Police seek more powerful guns
POLICE in South Yorkshire could soon be issued with more powerful and accurate guns.
The weapons the force wants to acquire will use smaller bullets, which travel through the air more quickly than those used by the existing 9mm Heckler and Koch guns, potentially achieving greater accuracy.
Because the guns are also more powerful they would give officers a possible advantage of overcoming the protective qualities of body armour which criminals might choose to use.
That means the force will also have to invest in changes at its outdoor shooting range in Sprotborough, Doncaster, where officers attached to its Firearms Support Group train.
At present, the main weapons available to officers in the unit – and the armed response vehicles that patrol the county around the clock – are the similar but more dated Heckler and Koch carbines and Smith and Wesson revolvers.
A review of those weapons has been carried out recently to assess their effectiveness.
Both have been in service for some time and the carbines have been regarded as so effective that target practice routines were made more difficult to take account of their ease of use.
However, an investigation suggested that the force would benefit from a change to a different version of the gun, using a 5.56mm bullet instead.
The more modern G36C weapon uses the same calibre of bullet adopted by the British Army more than a decade ago, to replace a more bulky round.
The police research suggested the Smith and Wesson handguns should be retained, however.
There has been a steep rise in the number of occasions where firearms officers have to be deployed in South Yorkshire in recent years.
Most of those are false alarms, including incidents where worried members of the public have mistaken airguns or ball-bearing guns for more dangerous firearms but there has been an increase in incidents where criminals have been willing to both carry and use weapons.
Most of those are described as “targeted” shootings by senior officers, meaning they are committed by criminals against specific adversaries.
But armed officers are despatched to all incidents where guns are reported.
If the South Yorkshire Police Authority agrees to buying the new weapons, which will cost more than £60,000 in total, when it meets today it will also mean some knock-on spending at its shooting range.
A new “ballistic canopy” will be needed at one of the ranges to take account of the new ammunition being fired.
At the same time, the force wants to make other improvements at the range, at an isolated former quarry.
That would involve installing a new double-gate entrance and boundary fencing and also the installation of a new classroom and improvement work to the driveway.
In total, those costs
are expected to add around £120,000 more to the overall bill.
South Yorkshire Police has an impeccable record on its use of firearms.
Since the force was formed in 1974 the only time anyone has been shot by officers was during an incident in Athersley, Barnsley, when officers were confronted by a man with a shotgun.
He was shot by a detective inspector, although the bullet hit his hand and caused relatively minor injuries.
That was before the formation of the current Firearms Support Group.
The ultimate aim is always to avoid police having to discharge weapons and there are now other non-lethal alternatives available, including Taser pistols which can disable the target by launching a powerful electric charge through a wire attached to a dart.
16 February 2007
Archive for February, 2007
The UK is about to make air soft and possibly paintball illegal:
The VCR Bill: On the 8th June 2005 the government unveiled their Violent Crime Reduction Bill (VCR Bill) which if passed in its current form will prohibit by law the trade/sale/import and manufacture of anything that looks like a firearm in the UK. The sport and hobby that we all enjoy now lies in severe jeopardy.
Just a not to self to read later….
Gun Control’s Twisted Outcome
Restricting firearms has helped make England more crime-ridden than the U.S.
Yesterday, during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales claimed there is no express right to habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution. Gonzales was debating Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) about whether the Supreme Court’s ruling on Guantanamo detainees last year cited the constitutional right to habeas corpus. Gonzales claimed the Court did not cite such a right, then added, “There is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution.”
Specter pushed back. “Wait a minute. The constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?” Specter told Gonzales, “You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.” Watch it:
As McJoan noted, the right of habeas corpus is clear in Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the Contitution: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”
SPECTER: Where you have the Constitution having an explicit provision that the writ of habeas corpus cannot be suspended except for rebellion or invasion, and you have the Supreme Court saying that habeas corpus rights apply to Guantanamo detainees — aliens in Guantanamo — after an elaborate discussion as to why, how can the statutory taking of habeas corpus — when there’s an express constitutional provision that it can’t be suspended, and an explicit Supreme Court holding that it applies to Guantanamo alien detainees.
