About Us| Issues & Campaigns| Media| Get Involved| New to the Issue?| Donate

December 1, 2008

Question No. 59

The intricate web of organizations that make up what is commonly called the “gun lobby” has relied for years on scare tactics to stir up their members and raise funds. One of the staples of the fear factory has been the claim that Democrats want to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of firearms in the United States. This “Chicken Little” tactic was recently used by the National Rifle Association in the November elections. The NRA wasted $15 million trying to convince hunters and sportsmen that Senator Barack Obama planned to take their guns—and then watched him win a landslide victory over Senator John McCain, their candidate of choice. Maybe Wayne LaPierre & Co. simply forgot that bugaboo is no longer available for exploitation in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller. Justice Scalia made it patently clear that gun bans are unconstitutional and therefore impossible.

The gun lobby needed a new fear to exploit—and the latest “smoking gun” they have zeroed in on is a real beaut. In an attempt to again paint the Obama Administration as a threat to gun ownership, the current hue and cry is about a widely disseminated questionnaire for those applying for jobs in the new administration. Specifically, this question has drawn the pro-gunners ire:

“Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”

The NRA has described the question as “chilling” and suggested it could be used to disqualify law-abiding individuals who use firearms for hunting or self-defense in the home. Republican Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina has also claimed (again without evidence) that the question was designed to “discriminate based on lawful activity.” Finally, Brendan Miniter of the Wall Street Journal argued that President-elect Obama has displayed “a typical ignorance of how gun ownership works in America.”

That’s funny. To hear the gun lobby tell it, I always thought gun ownership was about personal responsibility. It seems to me that the new administration’s questionnaire was simply trying to determine if applicants have exercised their Second Amendment rights in a responsible manner. Moreover, there is no evidence that gun ownership was being specifically targeted by the incoming administration. There were more than 60 questions on the questionnaire that sought to assess the overall character of applicants—including lobby ties, financial records, property ownership and the like. Given that these individuals seek to serve at the highest levels of government, that’s not only reasonable, but necessary—even in a pre-9/11 era.

I suspect the true reason the NRA got its tail feathers ruffled is because they seek to make private gun ownership in our country anonymous and unregulated. But responsibility and accountability go hand in hand—and no law-abiding citizen will ever have anything to fear from a little transparency when it comes to employment screening.


  1. The question on the application is disturbing to say the least. Why should an applicant have to list the guns owned by their family members? Some applicants probably don't know all the guns that their family members own.

    Why is lawful gun ownership even an issue on the application? If it is not ment to descriminate against lawful gun owners, or against people who have family members who own them, then what other purpose does this question serve?

    But what is particularly telling is the statement from the Wall Street Journal that the question displays "a typical ignorance of how gun ownership works in America."

    I noticed you did not attempt to refute this point, which makes sense because it is indisputably true. The question requires "registration information" by the applicant, as if registration is required by the federal government or by all 50 states. Of course that is not true. The federal government does not require gun registration (actually there are laws against creating a federal gun database in the 1986 FOPA), and many states do not require registration either.

    Therefore, it is likely many applicants have not registered their firearms because their local and federal government does not require them to do so. Yet the question requires the applicants to "provide registration information" and state if "Registration ever lapsed", not considering that registration may never have been required at all.

    The question on the application, along with Obama's nomination of Eric Holder, who opposed the Heller verdict (something Obama claimed to support) for AG has given gun owners good reason to be concerned.

  2. Mike,

    Maybe the reason pro civil rights advocates talk about the Democrats wanting to "ban the manufacture, sale and possession of firearms in the United States." is simply because the Democrats want to do exactly that!!

