If you are anti-guns, or afraid of guns, or just don't like them and don't want them in your house, then this blog is for you.
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Swat Team Leader: Focus on the person, not the firearm.

Gun Violence Prevention Work group

My name is Kevin Flemming and I am a police officer; the Leader of a large multi-agency swat team and I teach response to active shooters to patrol officers.

Almost all of the gun proposals that I have seen since the Sandy Hook tragedy focus on guns themselves and particular characteristics or magazines instead of being focused on the individual.  I am here to voice my strong opposition to these bills, and to present you with some facts about mass shootings and alternatives that I feel would be more effective.

The worst school shooting in American history was Virginia Tech where 33 people were killed. The murder did not use a  so called assault weapon or large capacity magazines; he used two handguns.  One with 10 round mags and one with a mixture of 10 and 15 round mags.  During his murdering spree he fired 174 rounds and reloaded his weapons 17 times.

The commission tasked with investigating the murders determined that a ban on magazines over 10 rounds would have had no effect whatsoever on the crime.

At columbine, while a federal assault weapons ban was in effect, a few killers used four guns, only one of which would be considered an assault weapon, even by newly proposed more strict Connecticut definition.  The majority of the
deaths and injuries came from a simple two shot shotgun that the killer reloaded over 20 times during his crimes.

Senate bill 122 proposed by senator ______ would ban the possession of any firearm that holds more than one round.  Senator ___ probably believed that this bill would stop mass shootings if it be adopted;  while a man named Charles Whitman who in 1966 climbed the tower that the University of Texas and killed 14 people and wounded 32 more would probably disagree, since he used exactly that one type of weapon that this law would allow:  a single shot bolt action rifle.

How about a total ban on the possession of firearms?  We can look to Chicago which has arguably the strictest gun laws in the free world with a total ban on the possession of handguns since 1982 until it was ruled unconstitutional in 2010.  From 1900 to 2012 Chicago averaged 652 murders a year, the highest murder rate in the nation.

My point is you can not solve this problem with additional gun control which focuses on the firearms instead of the person.  Additional restrictions on firearms or magazines would have had no effect on what happened at Sandy Hook.  Banning firearms serves only the criminal and hurts only the law abiding citizen.  Adam Lanza violated over 20 laws before he even arrived at Sandy Hook elementary school.  What makes people think that he would care about more?

There have been billed proposed that we ban the possession of magazines over 10 rounds.  There are already literally millions of these magazines already legally owned in Connecticut   Many are personally owned by most police officers  in the state for their own purposes outside of their duties.  Laws like this would force officers to choose between getting rid of their rightful and legal property or becoming a criminal.

Every officer that I have spoken with about this has said they will NOT get rid of their property as they feel such laws are unjust and specifically targets those who have done nothing wrong.  My father retired from law enforcement after 35 years and his agency gave him his service weapon as a token of their appreciation.  Do we really want to force people like him to make the choice between their property or becoming a criminal?

My suggestions are to look at the person instead of the gun.  Make mental health evaluations part of the pistol permit application process and make information about people involuntarily committed by law enforcement or doctors available to the state police weapons unit - just as is currently done with protective orders.  Most importantly:  Enforce the laws that we currently have on the books to the full extent of the law and require severe mandatory minimums of people convicted of violent crimes .

Thinking we can reduce gun crimes by changing the physical characteristics of firearms is like trying to reduce DUI related accidents by changing the physical characteristics of cars.  We must address the person and not the object.  Thank you.


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