The “Don’t Kill Bill”


Read more of Mark’s work at his blog D.A. Confidential.

This falls under the heading of “storm in a teacup” – or I hope it does.

On June 1 the New York Post reported that a bill has been proposed in the New York State Assembly requiring cops to shoot to stop, not shoot to kill, and police officers and their backers have said stuff like. . . . Well, they can say it better than me:

“It’s moronic and would create two sets of rules in the streets if there is a gunfight. This legislation would require officers to literally shoot the gun out of someone’s hand or shoot to wound them in the leg or arm. I don’t know of any criminal who doesn’t shoot to kill. They are not bound by any restrictions.”

Here’s a sample of the language from the bill, Section of Assembly Bill A02952:

“A police officer or peace officer . . . uses such force with the intent to stop, rather than kill . . . and uses only the minimal amount of force necessary to effect such stop.”

I can’t seriously think that this will be made law. According to the story, even Joe Biden scoffed at it, calling it the “John Wayne Bill” because it “demands sharp-shooting skills of the kind only seen in movies.”

What’s interesting is that the legislation was proposed at all. It shows a remarkably poor understanding of the real-life situations cops face sometimes, as well as a disturbing lack of concern for the lives of the officers. Not to mention the bystanders shot when the cop aims for a perp’s gun-hand and misses.

If there’s a problem with cops shooting to kill too much (which I did not see reported in the story) then surely the solution is threefold: 1. Clear, simple policies and procedures for officers to follow in gun-fight situations; 2. Intensive training consistent with those policies and procedures, and 3. Accountability should an officer intentionally not follow them.

And may I suggest a week long ride-along for the well-intentioned folks who proposed the original legislation?

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