GONZALES: A couple things, Senator. I believe that the Supreme Court case you’re referring to dealt only with the statutory right to habeas, not the constitutional right to habeas.
SPECTER: Well, you’re not right about that. It’s plain on its face they are talking about the constitutional right to habeas corpus. They talk about habeas corpus being guaranteed by the Constitution, except in cases of an invasion or rebellion. They talk about John Runningmeade and the Magna Carta and the doctrine being imbedded in the Constitution.
GONZALES: Well, sir, the fact that they may have talked about the constitutional right to habeas doesn’t mean that the decision dealt with that constitutional right to habeas.
SPECTER: When did you last read the case?
GONZALES: It has been a while, but I’ll be happy to — I will go back and look at it.
SPECTER: I looked at it yesterday and this morning again.
GONZALES: I will go back and look at it. The fact that the Constitution — again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But it’s never been the case, and I’m not a Supreme —
SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?
GONZALES: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.” It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by —
SPECTER: You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.
Found via Digg.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
By MICHAEL S. BROWN
The anti-gun op-ed by Dr. Clifford M. Herman (“Bowing down to NRA is dangerous,” Jan. 23) certainly fits in with the renewed push by the P-I for more gun laws. As with previous articles, this one demonizes the NRA, offers anecdotal insights and questions the meaning of the Second Amendment. What it does not do is address the essential question.
Honest legislators must ask: Which gun laws, if any, will truly reduce violence? Thanks to the Clinton administration and the Centers for Disease Control, we have a pretty good idea. A group of scientists reviewed the extensive literature on the effectiveness of gun laws and released its report in 2003. With so many gun laws enacted in the latter half of the 20th century, there were numerous examples to study, but they were unable to find convincing evidence that any gun laws have ever been effective.
Their search included Herman’s 1988 Seattle-Vancouver study. Given that Herman is vociferously anti-gun, what are the chances that his study was scientifically sound and unbiased? That’s right, and virtually every anti-gun study ever done was created by the same kind of people and funded by openly anti-gun foundations. Their built-in bias makes them useless for public policy debate.
Washingtonians are not stupid. We are aware that gun laws have failed miserably wherever they have been tried. Anyone who knows how to visit the FBI Web site can tell you that the most dangerous places in the United States often are the places with the strictest gun laws. Gun laws overseas have been no more successful. Asking the Legislature to give us more is a colossal waste of time and an insult to our intelligence.
The real reason for the resurgence of anti-gun rhetoric is a long-running culture war between the two sides of the gun debate. From 1994 until the 2006 elections, the once powerful gun control lobby got kicked around by the NRA. Now that they have new friends in office, they want some payback.
Knowing that gun laws don’t work, what is the anti-gun lobby to do with its renewed political influence? Here in Washington, it is promoting a bill that will end private sales of guns at gun shows. But wait, the Department of Justice tells us that less than 1 percent of crime guns were purchased at gun shows, so why support such a useless law? The answer, in a word, is payback.
You see, although gun shows are not a significant source of crime guns, they are both a tool and symbol of the gun rights movement. People gather to discuss their hobby, curse the gun grabbers and enjoy spirited haggling over the price of treasured objects. They also recruit new members and raise funds for gun rights organizations. What better target for the wrath of those who despise guns and gun owners?
The concept of reducing violence by passing gun laws is a fallacy, as evidenced by several decades of failure. The only proven solution is to put criminals in prison and keep them there as long as you can. This is not a popular way to spend tax dollars, hence the opening for culture warriors to hijack the lawmaking process for their own ends.
Michael S. Brown, O.D., of Vancouver is a member of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws; http://www.dsgl.org.
The British Home Office Home Office is like our FBI. The following is a quote from the BBC:
A Home Office minister has suggested people “distract” potential criminals while waiting for police to intervene.
Asked by Jeremy Vine what people should do when confronted by anti-social behaviour, Tony McNulty MP agreed that jumping up and down could help.
I am speechless. Any excuse to prevent citizens from defending theirselve’s is a good excuse.
BBC, Distract criminals, says minister, Friday, 2 February 2007, 14:51 GMT