    "Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step."
    -- Janet Reno

    "Banning guns is an idea whose time has come." --U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden ssociated Press 11/18/93

    "Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe." --U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein Associated Press 11/18/93

    "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an out right ban,
    picking up every one of them... "Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in,
    "I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here." --U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), CBS-TV's "60 Minutes," 2/5/95

    Here is one that should sound real familiar:
    "Our goal is to not allow anybody to buy a handgun. In the meantime, we think there ought to
    be strict licensing and regulation. Ultimately, that may mean it would require court approval to buy a handgun."
    -- Michael K. Beard, President of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
    [Washington Times, 12/6/93, page A1]

    Mike, what do you call no evidence...how about Obama's stated positions and voting records? Those that show he has consistently opposed our civil rights, such as:
    FACT: Barack Obama voted for an Illinois State Senate bill to ban and confiscate “assault weapons,” but the bill was so poorly crafted, it would have also banned most semi-auto and single and double barrel shotguns commonly used by sportsmen

    FACT: Barack Obama wants to re-impose the failed and discredited Clinton Gun Ban

    FACT: Barack Obama supports local gun bans in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other cities

    FACT: Barack Obama voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense

    FACT: Barack Obama opposes Right to Carry laws

    FACT: Barack Obama supported a proposal to ban gun stores within 5 miles of a school or park, which would eliminate almost every gun store in America

    FACT: Barack Obama supports a ban on inexpensive handguns.

    Once again, I reply to you but I wonder if my posts will be approved.

    Should we take Obama at his word despite his track record:
    “Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress,’’ he said. “This can’t be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back there. I’m not going to take away your guns.’’

    Should we be concerned because now it looks like he does have the votes in Congress?

  3. Thanks for your comment, Bob S. We reviewed all the quotes you provided for authenticity and context.

    The Janet Reno quote was revealed as bogus years ago. There was never any evidence to prove she said it beyond the word of a single man, who approached Marion Hammer of the NRA with his story when Reno was nominated for attorney general in 1993.

    The Joe Biden quote is also bogus. That quote is nowhere to be found in the story from the Associated Press dated November 18, 1993 (“Senate Move Would Ban 19 Types of Assault Arms Anti-Crime Bill Nears Passage”). In the article, Senator Biden simply stated that the Assault Weapons Ban was an idea “whose time has come.”

    The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was signed into law a year later. It banned the sale of 19 specific assault weapons and ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds. Semiautomatic rifles that had more than one of the following features were also banned: folding/telescoping stock, protruding pistol grip, bayonet mount, threaded muzzle or flash suppressor, grenade launcher. When the ban expired in September 2004, 71% of Americans favored renewing it.

    Senator Feinstein’s 1995 quote refers directly to the weapons named in the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. The law grandfathered existing assault weapons, allowing their owners to keep them. Senator Feinstein was indicating that she would have preferred to have seen these firearms turned in to authorities.

    Finally, you failed to provide context for the quote from our president, Mike Beard, in the Washington Times story from December 6, 1993 (“Clinton Consider Licensing All Guns”). He was referring to the licensing of gun dealers in the District of Columbia. Here’s the full quote from the story:

    “As an example of what he described as a lax system where routine checks are not made, Mr. Beard said ATF has issued gun dealer permits to people in the District of Columbia, where gun sales are illegal. ‘Our goal is to not allow anybody to buy a handgun,’ Mr. Beard said. ‘In the meantime, we think there ought to be strict licensing and regulation. Ultimately, that may mean it would require court approval to buy a handgun.’

    The “facts” you provided about President-Elect Obama were long ago debunked by FactCheck.org, Newsweek and others.

    In any case, as stated in this blog, the argument that Democrats are going to ban all firearms is a straw man. The Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller makes it patently clear that handgun bans (and bans of other firearms suitable for home defense and hunting like rifles and shotguns) are off the table as a policy option. - CSGV

  4. You neglect to mention that many of the weapons covered under the 1994 AWB were and are very suitable for home defense.

    And while anti-gun groups seem to think Scalia's statement in the Heller verdict about allowing the prohibition of "Dangerous or Unusual firearms" means the 1994 AWB is constitutional, that actually remains to be seen. Since anyone who knows anything about firearms will tell you that features such as folding stocks, barrel shrouds, pistol grips, bayonet lugs, and threaded barrels have no actual effect on the performance of a firearm and do not make it more dangerous, nor are such features "unusual", it could very well be that the 1994 ban (or the more restrictive versions pushed by anti-gun politicians like Carolyn McCarthy) goes too far and is a violation of the second amendment.

    It will probably take another court ruling on federal or local AWB before we can be sure one way or the other.

    Oh and even if Beard was talking about Washington gun dealers, his statement that his goal is to not allow anyone to buy a handgun is still just as significant.

