In 1997, two bank robbers wearing body armor and brandishing automatic weapons got into a shootout with police in North Hollywood, Ca. When it was over, says the Miami Herald, 11 police officers and six civilians had been wounded. Police departments across the nation began issuing semiautomatic weapons and body armor to their officers. Ralston Davis, accused of killing three people, was arrested i Broward County, Fl., this month with a knock-off version of the high-powered AR-15 rifle. Deputies said that if Davis hadn’t run out of ammunition, he could have easily picked them off before they could take him out with their handguns, .45-caliber Glocks.
”My second day on the road, I was getting shot at with a high-powered weapon, and I couldn’t shoot back with my handgun,” said former Ft. Lauderdale officer Jim Decker said. “And, what’s worse, the bad guys are training themselves so they can shoot better.” One survey showed that 79 percent of the people who killed officers practiced at the range at least once a month. The National Association of Police Organizations, based in Washington, D.C., supports arming officers with high-powered rifles, saying the weapons are a tool, rarely used, but vital for the well-being of the public and for law enforcement.