This week a federal appeals court unanimously ruled that law enforcement can only use “proportional” force against threats that they face; essentially limiting the use of firearms.
Nearly 125 law enforcement officers sued to challenge the ruling stating that it’s unreasonable to restrict their use of the Second Amendment for self-defense. This, too, has great consequences as in the heat of the moment it means that police will now be second-guessing their actions, even in life-threatening situations.
“The City of Seattle has a significant interest in regulating the use of department-issued firearms by its police officers,” Judge William Hayes wrote in the decision. He said the policy fits the city’s “important government interest in ensuring the safety of both the public and its police officers.”
Judge William Hayes in the court decision said judges determined that officers could still use firearms on the job, and that the policy “did not impose a substantial burden on plaintiffs’ right to use a firearm” for self-defense. They also ruled it was constitutional because of the city’s interest in keeping both police and the public safe.
The ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the use of force reforms put in place by federal mandates under the Obama administration that required police to use only “objectively reasonable force, proportional to the threat or urgency of the situation,” the Associated Press reports. The unanimous ruling strikes down a lawsuit filed by a group of more than 120 Seattle officers in 2014 who claimed that the strict reforms infringe on an officer’s right to self defense and the Second Amendment.
“The City of Seattle has a significant interest in regulating the use of department-issued firearms by its police officers,” Judge William Hayes wrote, adding that the policy “did not impose a substantial burden on plaintiffs’ right to use a firearm.”