Unlike most of the mainstream media goldfish, the montrealgazette.com has a long memory. Or excellent archives. Or a writer who can Google. The paper notes that the Ottowa RCMP’s decision to deploy Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns—I mean, machine carbines—comes some 24 years after the force put the weapon in storage. Here’s why: “The Mounties endured an embarrassing episode 24 years ago when, in a four-month period, officers accidentally fired the weapons outside the Ottawa residences of the prime minister, governor-general and U.S. ambassador. One officer shot himself in the thigh. Things got so scary, the mayor of Rockcliffe Park asked police to keep the MP5s away from the streets. Another MP5 went off outside RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. The German-made guns were eventually phased out of service after RCMP officers were issued 9-mm service pistols in 1996.” A closer reading seems to indicate operator error. Which may account for their decision to convert the weapons to semi-autos. Anyway, the re-arrival of the MP5’s another nail in the coffin of the police shotgun.
A police officer’s usual backup weapon, the shotgun, was fine in the days of bank robberies and high-risk vehicle stops. But its limited firing range and heavy weight make it less than ideal in many situations today, including perimeter containment, room-to-room searches or firing at distant targets.
“With the types of situations that they’ll need to deal with — say an active shooter in one of the buildings — a shotgun doesn’t really help. You have better accuracy and range with the MP5s,” said Sgt. Greg Cox, an RCMP headquarters spokesman.