Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Illinois idiocy: "Retired Chicago Police officers will be getting letters in the mail soon saying the city won't certify them to carry guns -- a move that angers the head of the local Fraternal Order of Police. Congress passed the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 to allow retired and off-duty officers across the country to carry concealed weapons. But the city is worried about the liability of allowing retired cops to carry guns when they haven't gone through refresher training or undergone mental and physical fitness evaluations. The city also is concerned about the lack of a national database of retired officers authorized to carry guns. Sheri Mecklenburg, general counsel to police Supt. Phil Cline, said the federal law does not define how a department should determine an officer had retired "in good standing. We would want some federal legislation to protect us from liability and some national database of people authorized to carry a gun," she said. Mecklenburg said she did not know how many of the city's 9,000 retired cops have asked to be certified to carry a gun. The letter to retired Chicago cops says "until these areas of concern are addressed by federal legislation, the Department has declined to adopt new procedures for qualifying retired officers to carry a firearm." "They have no right to do this," responded Mark Donahue, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

Battleships to go? "Capitol Hill lawmakers are considering whether to retire the Navy's last two battleships, the Iowa and the Wisconsin, and turn them into museums. Critics warn that the move could leave Marines vulnerable in future battles. The Navy expects that most such battles will be in or near coastal waters, and that it will need ships that can deliver huge amounts of gunfire to support land operations. Cruisers and destroyers serve that purpose now, and the Navy expects the new DD(X) destroyer to take over the job when it goes into service in 2014. A small group of critics doubts the capabilities of the DD(X) and says the Navy can't afford to wait until the next decade. "At present the Navy's active fleet has no effective (naval fire support) capability," says a statement by the U.S. Naval Fire Support Association, a group that supports reactivating the two battleships. "The Navy's attempt to rectify this serious deficiency by developing long-range 5-inch and 6.1-inch 155-mm gun systems and medium-range missiles is not adequate." The Navy currently uses 5-inch guns on its destroyers and cruisers to support land operations. The battleship supporters say only battleships can provide accurate and high-volume fire in all weather and conditions."

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