Teens Protest New Rifles for Police

Communities are troubled by new high-power weapons on city streets

Over 100 community activists and teenagers opposed to the Chicago Police Department's plan to equip officers with M4 carbine assault rifles protested outside police headquarters Thursday night.

A similar protest was held last month, where picketers demanded that the police department hold a formal hearing before purchasing the semi-automatic rifles. Police stated they were willing to reach out to community organizations but would not hold any public hearings.

Superintendent Jody Weis has already begun purchasing the weapons for S.W.A.T. officers and tactical units. According to Chi-Town Daily News, beat officers are also allowed to buy the guns but must do so with their own money.

Police explain that they need the weapons in order to gain equal footing with armed gangs and criminals. But many worry that police may accidentally hit innocent bystanders during altercations.

"The only people who need these guns are in Iraq," Arthur McGraw, 19, of Southwest Youth Collaborative told the Chicago Tribune. "It'll shoot through brick, car doors. Say your family is in the house eating and there's some gang violence. When they shoot these, [the bullets] can come into your house and shoot your kids."

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond stated that while some police have ordered and received the weapons, they are not yet using them.

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