met before, and I've known like Don Cahill whom I've known for
a long time, but others I haven't. So we really look forward to your
testimonies and thank vou for coming.
Sergeant Staples, we re going to start with the people the way we
introduced them. So you'd be the first to testify. The microphone
is open there, but you need to pull it over to you. And you may pro-
ceed to make your statement to whatever degree you feel com-
fortable. Summarizing it, that would be fine; your whole statement
will be submitted for the record, or if you wish to excerpt parts of
it, that's your choice. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF SGT. WALTER STAPLES, METROPOLITAN
WASHEVGTON, DC, POLICE DEPARTMENT
Sergeant Staples. OK, sir. Good afternoon.
My name is Walter Staples, and I'm a sergeant in the homicide
branch of the Metropolitan Police Department. I've been a police of-
ficer in Washington, DC, for more than 21 years, including the last
5 years spent in the homicide branch. During my years in the
homicide branch, I have supervised the investigations of more than
420 murders, more than 90 percent of which were committed with
handguns. Believe me, I have seen firsthand what easy access to
guns, particularly among young people, has meant to the people of
the District of Columbia.
But I would like to talk to you today about one particular inves-
tigation I supervised which most of you are probably familiar with,
I'm talking about the incident which occurred on November 22,
1994, at police headquarters, not far from where we sit today.
At roughly 3:30 in the afternoon an angry young man who had
been questioned in an ongoing homicide investigation walked into
police headquarters, rode the elevator to the third floor, and opened
fire with a semiautomatic assault pistol on a group of police offi-
cers. Moments later one D.C. police officer, Sgt. Hank Daly, and
two FBI agents. Special Agent Martha Martinez and Special Agent
Michael Miller, were dead. Another officer, Special Agent John
Kufta, was seriously injured.
At the time of the shooting I was across the street at the U.S.
attorney's office. After the call came in and I was — I was one of the
first officers to arrive on the scene. It's difficult to find the right
words to describe my feelings when I entered the room. You can't
imagine what it was like to come in and face the sight of your fel-
low officers, your friends, lying dead in their place of work.
Sgt. Hank Daly had been on the force for 28 years, and I consid-
ered him not only a valued colleague, but a close friend. I had
worked closely for many months on cases with Martha Martinez
and Michael Miller. These men and women were all dedicated law
enforcement professionals who were well respected and well liked.
It still seems hard to believe that they're gone.
Looking back on the incident, I can't help asking myself if maybe
one or all of these friends might be alive today if their assailant
had been armed with a traditional revolver instead of a semiauto-
matic assault pistol. When four highly-trained professionals in po-
lice headquarters are vulnerable to this kind of attack, it is a pret-
ty good indication of the destructive power of these weapons.
I ve seen the harm that the Tech-9's and the Uzis can cause to
law enforcement and to citizens alike, but I haven't seen much evi-
dence that they serve any useful purpose. Outside of the military
or law enforcement, I just don't understand why these weapons
should be available or why anyone would want one. You don't need
an Uzi or a Tech-9 to hunt.
As I'm sure you know, all law enforcement officers live with the
knowledge that they are putting their lives on the line every day.
It is part of our job and we deal with it, but that does not mean
that police officers shouldn't be able to expect society to take some
reasonable steps to protect them. In Washington, DC, we have
tried to take some of these steps by instituting some of the Nation's
strictest gun laws. Of course, it has been said maybe here today
that our violent crime is proof that these laws don t work. If any-
thing, it may prove that we need more sensible national laws, so
that our city is not victimized by the flow of illegal guns from out-
side the District.
I understand you are in the process, through these hearings, of
examining current gun control laws and the second amendment. I
hope that in your deliberations you come to the conclusion that
there is a point where reasonable men and women can agree on the
need for some limits.
As a police officer, it seems reasonable to have laws designed to
keep assault weapons off the streets. It seems reasonable to require
background checks and a waiting period, so that guns don't end up
in the wrong hands or to require that people demonstrate need be-
fore they are allowed to carry concealed weapons. I believe that
these are important steps in our fight to reduce gun violence and
ultimately save lives.
