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  ‘Texas civilians armed & dangerous’

‘Texas civilians armed & dangerous’

REUTERS
Published : Jul 13, 2016, 7:16 am IST
Updated : Jul 13, 2016, 7:16 am IST

Shooter in Michigan courthouse kills 2 bailiffs and suspect.

Shooter in Michigan courthouse kills 2 bailiffs and suspect.

The Dallas police chief stepped into America’s fierce gun rights debate on Monday when he said that Texas state laws are allowing civilians to carry firearms openly, as some did during a protest where five officers were killed, presented a growing law enforcement challenge.

David Brown also gave new details about his department’s use of a bomb-carrying robot to kill Micah Johnson, the 25-year-old former US Army reservist who carried out last Thursday’s sniper attack that also wounded nine officers.

A shooting in Michigan on Monday underscored the prevalence of gun violence in America and the danger faced by law enforcement, even as activists protest against the fatal police shootings of two black men last week in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Two sheriff’s bailiffs were shot to death at a courthouse in St. Joseph in southwestern Michigan, and the shooter was also killed, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey told reporters.

By Monday evening, protesters were marching again in several large American cities, including Chicago, Sacramento, and Atlanta, where news footage showed a number of protesters being arrested after street demonstrations north of downtown.

President Barack Obama and others reiterated their calls for stricter guns laws after last month’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, but many conservatives responded that such measures could infringe on the US Constitution’s protection of the right to bear arms.

Texas is known for its gun culture and state laws allow gun owners to carry their weapons in public. Some gun rights activists bring firearms to rallies as a political statement, as some did at Thursday’s march in Dallas.

“It is increasingly challenging when people have AR-15s (a type of rifle) slung over, and shootings occur in a crowd. And they begin running, and we don’t know if they are a shooter or not,” Mr Brown said. “We don’t know who the ‘good guy’ versus who the ‘bad guy’ is, if everybody starts shooting.”

Seeing multiple people carrying rifles led police initially to believe they were under attack by multiple shooters.

Mr Brown did not explicitly call for gun control laws, but said: “I was asked, well, what’s your opinion about guns Well, ask the policymakers to do something and I’ll give you an opinion.”

“Do your job. We’re doing ours. We’re putting our lives on the line. Other aspects of government need to step up and help us,” he said.

Location: United States, Texas, Dallas