    Funny how you bring up the Heller verdict in your defense after doing everything you could to oppose a ruling against the district. Seems like you want us to have short memories.

    Then again, I bet you also want us to forget that your organization used to be named the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.

  5. Thanks for your comment, thestaplegunkid9. The questionnaire only asks about guns owned by one’s immediate family members. We would think that an applicant would be aware of the guns in his/her home. If not—and particularly if they have children—they certainly should be.

    The purpose of these questions seems to be to confirm that the applicant has obeyed the gun laws in his/her state and used firearms responsibly—a reasonable inquiry for someone seeking to serve at the highest levels of government.

    As for the issue of registration, we think that is much ado about nothing. Applicants in jurisdictions that require registration would have to provide that information. Others could simply write “No firearm registration required in the state of ________.” Quite simple.

    As for Eric Holder’s stance on Heller, many Americans opposed the decision, including four Supreme Court justices. But the Heller ruling is now law of the land, and the Obama administration will have to abide by it. - CSGV

  6. Gun owners are rightly concerned because we've been burned many times before. Just because the Supreme Court found it was against the Second Amendment of the Constitution to ban firearms doesn't mean an anti-gun congress and president won't put a 5,000% tax on ammunition or try some other mechanism of a defacto ban.

    You write as if this recent determination in the courts means that ant-gun groups may as well dis-band, and we all know that isn't happening. Sorry, but that sleeping pill you offer is soundly rejected.

  7. stopgunviolence: "The purpose of these questions seems to be to confirm that the applicant has obeyed the gun laws in his/her state and used firearms responsibly—a reasonable inquiry for someone seeking to serve at the highest levels of government."

    They shouldn't have child pornography either, so why not ask about that? Add "Do you beat your spouse and kids?" while you are at it.

    Only and anti-gun zealot would fail to see the absurdity of such a question.

  8. Thanks for your follow-up comment, thestaplegunkid9. It’s debatable as to whether assault weapons are suitable for home defense. That is certainly not their purpose. These are military-style weapons that were designed for use on the battlefield. In the words of ATF: “Assault weapons were designed for rapid fire, close quarter shooting at human beings. That is why they were put together the way they were. You will not find these guns in a duck blind or at the Olympics. They are mass produced mayhem.” (ATF, "Assault Weapons Profile," at 19, 1994).

    As for the specific features mentioned in the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, these features all have a distinctive purpose. A grenade launcher is self-explanatory. A barrel shroud cools the barrel of the gun and allows the shooter to continue leveling and firing the weapon after repeated rounds. A flash suppressor allows a sniper to fire at night without being detected. A pistol grip allows the shooter to fire from the hip and in general achieve greater accuracy with the weapon. Threaded barrels can accommodate flash suppressors or silencers. A folding stock allows a shooter to conceal an assault weapon under a coat or jacket. These are all features incorporated by manufacturers into firearms designed for battlefield use, and none of them were added arbitrarily.

    You are correct that future assault weapons bans will hinge in part on how the courts interpret Justice Scalia’s “dangerous” and “unusual” language.

    Finally, your comments about our organization deal with matters of public record. Our amicus brief in the Heller case has been posted on our website since January and you can read it here. It is also well known that this organization was formerly known as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns. We ceased to support a national ban on handguns, however, when we became the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in the early 1990s. - CSGV

  9. this is not disturbing at all.

    kudos to the future administration for making sure the potential employees follow their states' gun registration rules (if applicable) to protect the administration from a gun-toting "nannygate" scandal as well as trying to protect itself from the embarassment of a cheney-shotgun moment.

  10. CSGV

    Sorry, but some of your facts just aren't accurate, once again.

    As for the specific features mentioned in the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, these features all have a distinctive purpose. A grenade launcher is self-explanatory. A barrel shroud cools the barrel of the gun and allows the shooter to continue leveling and firing the weapon after repeated rounds.

    Even a single round can create an uncomfortable amount of heat. Many target shooting sports are designed to test a person's skill at hitting a target multiple times in a short period. What is wrong with allowing people to fire multiple rounds quickly?
    The percentages of any rifle being used in crimes is incredibly low:

    "* The FBI's Supplemental Homicide Reports show that in 1993 57% of all murders were committed with handguns, 3% with rifles, 5% with shotguns, and 5% with firearms where the type was unknown."

