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Texas Police Say Lack of Assault Weapons Results in Disadvantage

November 08, 2004
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Texas Police Say Lack of Assault Weapons Results in Disadvantage

By Gary Reaves, WFAA-TV News Dallas

The video of a dramatic gun battle last week between Richardson and Plano police and a group dubbed the "Takeover Bandits" points to a long-standing complaint of local police: the bad guys have them outgunned.

The slug shotgun is standard issue for police officers in Dallas. Powerful and intimidating, it is pretty accurate - at least up close.

"The accuracy is harder to maintain at 50 yards, even though I took my time," said Dallas Police Sr. Cpl. Rene Dominguez.

Police shotguns, however, are no match for the assault rifles the Takeover Bandits used last week in Richardson. The rifles fire 223-caliber rounds that can penetrate police body armor.

As police showed us, the AR-15 assault rifle is far more accurate. It is a disadvantage police have been begging to balance.

"With a slug, (at) 50 yards, 100 yards, you may be able to hit him, but if he's got a 223 he can hit you at 200 yards just as accurately as you are doing at 50 yards," Dallas Police Sgt. Paul Stanford said.

Right now, only the tactical squads in Dallas and Fort Worth have assault rifles. On Tuesday, the Fort Worth City Council votes on whether to buy 200 AR-15s. Dallas Police are also pushing a plan to have the City Council approve the purchase of 65 AR-15s by December.

Police said the smaller slug makes the assault rifles safer than the shotgun. The shotgun's thumb-sized slug can pass through two people and a wall behind them. The 223 round, however, disintegrates on impact.

"It's not going to go through a first person into a second person," Stanford said. "If it hits a wall, it will hit that wall and stop."

Many big-city cops already have these weapons. Last week in the suburbs, there was dramatic evidence presented of why other police believe they need them too.

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