Delegate looks to arm police with rubber bullets
By: Kyle Gehman
Dilan Patel from the Robert E Lee High School delegation had his bill, about requiring police officers to carry a gun containing rubber bullets on themselves in addition to the typical lead bullets, put down in the Senate Chamber today.
“If this bill pases it has two objectives, to protect and to serve,” Patel said. “It is absolutely vital that you pass this bill in support of our officers. They need tools in their belt so they can effectively accomplish their business. I implore all of you to vote for solving our officers biggest problems and to ensure that the State of Texas supports them.”
This bill was created so to protect citizens from being dispersed or capacitated less lethally than the normal handgun held lead bullets do. According to the Washington Post, in 2016 there were 963 deaths at the hands of police officers. 82 of which were in Texas which is the second highest rate in the entire country. If officers refuse to carry the required two extra cartridges of rubber bullets, they could be temporarily suspended. Patel hoped that these measures would bring the death rate down.
“I think it depends from case to case,” Brianna Branscomb said. “Using rubber bullets would be a great thing as we have seen in this previous year that there are often needless deaths at the hands of officers. If the suspect isn’t an immediate threat to anyone’s life, then use rubber bullets for sure. There is no reason to kill someone for resisting arrest. But if the situation requires the use of actual bullets as the suspect is an immediate threat to someone’s life, then it is appropriate in that case. Yes, I would wholeheartedly support this bill.”
Opponents brought to attention the fact that rubber bullets still have the potential to cause death and serious injuries as well as not always being an effective way in apprehending the subject being pursued. Sharjeel Mohammad also brought up the point that this bill could aid in the targeting of law enforcement officers.”
“The bill has good intentions, however, people have to notice and understand that there’s a large war on cops and if you go to some areas such as south Dallas, if people know the cops are carrying rubber bullets they are more susceptible to violence,” Mohammad said. “This war on cops is something that I don’t think should be tolerable and it makes cops more vulnerable.”
In the end the bill was not passed in the Senate Chamber and will not be adopted.