    A flash suppressor allows a sniper to fire at night without being detected.

    This is simply impossible, a flash suppressor does not eliminate the light and sound created by a round being fired, it simply reduces the amount. Any weapon fired at night will be detectable, flash suppressor or not.

    A pistol grip allows the shooter to fire from the hip and in general achieve greater accuracy with the weapon.

    This is partially correct, a pistol grip does allow for greater accuracy because it simply changes the angle in with the rifle is held. Improving the ergonomics allows for increased accuracy. However, it seems you are trying to imply contradictory statements here. The purpose of a pistol grip is not to allow for firing from the hip and firing from the hip does not generate accurate shooting.

    Threaded barrels can accommodate flash suppressors or silencers.

    Again accurate but does not state the reasons for those items. Many indoor ranges are darkly lit, reducing the flash helps keep people from being flash blinded while target shooting. A "silencer" is a noise suppressor, it does not completely eliminate the sound but greatly reduces it. These are helpful to reduce the sound, especially on an indoor range, of many guns being fired. Isn't protecting target shooters hearing an acceptable goal?

    A folding stock allows a shooter to conceal an assault weapon under a coat or jacket.

    Again, rifles and shotguns are not being use in high numbers in crimes. The primary purpose of folding stocks or collapsible stocks is to allow the firearm to be used by people of different height and reach, not concealment.

    These are all features incorporated by manufacturers into firearms designed for battlefield use, and none of them were added arbitrarily.

    You are right, none of this were added arbitrarily, but not all of them were designed for battlefield use.

    Lastly, another misdirection on your part.
    It’s debatable as to whether assault weapons are suitable for home defense.

    The weapons banned by the misnamed "Assault Weapons Ban" were not assault weapons because they were not capable of repeated firing with one trigger pull. All the firearms listed were semi automatic firearms. In function, these were no different from the most common hunting rifles on the market.

    Ask the people in Los Angeles if the same rifles used by police departments were not useful in defending their properties and lives during the Rodney King riots.

    The patrol rifles used by the police are often the same models used by civilians, just required by law to be semi-automatic only.

  11. The issue isn't about weather or not "assault weapons" are good for a "duck blind or at the Olympics", but weather or not they are effective for self defense, which many of them clearly are. They are extremely accurate, hold many rounds, and are far more powerful then a handgun. Furthermore, if such weapons were not effective for self defense, then why do so many police departments use them? (The 1994 AWB contained an exemption for law enforcement) Is it because the police want to use them for "mass produced mayhem", or is it because they are actually effective self defense tools?

    Any experienced shooter can easily debunk your claims about the features you mentioned. A grenade launcher isn't even an issue since they are almost non-existant on the market to begin with and heavily regulated without the AWB. A barrel shroud is simply a SAFETY feature to prevent a shooter from burning his hands on a hot barrel (is there any other product that has people denouncing its safety features?) Burned hands do not save lives. A flash suppressor simply reduces the muzzel flash and has no effect on a gun's performance. A pistol grip is simply a device to make a gun easier to hold. All guns, regardless of their grip, can be fired from the hip. All rifles and full sized shotguns, with or without pistol grips, are made to be fired from the shoulder. A folding stock simply makes a gun easier to carry. These features are common on many firearms and do not, in any conceivable way, make a gun particularly dangerous. They have no impact on the actual performance of a firearm. Claiming otherwise is like saying that tinted windows and mud flaps make vehicles more deadly.

    Furthermore, calling the guns covered under the 1994 AWB "battlefield" or "military" weapons is deceptive because they are not used by the military. They are based on certain military designs (for example the AR15 is based on the army's M16), but they are different versions made specifically for police and civilians, the same way a civilian hummer differs from a military one. The civilian versions of military weapons are not the same thing, due to many design differences, particularly the lack of a select fire switch that allows for "burst" or "automatic" fire.

  12. Thanks for your comment, Bob. It seems that you failed to read the questionnaire. Any past offenses related to sexual misconduct and domestic abuse (or any other crime with the exception of minor traffic offenses) are covered in questions 42, 45, 46, and 50. - CSGV

  13. Thanks for your comment, thestaplegunkid9. You seem to have confirmed what we've said, which is that: 1) Assault weapons are extremely accurate, powerful firearms that can accommodate high-capacity magazines, and 2) The weapons covered by the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban were all weapons originally designed for use on the battlefield. The civilian versions simply are converted to semiautomatic fire only. That still allows for a very rapid rate of fire, and increased accuracy.

