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Attacking Police to Steal Duty Weapons: A Gun-Control Conundrum

The Boston terrorists possibly killed officer Sean Collier for his gun, a surprisingly common and troubling tactic.

by
Bob Owens

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April 24, 2013 - 12:02 am
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The Boston Marathon bombings committed by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stunned an America that had largely dodged effective terrorist attacks since 2001. Days after the bombing, photos of the suspects were released to the public by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and their release kicked off an unsettling and dangerous secondary chain of events as the suspects attempted to escape the city.

These events started with the ambush murder of MIT campus police officer Sean Collier. CBS News speculates that the Tsarnaev brothers targeted Collier because they intended to murder him for his weapons:

The original question is they walked up to that car and appeared they shot the officer in the head unprovoked, that it was an assassination. But why? How did that fit into their plan? The operating theory now in the investigation is they were short one gun. The older brother had a gun. They wanted to get a gun for the younger brother and the fastest and most efficient way they could think of doing it was a surprise attack on a cop, to take his weapon and go. Officer Collier had a locking holster, it’s like a three-way lock. If you don’t know how to remove the gun, you’re not going to get it out. There was apparently an attempt to yank it and they couldn’t get it and left.

Retention holsters came about because of the significant number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty every year with their own firearms by suspects. The most recent such incident occurred on April 5 in Jackson, Mississippi.

Retention holsters are designed in such a way as to prevent a straight draw of a pistol. A locking mechanism (or mechanisms) in the holster grips the trigger guard and secures the weapon until the officer manipulates a device within the holster itself to release the pistol. In theory, the extra manipulation still enables a relatively quick draw for a trained officer, while greatly reducing the chance of a suspect pulling the gun if he does not understand how to release the locking mechanism.

In this instance, it appears Collier may have lacked situational awareness and never made any attempt to draw his pistol before he was assassinated. He lost his own life, but since the Tsarnaev brothers did not know how to disengage the holster’s locking mechanism, the retention holster apparently denied the terrorists their prize even after Collier was killed.

Collier’s killing serves to point out the the absurdity of restrictive gun laws. Massachusetts gun laws were already among the strictest in the nation, and yet they did nothing to prevent the brothers from obtaining the arms they were found with — according to the New York Times, they had two pistols and an (almost certainly misidentified) M4 select-fire assault rifle.

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All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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I know it's a minor point, and irrelevant at this point, but Mitt Romney didn't sign Massachusetts' ban on "assault weapons". The Massachusetts "assault weapon" ban was passed several years before he took office, and it was permanent.

During Romney's term as governor, the sunset of the Federal AWB created some ambiguities in the Massachusetts law. The bill that Romney signed, commonly believed to be an extension of the AWB, actually preserved exemptions to the ban which benefited gun owners.

http://www.goal.org/newspages/romney.html
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Indeed, if the rifle is indeed correctly identified as an M4, it was almost certainly stolen from the military or police, as none have been manufactured for the civilian market since the Hughes Amendment became law in 1986."

This is semantic, but that is not true. M-4's are being made for the civilian markets, though obviously not the same M-4's the military uses (ie. no happy switch). Here's why. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_carbine#Trademark_issues] I've got a Windham that fits the bill.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a bit confused. First we're told that the brothers had only one handgun between them, and so they killed the cop to get a gun for the other brother. Then we're told that they had two handguns and a rifle when they were found. Which is it?
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the larger cities, odds are pretty good that cops may be trading their guns for drugs.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
wow another criminal not obeying the law about firearms.

But thankfully those with guns did manage to make one less criminal on the streets.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
an (almost certainly misidentified) M4 select-fire assault rifle. STOP using their terms ... INANIMATE OBJECTS CAN NOT ASSAULT!!!!!

Old west -- Sheriff: Tell me AGAIN what happened in this bar fight? --Participant: Well, ya see sheriff, he picked up that "assault chair" over there and hit me with it and then he pulled out his "assault colt .45 peace maker and ..."

STOP USING THEIR IDIOTIC MEME!!!!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Assault rifle is a proper term for a select fire rifle that uses a round smaller than 7.62mm and is capable of automatic fire. Assault Weapon is the fabricated term.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is not that we would have to disarm police. The problem is that police would be in far greater danger than if criminals could get guns some other way. (So much for the idea that the NRA endangers cops.)

If necessary, cops will make sure criminals can get guns some other way. After all, _most_ guns possessed by criminals are _not_ for the purpose of killing cops.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Also, to use the Progressives' own logic: further restricting guns will only result in more gun runners. Just like the war on drugs hasn't stopped drug dealers, banning gun sales will only make (current) law abiding people magically become criminals overnight. People will still want guns (for protection, hunting, whatever), but now they will break the law in getting them. We only increase the number of criminals, not make us safer.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That is why open carry for non-law enforcement citizens is not a good idea. Concealed carry is much better.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Especially since virtually all of the civilians I have seen practicing open carry have little to no situational awareness. It's a wonder they don't get rolled for their guns. Concealed is definitely the way to go.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now we can set up gun free police zones for the ultimate in safety.

This case is living real life proof that gun control laws only prevent law abiding citizens from acquiring guns.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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