New Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is shooting down the plan to arm some Boston patrol officers with military-style rifles, setting up a potential showdown with the department which has backed the controversial measure, citing a need for high-powered weapons in light of school shootings and the marathon bombings, reports the Boston Herald. “Mayor-elect Walsh is opposed to the AR-15 rifles,” spokeswoman Kathryn Norton said. “Unless otherwise convinced by the Boston Police Department, he does not think they are necessary.”
Walsh would have to approve a budget for 33 ?AR-15 rifles at a cost of $2,500 each. Police were in the planning phases of acquiring the rifles to put in the cruisers of two specially trained beat cops in each of the city's 11 districts. Thomas Nolan, a former police lieutenant now a criminal justice professor at the State University of New York, said Walsh is making the right decision because arming beat cops with high-powered rifles is counterproductive to establishing trust with residents. He noted firing a round from an AR-15 can launch a bullet two miles. “If the cops have these machine guns, they're going to use them,” Nolan said. “Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get killed, an innocent bystander is going to get caught in the crossfire and there is going to be a tragic result,” he said. A veteran officer who asked not to be named said he was disappointed Walsh wouldn't back the purchase of the AR-15s, saying the weapons are needed to make sure cops aren't outgunned.