    Finally, the Heller decision examined the specific question of home defense. Whether or not it is appropriate for law enforcement officers to carry assault weapons is a separate question. What is clear is that many police departments are arming up with assault weapons because they are increasingly confronting criminals armed with them, further testament to America's weak gun laws and the need to renew the 1994 ban. - CSGV

  14. You're twisting my words to ignore the key points. The guns covered under the 1994 AWB may have been based on military designs, but the fact remains that they have been redesigned and marketed specifically for police and civilian use. This means that they are NOT "military" or "battlefield" weapons, and have been changed specifically for them to be distinguished from the type used by the military. They are redesigned civilian versions of military equipment, just as the civilian hummer differs from the military one. The fact that a product was originally designed for the military does not make the civilian model of it a "military" tool.

    I'm not sure what distinction you are trying to draw between police use of guns to stop crime and civilian use of guns to defend their own lives. Whether we are talking about an officer responding to a bank robbery or a citizen repelling home invaders, the goal of using firearms in both cases is the same: to protect against the imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm. If so called "assault weapons" were not effective for this purpose, then the police would not use them.

    Your claim that police are arming up with "assault weapons" because most criminals have them is not supported by data.


    As you can see, ALL rifles and shotguns are involved in just %5.1 of total murders, meaning the number for ones classified as "assault weapons" is even lower. A murder victim in this country is more likely to be beaten to death then killed with an "assault weapon". Contrary to what anti-gun groups have been claims, "assault weapons" have never been the weapon of choice for criminals. They are only occationally used in high profile incidents which anti-gun groups use to make it seem like they are a lot more dangerous then they really are.

    The reason police are using "assault weapons" is because when gunfire breaks out and they need to shoot back, they want the best tools for the job. Any officer will tell you the an "assault weapon" is much more effective for winning a shootout then a handgun. If an officer goes to an incident where he knows he's probably going to get shot at, he will bring a rifle or shotgun if their department issues them, regardless of what firearm their opponent will have.

    Considering how effective these tools are for self defense, it is not unreasonable for citizens to want them as well.

  15. Thanks for your comment, Bob S. You stated that “The weapons banned by the misnamed ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ were not assault weapons because they were not capable of repeated firing with one trigger pull. All the firearms listed were semi automatic firearms.”

    In truth, the gun industry and its trade publications have described these semiautomatic firearms as “assault weapons” dating back more than 25 years.

    A few examples…

    The first “Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons” was released in 1986, and was edited by Jack Lewis, the co-founder and editor of Gun World. The cover of that publication promised “A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF ASSAULT WEAPONS” with “Test Reports—Firing the latest in Full and Semi-Autos.” In his forward for the book, Mr. Lewis writes, “There also is an element of the civilian population that is showing an increasing interest in this type of weaponry. The vast majority of these shooters and gunowners purchase assault-type weapons limited to semiautomatic fire.”

    Tom Diaz provided numerous other examples of the gun industry discussing semiautomatic “assault weapons” in his book, “Making a Killing.” Here are a few examples from pp. 126-7 of the book:

    "As Guns and Ammo commented in a 1981 review of the Volunteer Enterprises Commando Mark 9, 'Call it Walter Mitty-ism, an increasing concern over 'urban survival,' or whatever you like, but the fact that shooters are becoming more interested in modern military and military look-alike guns cannot be denied. Sales of assault rifles, auto-pistols and accessories have soared over the past few years.'"

    "In 1982 Guns & Ammo listed the 'success of military assault rifles in the civilian market, together with the 'survivalist' movement they represent' as one of the '10 Unlikeliest Ideas in the Shooting Sports Which Have Succeeded.'"

    "The German company Heckler & Koch published advertisements stressing the military lineage of its civilian 'assault rifles.' Intratec boasted that its TEC-9 'clearly stands out among high capacity assault-type pistols.' Magnum Research advertised that the Galil rifle system to which it had import rights 'outperformed every other assault rifle.'"

