Question of the Day

Should Cops Have Guns?

By VICE Staff

The theme of the news lately has been “Everyone Keeps Getting Shot.” There have been so many shootings in America that even the “Son of Sam” killer has denounced gun violence, and he shot a bunch of women because a dog told him to. Not surprisingly, the cops have been responsible for more than their share of the bloody action. There was the shooting of unarmed men in Anaheim a few weeks ago, which led to riots, as well as a whole bunch of less-publicized incidents, like the Brooklyn man who was shot by a cop while walking his dog. All of this leads us to think that maybe cops shouldn’t have guns all the time? Just maybe? We decided to ask some New Yorkers what they thought.

Satarra: They should be allowed.

Why?
Because they need to protect and serve. It depends on how they use them though.

What do you think about some of the police shootings that have been in the headlines lately?
Well, I think they should be trained better for their interactions with people. A lot of these people come on the force and they're afraid so they don't know how to interact with people, especially people of color.

How do they fix that?
They should take a course in interacting with people of different races because a lot of these cops target black young men. Just like they feel afraid, some of these young black men feel afraid too.

But overall, you think it's a good thing that they carry guns?
Now that I think about it, no.

You've changed your mind?
Yes.

Why?
Because they're not trained to use them properly so they shouldn't be able to use them. I don't know what they should carry. I don't think it should be guns though. Only if they're gonna use them properly, and they're not using them properly so I don't think they should be carrying them.

Shai: I suppose it's OK, yeah.

Cops in the UK don't carry guns.
No, they don't.

How do you feel about that?
That's a good question. I think they should carry guns. In America, really anyone can carry a gun, so the question should be, “Should normal citizens be allowed to carry a gun?”

OK, so should they?
If guns are going to be outlawed, then police could consider not carrying guns. Because if the policemen are trying to protect the citizens, but citizens can carry guns, that's not really fair is it?

Mitchell: Cops in America have been carrying guns since the turn of the century. It was a right that was given to them by certain authorities through the judicial process. Do they use it properly? No, in some instances they abuse it. But when properly used I think it's necessary.

So right now, the way they're being used, do you think they should still be allowed to carry guns?
They still should be allowed to carry guns but it should be regulated closely in terms of having a judicial review group that's constantly monitoring how many weapons are being fired and if it's justified, on a regular basis.

So what about cops in the UK?
Well, in the UK there's less violence per capita than here in the United States.

Because their gun laws are far more strict than ours are.
Right.

So should our gun laws be altered?
Our gun laws should be, yes, I agree with that. If there were no guns in America then there would be no need for cops to carry guns. People have assault weapons, you've got people who are better armed than cops and it puts them in a situation where they have to protect themselves.

James: They need them, they're the police.

Cops in the UK don't carry guns.
Well as long as people are gonna make guns, then people need to carry guns.

Do you think gun control laws in America should be stricter than they are?
No, I don't think there should be gun control laws at all. Period. If they're making guns then people should carry guns. Back in the day when people were getting hit over the head with rocks and stones, there were still rocks and stones.

So you think anyone on the street should be able to carry a gun?
No, I don't think everybody on the street should be able to carry a gun.

How should they decide who gets to and who doesn't?
Just the way they do it. You got a record, you shouldn't be able to carry a gun. Exactly what they're doing is exactly how it should be. And I just did nine years for attempted murder. And I don't like the cops.

Whoa.
I committed my crime and I did it and I told the judge to go fuck himself and he gave me two more years for that, and that's it. And I still say cops should carry guns because you know why? Because I got a mother, I've got five kids, I've got a wife. And like I said, people could be victimized.

Do you mind if I ask what happened?
Yeah somebody put their hand on my kid, so I chopped them the fuck up.

With what?
With a fucking big-ass knife.

Abby: I'm generally opposed to it. In other countries there are lower crime rates and also cops don't carry guns themselves because there are stricter gun laws and I think that is a good model for the US to follow.

So how do you think that cops in America, now, with current gun control laws, should be armed?
Cops who are just on patrol shouldn't be armed.

What should they carry instead?
Batons, night sticks, whatever those are called.

Lee: They don't need to carry no guns the way they act. Too many senseless incidents have been happening.

Even though citizens are allowed to carry guns?
They're better off with ‘em!

Is that fair?
Yeah that's fair.

How?
In England they do it.

In England, most citizens can't carry guns.
Oh, no? OK, so I guess don't nobody need guns. No more guns. No guns anywhere.

Previously - How Do You Vibe?

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