As this committee knows, there are many things this country can
do to fight crime, but I don't believe that either the law enforce-
ment community or the citizens would be served by the repeal of
a sensitive and reasonable gun law.
[The prepared statement of Sergeant Staples follows:]
Prepared Statement of Sctt. Walter Staples, WAsraNGTON, DC, Pouce
Good morning. My name is Waller Staples and I am a Sergeant in the Homicide
Branch of the Metropolitan D.C. Police Department. I have been a police officer in
Washingtorv D.C. for more than 21 years, including the last five years spent in homicide.
During my years in the homicide division, I have supervised the investigations of
more than 420 murders, more than 90 percent of which were committed with handguns.
Believe me, I have seen first hand what easy access to guns, panicularly among young
people, has meant to the people of the District.
But I would like to talk to you today about one particular investigation I
supervised which most of you are probably familiar with. I am talking about the incident
which occurred on November 22, 1994, at Police Headquarters not far from where we sit
today. At roughly 3:30 thai afternoon an angry young man who had been questioned in
an ongoing homicide investigation walked into Police Headquarters, rode the elevator to
the third floor, and opened fire with a semi-automatic assault pistol on a group of police
Moments later, one D.C. police officer. Sergeant Hank Daly, and two FBI agents.
Special Agent Martha Martinez and Special Agent Michael Miller, were dead. Another
officer. Special Agent John Kuchta, was seriously wounded.
At the lime of the shooting, I was across the street at the U.S. Attorney's office.
After the call came in 1 was one of the first officers on the scene. It is difficult to find
the right words to describe my feelings when 1 entered the room. You can't imagine
what it was like to come in and face the sight of your fellow officers, your friends, lying
dead at their place of work.
Sergeant Hank Daly had been on the force for 28 years and I considered him not
only a valued colleague but a close friend. I had worked closely for many months on
cases with Martha Martinez and Michael Miller. These men and women were all
dedicated law enforcement professionals who were well respected and well liked. It still
seems hard to believe ihey are gone.
Lx)oking back on the incident, I can't help asking myself if maybe one or all of
these friends might be alive today if their assailant had been armed with a traditional
revolver, instead of a semi-automatic assault pistol.
When four highly-trained professionals, in police headquaners, are ^AJlnerabIe to
this kind of attack, it is a pretty good indication of the destructive power of these
I have seen the harm thai TEC-9s and UZIs can do. to law enforcement and
citizens alike. But I haven't seen much evidence jhat they serve any useful purpose.
Ouisidc of the military or law enforcement, I just don't understand why these weapons
should be available, or why anyone would want one. You don't need an UZI or a TEC
9 to hunt
As I am sure you know, all law enforcement officers live with the knowledge tha;
they are putting their life on the line every day. It is part of our job and we deal v.iih r
But that does not mean that police officers shouldn't be able to expect society to lake
some reasonable steps to protect them.
In Washington, D.C., we have tried to take some of these steps by instituting
some of the nation's strictest gun laws. Of course, it has been said, maybe here today,
that our violent crime is proof that these laws don't work. If anything, it may prove tha
we need more sensible, national laws so our city is not victimized by the flow of illegal
guns from outside the District.
I understand you are in the process, through these hearings, of examining curren
gun control laws and the Second Amendment. I hope that in your deliberations you
come to the conclusion that there is a point where reasonable men and women can agn
on the need for some limits.
As a police officer it seems reasonable to have laws designed to keep assault
weapons off our streets. It seems reasonable to require background checks and a waiti:
period so that guns don't end up in the wrong hands, or to require that people
demonstrate need before they are allowed to carry concealed weapons. I believe these
are important steps in the fight to reduce gun violence and will ultimately save lives.
As this committee knows, there are many things this country can do to fight crirr
but I don't believe that either the law enforcement community or the citizens will be
served by the repeal of any sensible and reasonable gun laws.
Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you very much, Sergeant.