    These examples pre-date the introduction of the first federal Assault Weapons Ban bill in 1989.

    As Diaz describes it, "Originally, the gun industry had little doubt about what to call civilian semi-automatic assault weapons. The gun press enthusiastically and flatly used military terms and the word 'assault' to describe these guns when they first became popular in the early 1980s. Gun writers freely called them 'assault rifles,' 'assault pistols,' or 'military assault' weapons and candidly discussed the features that distinguish assault weapons from such other semiautomatic guns as the ordinary hunting rifle." - CSGV

  16. Thanks for the comment, thestaplegunkid9. The only difference between a battlefield assault weapon and the weapons banned in the U.S. under the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban is that the former category of weapons can fire on full automatic and the civilian versions cannot. But as we noted before, one can still fire at a very fast rate on semiautomatic (as fast as you can pull the trigger).

    And while you are correct that an overwhelming number of firearm-related crimes in this country are committed with handguns, there is data to show that assault weapons are a concern, particularly for law enforcement.

    One study showed that at least 41 of the 211 law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2001, were killed with assault weapons. Furthermore, “Since 1993, the year before the ban took effect, ATF has recorded a more than sevenfold increase in 7.62x39mm guns—which includes the original Russian-made AK-47 and a variety of copycats from around the world. The number of AK-type guns rose from 1,140 in 1993 to 8,547 [in 2007]. Since 2005, the first full year after the ban's expiration, ATF has recorded an 11 percent increase in such tracings.”

    We agree that an assault weapon “is much more effective for winning a shootout then a handgun.” They are more lethal and powerful weapons. But it is also clear from the comments of the police themselves that they are arming up with assault weapons because they are increasingly seeing these weapons in the hands of criminals. Here are some recent excerpts from news stories where law enforcement officials were interviewed:

    Authorities say they are finding more and more military-style assault rifles at crime scenes, and they say there's nothing they can really do to prevent the weapons from getting into the wrong hands ... ‘I've been in this business 25 years, and it's just getting worse,’ Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green said.”

    The D.C. police department's decision to arm patrol officers with [AR-15] rifles is promoted by commanders as a way to stay ahead of criminals ... ‘We want to be prepared,’ [D.C. Police Chief Cathy] Lanier said. ‘I want officers to have what they need to be safe.’”

    “‘We're in an arms race,’ said Police Chief Scott Knight of Chaska, Minnesota, chairman of the firearms committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.”

    Miami Police Chief John Timoney agreed to let patrol officers carry assault rifles to help counter the use of such weapons by criminals. John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, pleaded for the same for officers in the Miami-Dade department, which protects more than 1.4 million people around the city. "It's almost like we have water pistols," he said.”

    “’They’re everywhere,’ [Miami Police Chief] Timoney said. ‘At $100 or $200, everyone can afford one of these killing machines.’”

    “’When we get into a situation where the bad guys are carrying heavy weaponry, then we start to worry that we don't have enough firepower. We would need something to at least equal or surpass their weapon capabilities,’ said Gainesville Police Lt. Brian Helmerson, commander of the agency's Operational Skills Unit and Advanced Law Enforcement Rifle Team ... ‘They have greater firepower than we do,’ he said ... Helmerson said [Gainesville Police Chief Norman Botsford] will be considering one option for that agency that would include training and arming all patrol officers to carry semiautomatic rifles such as an AR-15 or a Mini-14.”

    Assault weapons have become so easily found in South Florida, and are so affordable, that Miami Police Detective Delrish Moss said he's heard they're being sold from the trunks of cars for as little as $200 or $300 … Also joining the call to reinstate the ban was Miami-Dade's police union chief John Rivera, who said that while he supports the right to bear arms, ‘I do not believe there's a place in society for certain assault weapons, an AK-47 is one of them. It was blue-printed for war.’”

    “‘It's not nice we have to arm ourselves like the soldiers in Iraq,’ said Sgt. Laurie Pfeil, who supervises a sheriff's road patrol in Palm Beach County and is now certified to carry a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle on the job. It's the civilian version of the military's M-16 used by U.S. soldiers in Iraq. ‘We are like soldiers. It is a war,’ says Sgt Pfeil.”

    - CSGV