Should police officers pay for their own GUNS?

Isn’t police weaponry usually publicly-funded? Very interesting debate in Wisconsin:

My old college buddy is in the Honolulu Police Department, he was required to purchase his own gun (with an officer discount). The department has a list of approved models.

I believe other jurisdictions require their officers to purchase their own guns also, probably discounted or partially reimbursed. The officer could probably write it off on their taxes as well:

old cite:

and vests:

Based on your link, it seems as though the cops in question are already issued guns (probably pistols and shotguns) - the question is whether they should be allowed to *supplement *these weapons with others they buy themselves.

Sort of a weird story. Madison’s annual murder rate is apparently…4. It’s a little hard to believe they need to arm 300 cops with assault rifles.

I suspect there’s more to the story and some sort spat between local politicians and officials or something that explains this, and the proposal is just someones way of making waves to try and get the upper hand in public opinion.

But in answer to the OP, no. If the PD needs more firepower, they should make their case to the city to get funding. Asking cops to pay for their own armaments isn’t really fair to them, and also complicates the Departments ability to control the firearms used by its officers.

Anyone is allowed to own a firearm in the United States as long as they aren’t a convicted felon, essentially. There is no law in the United States that would prohibit a police officer from owning a private firearm. In fact the trend in much of the country is that LEOs have more purchase/carry rights/ability than average citizens even in a private capacity. For example in some places an off-duty LEO can engage in concealed carry where no other class of civilian could.

The term “AR-15” is where things get gray. AR-15 technically is the manufacturer’s model name for the M16 assault rifles used by the United States military. In current usage however AR-15 usually refers to the “civilian model” of the M16, “civilian model” meaning it is not selective-fire. When I say “not selective fire” that means on civilian versions of the weapon you cannot select automatic or burst fire (early versions of the weapon had full auto while current versions of the weapon have 3-round burst, both of these modes are not found on the civilian models.)

If the LEOs in Wisconsin are buying the civilian model AR-15 (and I would guess they are, in common usage people say M16 if they’re talking about the military version of the weapon) then again, it is a weapon legal for purchase in every state in the Union (with a California version existing to comply with legal quirks in California.) If it is indeed the military version then it would not be easily purchasable by any ordinary citizen, however ordinary citizens are legally able to get a license to own such a weapon (with ability determined by local law enforcement and state political climate, as getting approval for the license requires a local county sheriff or chief of police to sign off on it, and it is fully at their discretion.)

I suppose we can agree they need one to do their job. The first one should be given to them. Any thing else is a personal choice . They are free to buy an arsenal if they want, with their own money.

Will individual officers be allowed to *not *buy the rifles?

Well, obviously a police officer should be allowed to purchase whatever they want privately. But the article appears to say that the PD is purchasing the weapons, giving them to the officers to own personally but presumably use on the job, and then deducting the price of the weapon from the officers pay-check. This hardly seems fair to the police officers, and from a laymans point of view, doesn’t make sense from a law-enforcement point of view, since while I can see a situation where a few officers might need to be specially armed with larger weapons, its pretty difficult to come up with a likely scenario where all 300 officers need rifles at the same time.

Again, I suspect someones releasing this story as part of some local political spat, it doesn’t make sense as a serious proposal.

It’s the need for the responding officer to have the rifle available right now if needed rather than waiting for the rifle team to arrive.

I understood that sidearms are either issued or a limited list is authorized for purchase but long arms were always department issue.

Then you might consider moving to Wisconsin and actually joining that debate.

Posting tag lines from outside deabtes with a single link to a news story and then failing to actually enagage in that debate, yourself, is considered quite rude on the SDMB.

If you continue this practice, I will begin closing your threads as soon as I see them and if you persist, we will probably remove your posting privileges.

[ /Moderating ]

As has already been said, 300 rifles will never be needed at the same time, but if every officer is equipped with one they do not have to wait to respond to a situation where one might be necessary immediately.

As for whether or not the public should fund the purchase, that depends upon whether they think the public should have ultimate control of the weapon. If the officer has to buy it the public has no right to demand it back when the officer leaves or retires. It will be his/her weapon. If the public buys them, they have to be issued, thus ensuring accountability.

Were it where I live, I’d be for funding the purchase.

It seems to me as an easy way for the individual officers to pick up a rifle for $23 per week. The article specifically calls the weapons assault rifles which typically mean a select fire weapon. I’m sure that it is just poor journalism and the rifles are not truly “assault rifles” but just plain jane semi autos. The issue being that the Officers could not legally own those rifles personally due to legislation passed in 1986. The departments could but not the officers.

Comments like this from the Public Safety Review Committee are a bit ridiculous however:
“If you take it home at night, do you throw it in the back of the car? You throw it in the trunk? What if it gets stolen and somebody uses it? There are a whole number of problems that could happen,” said Paul Skidmore, a member of the Public Safety Review Committee. *

I assume that there are protocols in place for the officers to secure their current duty weapons off shift. Why would the addition of another firearm be any different?

Issues also arise regarding choice of magazines, ammo, optics, and other standards that are much easier maintained by department armorers in charge of department assets.

I once worked as a deputy sheriff. Everybody on that force, including the sheriff himself, carried privately purchased weapons. When I left, I took my .45 with me, as it was my personal property.
If the officers in question are okay with this, I don’t see why it should be a problem.

Are you sure about that? My department has been using AR-15’s for the last thirty years and they’ve never had the capacity to fire a three round burst. But I suppose it’s possible we’ve been buying a civilian model even though we’re a law enforcement agency.