09 December 2015

Selected Observations Relevant To Gun Control

* Enlisted active duty sailors on U.S. naval ships are generally prohibited from possessing weapons of any kind (even swords) except when expressly granted permission to do so by a commanding officer in the event of an incident requiring the use of a weapon.  Even the weapons of naval officers are generally tightly accounted for, often in an armory under third party control, most of the time. Similar policies may be in effect in the Air Force on some planes or bases.

* Active duty members of the military must account to the appropriate person in the organization for all weapons and ammunition in their possession.

* Active duty members of the military are subject to the expedited and less defendant-friendly provisions of military justice that do not apply to civilians.

* The superiors of active duty members of the military have wide discretion to adjust the responsibilities of active duty members of the military in ways that can deny them the ability to bear arms with essentially no due process rights for the soldier or sailor in question.

* Law enforcement officers have an almost universal affirmative duty to report any incident requiring the use of the firearm, whether or not fired, to their superiors.  If the weapons is actually fired, a law enforcement officer is generally suspended from office with pay, required to file a report, and often referred to psychological treatment as well.

* Both law enforcement officers and active duty military members whose firearms are lost or stolen have an affirmative duty to promptly report this fact to their superiors.

* Law enforcement officers generally have a duty to respond immediately and truthfully to inquiries from their superiors about their conduct without requesting the presence of an attorney or claiming the protection of the Fifth Amendment.  While a law enforcement officer is not without a right to counsel or the protection of the Fifth Amendment, invoking these rights may result in job related sanctions (e.g. suspension from the job).

* Law enforcement officers who are determined to have lied in court or in reports are often no longer able to continue participation in the criminal justice system because Brady requires disclosure of this fact to defense counsel in any court proceeding in which that law enforcement officer is called upon to testify, since the evidence can be used to impeach the credibility of testimony against the accused and exonerate him (or her).

* Law enforcement officers generally must pass an extensive background check before being hired.

* Law enforcement officers frequently have to do multiple things in order to remain in good standing as a law enforcement officer including meeting periodic marksmanship tests, attending regular continuing education training, passing periodic psychological evaluations, and avoiding serious disciplinary action from their superiors.

* Both active duty military members and law enforcement officers overwhelmingly have some superior officer to whom they report on a daily basis whose responsibilities include monitoring the fitness of their subordinates to continue to serve.

* While there is generally no civil liability for inaction by law enforcement (with only narrow exceptions), a law enforcement officer who fails to respond to a situation within his or her jurisdiction will routinely suffer professional discipline of some kind for failing to do so.  Soldiers and law enforcement officers generally have an affirmative duty to requests from the appropriate superior officers or officials to provide assistance.

* Almost everyone who openly carries firearms in an urban environment who is not a law enforcement officer is a uniformed private security employee.

* Neither active duty military members nor law enforcement officers generally have the right to transfer the weapons they are issued in connection with their employment related duties to third-parties.

* The weapons that are appropriate for hunting and defense against animals (generally rifles and shotguns) are almost completely distinct from the weapons customarily used for self-defense in urban areas (generally handguns that are either kept in a home or office, or are carried in a concealed manner).

* Many kinds of firearms are restricted to only certain members of the military (e.g. sniper rifles or crew served machine guns), or only to certain members of law enforcement (e.g. SWAT teams).

* Many kinds of arms are almost never issued to members of law enforcement (e.g. artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, high explosive grenades, bombs, land mines, sea mines, armed helicopters, anti-tank weapons, heavy machine guns, tanks armed with lethal weapons, and missiles).  These kinds of arms are restricted almost exclusively to military units.

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