The purpose of the RCMP officer’s weapon is protection of the officer and the public

While I am not in the habit of sending letters to the editor, I could not in good conscience let Howard Burns letter which was published in the Mirror on Nov. 16 go unchecked.

Mr. Burns states that a member of the RCMP in “attack gear” was cradling an AK47 and this was the most disgusting sight he has ever witnessed in Campbell River. He further claims that children at the service were subjected to a scene from Rambo.

Well, first of all Mr. Burns, I can assure you that no member of the RCMP had cradled an AK47 at the Remembrance Day ceremony or anywhere else for that matter. An AK47 is a Soviet bloc assault rifle that was replaced in 1974. AK47s are not issued to the RCMP, now or ever before. No Mr. Burns, what you saw was a patrol carbine. It is not an Ak47 nor is it an “assault rifle.”

An assault rifle by definition is one that is capable of firing a medium powered cartridge in both semi-automatic mode and full automatic mode (semi-automatic requires a pull of the trigger for each shot, full automatic requires one pull of the trigger for many shots). The RCMP patrol carbine does not fire in full automatic mode.

The purpose of the patrol carbine is protection of the officer and the public. Unfortunate recent events have proven their worth. Think Mayerthorpe, Alberta or Moncton New Brunswick where several members of the RCMP gave up their lives because they didn’t have patrol carbines. The gear the RCMP member was wearing is protective gear, not “attack gear” Mr. Burns.

And while we are on the topic, how does the movie Rambo fit into this? The RCMP member was not waving the rifle around, shooting up the place or doing anything other than carrying it while marching. No, Mr. Burns, it seems to me that you have an agenda for phrasing things the way you have in your letter. If there were indeed children at the ceremony who were troubled by the sight of a police officer with a gun, then I would have thought the responsible thing to do, would be to have a teaching moment with the child, explaining how the police are the public’s representatives, and are there to help and protect them.

Lastly, if you were the person in the crowd yelling about the police having ‘machine guns” during the moment of silence for our veterans I hope you are truly ashamed for your behaviour, but I doubt you will be because that doesn’t fit your agenda either.

D.H. (Dan) Smith

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