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Russian Roulette with Cops' Lives
Politicizing the safety of our police officers.
Written By Michael F. Cannon - 26 July 2000

Michael F. Cannon is a domestic policy analyst at the Senate Republican Policy Committee. These views are not necessarily those of the Committee.

The campaign to destroy Americans' right to self-defense has taken some interesting turns recently. But an amendment being pushed this week by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) represents a new low: If successful, she might just get some policemen killed. Feinstein wants the federal government to buy Smith & Wesson guns as a reward for that company's acquiescence with gun control, even though many law-enforcement officers prefer other guns. 

After years of direct assault on the rights of gun owners (and non-gun owners, for that matter), gun controllers have opened fire on gun manufacturers a group less cohesive and more responsive to economic pressure. Some 30 municipalities and New York State have filed lawsuits against the industry, and HUD secretary Andrew Cuomo has threatened to bring America's 3,200 public-housing authorities into the act (naturally, without consulting them first). Their aim is to extort "voluntary" compliance with a wish-list of regulations that gun controllers can't push through Congress. Cuomo has threatened non-compliant manufacturers with "death by a thousand cuts." 

Wouldn't you know, someone caved. British-owned Smith & Wesson cut a deal with the most ethical administration in history.  In return, Cuomo promised to make S&W's legal problems disappear (he failed) and to steer federal contracts toward the gun-maker. 

Congress is about to break that promise for him. Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) has sponsored legislation that would block the Treasury Department from giving preference to S&W. Feinstein has vowed to strip that language from a bill soon to hit the Senate floor. 

The problem with Feinstein's position is that the quality of a service weapon is a life-or-death factor in some situations, and many law enforcement agencies are moving away from S&W. All guns may be the same to Feinstein, but police officers have to rely on the things. The choice should be theirs. 

And they resent the intrusion. The Fraternal Order of Police put it mildly: "The top concern of any law enforcement agency purchasing firearms is officer safety, not adherence to a particular political philosophy." Southern States Police Benevolent Association President Jack Roberts says choosing a service weapon is "a health and safety issue." Start introducing other
factors, and safety suffers. 

Before long, you have dead cops on your hands. 


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