Controversy in Victoria with police confirming the possibility of making rifles available to frontline police. The ABC solicits “expert” firearms advice from an academic: UPDATED
Criminologist at Bond University and former senior police officer, Terry Goldsworthy, has called on Victoria Police to “resist the trend” of American policing.
“We need to be very careful, we’ve seen US police move down this path of militarisation. In many respects, militarising the police isn’t a suitable response for conducting policing,” Dr Goldsworthy said.
“We saw that in the Ferguson riots — where we had police sitting on top of armoured police carriers with 50-caliber machine guns facing a crowd protesting.
“It’s just not a suitable tool when you look at that, because there is no way the police could justify opening fire with a machine gun.”
Ferguson police did not deploy 50-calibre machine guns: the .50 calibre BMG (Browning Machine Gun) round is massively destructive – here compared to the typical AR-15 round – primarily used for anti-materiel and extreme range sniping.
Dr Goldsworthy continues to spout nonsense:
“Once you’ve got the rifle out, you’re stuck with it unless you’re going to put it on the ground next to you, which is highly dangerous to do,” he said.
“It’s a far different proposition to a handgun, which you can store on your person and do that very quickly to respond to the changing environment.”
Rather than “put it on the ground” to free up his hands, a police officer might do as military personnel have done for over a hundred years by using the weapon’s built-in sling.
UPDATE: The 5.56 round, for which most AR-15s are chambered, has a muzzle energy of less than 1,900 ft lbs, whereas the .50 BMG round delivers over 13,000 ft lbs. In May 2017 a sniper in Iraq is confirmed to have killed an opponent at 3,540 metres (2.2 miles). U.S. police forces do not deploy .50 calibre machine guns for crowd control, or any other purpose.