Our next witness is Gerald Hensley. Officer Hensley,
STATEMENT OF GERALD HENSLEY, OFFICER, BALTIMORE
CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT
Officer Hensley. Good afternoon, sir.
I'm Officer Gerald Hensley. As you heard, I've been a member of
the Baltimore City Police Department for 13 years, 8 years of my
career as a uniformed officer and 5 years as a member of drug en-
During the course of my career, I've seen drug dealers whom —
I work in the confines of the eastern district, which is riddled with
gunfire, gunshot victims, and drug dealers. In the course of my ca-
reer, I've seen drug dealers whom I've worked very hard at appre-
hending take guns from — or the use of guns from a low caliber situ-
ation of handguns to weapons of Uzis and Tech-9's and assault
weapon type of guns. I personally have faced in uniform and being
in plain clothes drug enforcement officer situations involving Tech-
9's and Uzis. Twice while in uniform, I assisted an officer in arrest-
ing a subject with an Uzi, which was concealed under his jacket,
at a very highly infested drug comer.
On another case when I worked in uniform I was involved in a
foot chase of a person who was armed with a Tech-9 who shot sev-
eral rounds at police officers during the course of the foot chase.
During the course of that foot chase this person concealed himself
in a highly brushed area. Luckily, he was arrested and, luckily, the
Tech-9 he was using, it jammed, which was found several feet from
his person. I feel as though if that gun hadn't been iammed, he
would have used that gun in an ambush to take officers lives.
On another occasion, being a member of the eastern district drug
enforcement unit, I had the unfortunate mishap of having to use
my firearm in deadly force when I was confronted, as well as the
other members of my eastern district drug enforcement imit, by a
person armed with a Tech-9 which was fully loaded. That person
was waiting in ambush for two of my coworkers to enter the living
room area of a dwelling that we had ran through for CVS viola-
tions. As I reached the front of the house, I was fired upon by a
person inside the front window with a .38 caliber which misfired.
As that person was standing in the doorway with a gun pointing
inside the doorway, I yelled at him. This person turned to me and
pointed a fully loaded Tech-9. Unfortunately, I had to use deadly
force and take his life.
On another occasion, I raided a house in the 1300 block of North
Milton Avenue. At that house located on the bottom shelf of an
open closet, where children between the ages of 2 and 6 were lo-
cated, was a fully loaded Tech-9 on the bottom shelf, which is ac-
cessible to the kids.
Admittedly, I'm not an expert on the second amendment, and I
understand people's interest in having guns to protect their fami-
lies, for hunting and for sports shooting, but it seems to me that
at some point common sense tells us that certain weapons are in-
tolerable. I can't imagine why any law-abiding citizen would ever
need to fire 30, 50, or 100 rounds without reloading.
As a cop who walks the streets and faces drug dealers, as a cop
who's been shot in the line of duty, I face drug dealers on a regular
basis, and it seems — and it made sense to me last year when Con-
gress voted to ban assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
It made sense to me when we outlawed assault weapons or pistols
in Maryland. As a cop, it makes sense to me that the fewer of these
guns we have on the street, the better my chances of survival are,
as well as innocent bystanders and citizens located within the con-
fines of Baltimore City and across this country. I think we can keep
all of America's police officers in mind and resist any temptation
to appeal the assault weapon law.
[The prepared statement of Officer Hensley follows:]
Prepared Statement of Gerald Hensley, Officer, Baltimore City Police
My name is Gerald Hensley. I am a drug enforcement officer with the Baltimore
City Police Department. I have been with the Department for nearly thirteen years;
eight years as a uniformed officer on patrol and for the last five years on drug
I am here today to share with this committee some of my experiences on the
streets of Baltimore, which should help illustrate the threat that law enforcement officers
are forced to operate under due to a proliferation of guns, and in panicular semi-
automatic assault weapons and large capacity gun magazines.
Since I joined the Police Department, I have seen the firepower of criminals,
particularly drug dealers, grow from small caliber revolvers to military-style weapons
which can shoot 30 bullets in less than ten seconds.
