Rumors about AR-15 rifles put to rest…

By Vice President, Nate Gafvert

In reference to the rumors about the AR-15 rifles and lethal shotguns, I know there is much confusion over what really happened. Close to two years ago, Chief Gascon had a contact that would ultimately be able to outfit every patrol car with a pump action 12 gauge shotgun. This was a huge step forward for us since lethal shotguns had been taken away from us years ago. The shotgun in itself is an equalizer and many “lone wolf” departments rely on them when backup is 30 plus minutes away. The MPA had expressed its members’ desires to have these great tools at our disposal in every vehicle.


Just as this was coming to fruition, a spokesman from the other labor organization informed the chief that all the patrol officers had decided they wanted AR-15 rifles over 12 gauge shotguns. The spokesman expressed this desire without a poll of the officers let alone contacting the MPA, even though this would have added extra tools to our utility belt. The MPA did conduct a poll that showed what Officers preferred was having both shotguns and AR-15’s depending on what the situation called for. The MPA asked for both to be made available for patrol because we wanted to be prepared with the best tool for the job. The Chief agreed with this view, but said the budget limited us to only being able to adaquately train for 1 weapon system at that time. Ultimately, the shotgun idea was scrapped, and we were left out-gunned yet again with nowhere near enough rifles on the street.


A little over a year later, the shotgun issue was brought up again and fortunately we were given the option of purchasing our own. The approved shotgun was not the 870 pump action we had originally requested but an expensive semi-automatic version. The MPA brought this issue up to Chief Gascon, and requested more research be done for a less expensive shotgun to hopefully encourage officers to buy them. A decision was made on a much less expensive shotgun. Chief Gascon requested that I, personally, contact dealers and research the lowest price for this weapon. When I contacted range staff, I learned they had located vendors for the newly approved shotgun, and officers were able to purchase the shotguns at a discounted price. Somehow, the other labor organization took credit for this decision when it was they who had backhandedly stopped the purchase.


During my research of the shotguns, I learned that the current rifle mounts in the newer patrol vehicles would not fit rifles with certain weapon mounted lights or shotguns. I again contacted range officers and discussed the reasoning behind this mount. I was advised that the range was not included in the research and purchase of the current mounts. This issue was brought to the attention of the purchasing liaison by MPA and a new, universal mount was decided upon.


The MPA was also instrumental in the approval of personally owned AR-15 rifles. Were we the sole reason staff approved them, absolutely not. This was a big issue that not one organization can take credit for. There are many issues that are backed by both organizations, yet the MPA doesn’t pretend we are the ones responsible for making sure the sun comes up every morning. What can be said is that when the MPA takes a stand on an issue, we back it 100%. Rest assured that you have the most dedicated representatives speaking on members behalf, regardless which way the wind blows.