By Kevin Creighton
USA --(Ammoland.com)- Why is it that the police forces of cities which pride themselves in disarming their citizenry seem to have problems delivering the shot when needed?
Handguns were banned in D.C. for an entire generation, and despite recent changes, it’s still a steep uphill climb if you want to own a gun in our nation’s capitol.
Has that lack of gun culture in D.C. and other “gun-free” zones affected the quality of their police forces?
Recent events seem to indicate that’s so.
For example, just last week, the Secret Service and Capitol police riddled the Miriam Carey’s car with 26 rounds, despite the fact she was unarmed.
“There are definitely some major questions here,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of law at John Jay College, who has studied the issue of the use of deadly force. Among the key ones, he said, were what threat the officers believed Carey posed at the time they fired the shots and whether they were influenced by police radio transmissions reporting that there were “shots fired,” causing them to conclude – wrongly, as it turned out – that Carey was armed and dangerous.
The Secret Service confirmed Friday that the driver’s car struck at least one Secret Service car during the pursuit, before being cornered near Garfield Circle and the Capitol Reflecting Pool a few minutes later. Video shot by the U.S.-funded Alhurra news network shows six officers with guns drawn approached the stopped car and attempted to order the driver from the vehicle. Carey responded by whipping the car around, scattering the officers.
I, by the grace of God, am not a lawyer, but there is precedent to show that ramming your car into someone is considered deadly force, and therefore can be stopped with deadly force.
But 26 shots?
And it’s not like this is an isolated incident. We’re seeing a trend of over-reaction and ill-advised police shootings in all manner of “gun-free” locales.
The officers unloaded 16 rounds in the shadow of the Empire State Building at a disgruntled former apparel designer, killing him after he engaged in a gun battle with police, authorities said.
Three passersby sustained direct gunshot wounds, while the remaining six were hit by fragments, according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. All injuries were caused by police, he said Saturday.
Los Angeles will pay two women $4.2 million for wounds suffered when police mistakenly shot up their truck during the February manhunt for former officer Christopher Dorner, who went on a revenge-fueled killing spree before dying in a Southern California mountain cabin.
Margie Carranza, 47, was shot twice in the back and her 71-year-old mother, Emma Hernandez, was cut by broken glass when seven LAPD officers fired at least 100 rounds into their blue Toyota Tacoma pickup as they delivered papers before dawn Feb. 7.
Two officers fired three shots before the unarmed man was brought down with a Taser, the NYPD said. He has been charged with menacing, obstructing governmental administration, riot, criminal possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, the NYPD said in a statement issued Sunday morning. Those charges may change once he goes to court, however.
A 54-year-old woman was shot in the knee and a 37-year-old was grazed in the buttocks, police said.
It’s difficult to imagine that police recruits in cities such as Chicago, New York and D.C. who have never touched a gun until their first day on the training range can step up and deliver the shot when needed.
There’s a common saying in the firearms training community that in a gun battle, “you won’t rise to the occasion, but sink to you lowest level of training”. If the police in Los Angeles are trained to a standard that 91% of the “civilians” at a USPSA match can pass, what does this say for the quality of LAPD who have never touched a gun before they joined the force?
I’m positive there are officers on the LAPD and other police departments who are well-trained marksmen, because I’ve shot with such people at the Area 2 USPSA championship and elsewhere. I just can’t imagine that 30+ years of trying to remove guns from the hands of potential police recruits can have a positive effect on the quality of those recruits.
This isn’t the first time in our nation’s history that a lack of a trained, experienced civilians has affected the safety of the public at large. The National Rifle Association was founded because the accuracy of Union riflemen in the Civil War stunk due to an unfamiliarity with firearms. Are we now seeing that same lack of firearms culture affect the police forces of cities like New York, D.C. and Los Angeles?
For our safety, I sincerely hope not. However, if we want our police to be better shots, they need to start training with firearms before they join the police force.
About Kevin Creighton
Kevin Creighton is a passionate shooter who competes regularly in USPSA, IDPA and 3 gun matches and is also an NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor and Personal Defense Instructor. In addition to his home blog Misfires and Light Strikes (http://www.exurbanleague.com/
Teamgunblogger.com (www.teamgunblogger.com) was formed in 2011 by Jaci Jaynes, Kevin Creighton and Robert Messenger as a way to help introduce new gun owners to daily carry, competitive practical shooting, firearms training, and regular shooting practice. You can reach them at www.teamgunblogger.com or at email@example.com.