In my years of service I have personally encountered assault weapons on several
occasions. In two of these encounters, we got lucky and confiscated the weapons before
they could be used. Once, I was with another uniformed officer who found a
semiautomatic Uzi in the jacket of a suspected drug dealer.
On another occasion, I participated in the service of a search and seizure warrant
at a drug house where we found and confiscated a semiautomatic TEC-9. The weapon,
which was fully loaded with 30 rounds, was on a bottom shelf of a closet in a bedroom
occupied by children. Three children between the ages of four and six were actually
present when we confiscated the gun.
I have also witnessed drug dealers using assault weapons. While I was still a
uniformed officer, I saw a suspected drug dealer fire a semi-automatic TEC-9 at a group
of officers; luckily the gun jammed before he hit them.
In May of 1991, I myself was threatened by a semi-automatic TEC-9. While on a
routine patrol of a suspected drug area, my two partners and I noticed suspicious activity.
While my two partners went in the back way, I went in the front. As I entered the house
I noticed a gunman lying in wait for my partners with the TEC-9. I shouted to him and
he turned and prepared to shoot me. Before he could, I shot and killed him.
Plainly, drug dealers are choosing to use assault weapons. This is a serious threat
to the public and to law enforcement officers like myself.
When drug dealers shoot, they do not think about where their bullets go. And
whether they are shooting at cops or at rival gangs, when they have guns which can shoot
30 or 100 bullets without reloading, there is a strong chance that innocent bystanders will
be gunned down.
And, across the country we have already seen too many situations where
outgurmed police officers have been killed or wounded. While we are reloading, we
could be at the mercy of desperate criminals who could shoot 30 to 100 rounds without
Admittedly, I am not an expert on the Second Amendment. And I understand
people's interest in having guns to protect their families, for hunting or for sport
shooting. But it seems that at some point common sense tells us that cenain weapons
are intolerable. I can't imagine why any law abiding citizen would ever need to fire
thirty, fifty or one hundred rounds without reloading.
As a cop who works on the streets and faces drug dealers on a regular basis, it
made sense to me last year when Congress voted to ban assault weapons and large
capacity magazines. It made sense to me when we outlawed assault pistols in Maryland.
As a cop it makes sense to me that the fewer of these guns we have on me street, the
better my chances of survival.
I hope you will keep all of America's police officers in mind and resist any
temptations to repeal the assault weapon law.
Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Hensley.
Sergeant Cahill, welcome.
STATEMENT OF SGT. DONALD CAHILL, CHAIRMAN,
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE
Sergeant Cahill. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, my name is Donald Cahill. I'm a police office of 23V'2
years. I've spent the last 4 years, and still am, currently assigned
to the Federal Drug Task Force here in Washington, DC. I see
crime and drugs every single day.
I'm pleased to appear before this Crime Subcommittee for the
first time since convening of the 104th Congress, and I'm particu-
larly gratified to speak to an issue which I believe we can all agree,
and that, of course, is the right of the law-abiding citizen to keep
and bear arms.
The Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, which rep-
resents over 270,000 law enforcement officers nationwide, exists
only to address the interests and concerns of its membership. That
membership includes men and women who risk their lives every
day to protect the rights of our citizenry, and that's all of those
rights, not just the popular ones or the politically correct ones.
Neither do those who have accepted that responsibility of rep-
resenting this organization have the luxury of taking a walk on a
controversial issue. We're accountable to all of our membership for
our actions, every bit as accountable as you are to your constitu-
encies. Our national president runs for office every 2 years, and,
believe me, running for office in the FOP is not a game for the
faint-hearted. Our current president, Dewey R. Stokes, is nearing
the end of his fourth term, and I can assure you he wouldn't have
lasted this long if he didn't pay careful attention to the member-
ship and their vision of what the FOP should stand for. That's why
I'm somewhat bemused when I hear a cop say Dewey Stokes
doesn't speak for me or the FOP isn't representing the views of its
membership. If it didn't, we wouldn't be here.
Three of the many things the FOP stands for appear to be topical
at this hearing. First is the rights under the second amendment.
