
Police chiefs: Retain assault-weapons ban
The NRA has urged Congress to let the law expire. Lawmen had tales of the grim toll.
By Thomas J. Gibbons Jr.
Inquirer Staff Writer
Recalling officers in their commands killed or wounded in the line of duty, a group of police chiefs from across the nation called on Congress yesterday to renew the federal law outlawing military-style assault weapons.
The 10-year-old ban expires in September, and groups including the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) have been trying to persuade Congress to let the law die.
"The idea that 10 years later that we're even debating [it]... is insanity," said William Bratton, now police chief in Los Angeles and former police commissioner in New York.
Bratton was one of five big-city chiefs, including Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson, who addressed reporters on the subject at a Center City hotel near the Convention Center, where 15,000 law-enforcement officials from around the world are gathering for the 110th annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The chiefs, who also included Harold Hurtt of Phoenix, Richard Pennington of Atlanta, and Alex Fagan of San Francisco, spoke in front of a table laden with examples of assault weapons, including "street sweepers," 12-gauge shotguns with large-drum clips that can spray 12 shots as fast as the trigger can be pulled.
"The idea that anybody in this country that would advocate allowing these types of weapons onto the streets of America is insanity," Bratton said. As recently as Saturday night, he said, two of his officers on a prowler call were assaulted by a weapon "very similar to what you see in front of you."
In a telephone interview afterward, John Sigler, NRA second vice president, took issue with the chiefs, saying they were ignoring the "legislative intent" behind the law.
"That gun ban was a 10-year experiment to determine whether outlawing a list of firearms would have a positive effect in the reduction of firearm-related crimes. A study conducted by the Clinton-Reno Justice Department determined that it had no effect whatsoever on the use of firearms by criminals, and therefore Congress should continue the process that it started and allow the ban to expire per the initial legislation," said Sigler, a retired police captain in Dover, Del.
In his remarks, Hurtt said he vividly recalled both the "look on the face" of an officer's widow at her husband's funeral after he died from a gunshot wound to the head and visiting an officer in the hospital who had just had his leg amputated because of a bullet fired from an assault weapon.
"We want Congress to help us... to protect those that protect America," Hurtt said.
Johnson said the law was "all about quality of life. And what this ban does is it enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Philadelphia and all over the nation. I support this, will continue to fight for it, and we need it."
Richard Aborn, former president of Handgun Control Inc., opened the program and introduced the speakers. While speaking at the end of the presentation, Aborn caused some in the audience, including police officers, to stare wide-eyed at him as he pointed - with his finger on the trigger - a semiautomatic pistol fitted with a large clip around the room.
"I assume these weapons have been checked?" he asked a Philadelphia police captain. He was told they had been.
When later asked by a reporter about his actions, he apologized.
"I recognize that I should not have pointed that gun toward anyone because it does violate gun safety," Aborn said. "And the moment I realized I'd done it, I stopped, pointed the gun up to the ceiling, and said to everybody in the room I shouldn't have done it.
"In demonstrating them, I inadvertently pointed it to show how criminals use them. I instantly realized it was a mistake, and I said so. I was very honest about that."
Have to agree with the Chiefs on one thing... The fact that we are debating it after ten years is insanity. It has made no difference to the crime rate. Let it die.