The West Memphis, Ar., police chief who said his officers are outgunned has a strong ally in Maine State Rep. Paulette Beaudoin, whose legislation is providing Maine State Police troopers with more firepower in the form of AR-15 assault rifles, replacing their 9mm Ruger rifles, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “It’s like we’re sending them out and saying ‘go get killed,’ in a sense, with the 9 millimeter,” Beaudoin said. “They need the AR-15; they need the protection.”
The rapidly fired bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle wielded by a teenager last week pierced a West Memphis police car and its engine as two officers were killed. Scott Knight, Chaska, Mn., police chief and chairman of the firearms committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said many departments nationwide have evolved from arming officers with shotguns and 9mm carbine rifles to issuing military-style AR-15 and AK-47 assault weapons. “I assure you this is not a trendy thing,” said Knight, chief of a department that has AR-15 rifles in patrol cars. “This is a necessity-driven change.” The IACP is lobbying to renew the 10-year federal ban on assault weapons that expired 6 years ago, but that idea “is not even being entertained” in Washington, Knight said.