Andrea Mitchell Reports, 2/28/13, 7:00 PM ET

Police Chief pleads for reinstatement of assault weapons ban

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn explains his emotional case he made for reinstating the assault weapons ban during a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday...

‘I remember when it was sufficient for a police officer to carry a six-shooter’

Updated

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, a vocal supporter of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban, has been involved in police work for four decades.

“I remember when it was sufficient for a police officer to carry a six-shooter,” he said on Andrea Mitchell Reports Friday.

“What I’ve seen over these decades is an increasing arms race between the police and the criminal community. And that’s been exacerbated by the presence of high-capacity, high-quality firearms and military-grade assault weapons,” Flynn said.

Flynn testified on Capitol Hill this week in support of instating an assault weapons ban similar to the one Feinstein introduced in 1994, which expired a decade later. Flynn called criticism that the assault weapons ban had no effect on the nation’s homicide rate “a grotesque manipulation of the facts.”

“There were studies commissioned by the National Institute of Justice to study this issue and what they found was a correlation. They couldn’t find a causation because nobody’s going to do a controlled experiment with semi-automatic assault weapons. What they found, however, was over the course of the existence of the Brady Bill ban, the use of assault weapons in crimes decreased by two-thirds. Now, they couldn’t prove causation; police implemented and embraced a wide variety of strategies and tactics during those 10 years as well. But it’s foolish not to see that there was a correlation. And to demand, you know, perfect social science causation proof before we can say that something had an impact on a phenomenon is foolish.  It’s rhetorical.  It doesn’t relate to the reality of policing.”


Flynn described his clash with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham over requiring background checks in Wednesday’s hearing  as frustrating.

“I was hearing talking points. I wasn’t in a discussion. I was hearing an NRA talking point coming out of the mouth of a senator…The issue is, background checks work. They prevent the wrong people from buying guns. And this ludicrous notion that we’re going to crowd out robberies and burglaries from our court calendar so we can prosecute people for lying on a piece of paper is sophistry and very frustrating for a practitioner to hear.”

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'I remember when it was sufficient for a police officer to carry a six-shooter'

Updated