We support the right of law-abiding citizens to possess and enjoy
firearms for hunting, target shooting, self-protection, and any other
legitimate use. We dispute and reject any characterization to the
Second, we support a reasonable waiting period for a background
check of an individual in connection with the acquisition of a fire-
arm. The Brady law is working. It's keeping guns out of the hands
of criminals. Are there any other ways to get guns? Sure. They can
be stolen, purchased at flea markets from nondealers, bought with
false ID, and if there was a simple way of addressing these means
of acquisition a way as simple and as effective as Brady, we'd en-
dorse it in a heartbeat. But just because it's possible to get a gun
other than from a dealer doesn't mean we should give up on closing
dealer loopholes. We should take every step we can take.
You know, the Internal Revenue Code is full of loopholes, few of
which have done me very much good, I might add, and if somebody
suggested closing one and gave you the means to close it, would
you say, no, I won't because there are 100 other ways to get around
taxes? Of course not. You'd close it and you'd go after the others.
And that's what we've got to do here, is keep the loophole that
Brady closed closed for good and get after the rest of the ways
criminal get guns.
Why should we add to the criminal's arsenal? Why should we tin-
ker with a law that hasn't kept a single law-abiding citizen from
getting a gun, but has stopped thousands of people with criminal
records? It iust doesn't make sense?
The third issue which is clearly on the table today is the assault
weapons ban. We support the passage of the ban and we support
its retention. If you talk about cosmetic nature of the features, you
can talk about the greater firepower of all the other weapons. You
can talk about how relatively few assault weapons there are com-
pared to conventional weapons. There's one fact that the NRA can't
make go away, one little secret, and that is that assault weapons
are eight times more likely to be used in crime than any legitimate
sporting weapon. So who needs them? The crooks need them. It
makes no more sense to make a second amendment argument for
these weapons than it does for stinger missiles or nuclear war-
I personally lost an officer 2 years ago to an assault weapon. The
officer was on a raid of a house of a law-abiding citizen that just
happened to ^o off his medication the night before and shot an offi-
cer up in Arlington. They were hitting his house to apprehend the
person that committed the violation. The person pulled out an as-
sault weapon and shot him right through the ballistic shield, which
was developed to protect him from weapons, but, unfortunately, it
doesn't protect you from an armor-piercing round, which is what
the AK-47 is.
So, in summary, Mr. Chairman, we support the Brady law and
the assault weapons ban. We support the second amendment.
There's no contradiction, and that's the position of the FOP and it's
offered by our membership.
I also request that the FOP resolutions addressing the Brady law
and the assault weapons ban, which passed 62 percent and 58 per-
cent majorities respectively at our national convention, be included
in the record. I'm sure that all of you who count votes will agree
that these are pretty impressive, given the nature of the issues.
And I have enclosed them with my testimony.
Mr. McCoLLUM. They'll be admitted to the record, without objec-
Sergeant Cahill. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Sergeant Cahill follows:]
Prepared Statement of Sgt. Donald Cahill, Chairman, Legislative
Committee, Fraternal Order of Police
Vm pleased to appear before the Crime Subcommittee for the first time
since the convening of the 104th Congress. I'm particalarly gratified
to speak to an Issue on which I believe we all can agree; the right of
law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
The Grand Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police, which represents over
270,000 sworn law enforcement officers nationwide, exists only to
address the interests and concerns of its membership. That membership
includes men and women who risk their lives every day to protect the
rights of our citizenry — aU of those rights — not just the popular ones
or the politically correct ones. Neither do those who hare accepted the
responsibility of representing this organization have the luxury of
taking a walk on a controversial issue, we are accountable to our
membership for our actions — every bit as accountable as you are to
Our national president runs for office every two years — and believe me
running for ofRce in the F.O.P. is not a game for the faint hearted. Our
current president, Dewey R. Stokes is nearing the end of bJs fourth
term — he wouldn't have lasted this long if he didn't pay careful
attention to the membership and their vision of what the F.O.P. should
That's why I'm somewhat bemused when I hear a cop say "Dewey
Stokes doesn't speak for me", or "The FOP isn't representing the views