Sacramento (AFP) – California is moving to require police officers to carry their handguns and stun guns on separate sides of their gear belts to prevent accidental shootings after two people were killed in Oakland and Minnesota.
A bill passed in the state assembly by a vote of 68-0 on Monday and is now heading to the Senate.
Separation between lethal and less-lethal weapons will make it less likely that officers will confuse the two or inadvertently draw the wrong weapon, said Republican Representative Tom Lackey.
Officers involved in the high-profile killings of Oscar Grant in Oakland and more recently Don’t Wright in Minnesota said they thought they were using tasers, but instead fired theirs.
Both weapons have a pistol grip and are fired with the trigger finger, although they are physically different.
“It led to unnecessary disasters,” said Lucky, a former California Highway Patrol officer. “We aim to prevent disasters in the future.”
Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a fellow Democrat and former deputy mayor, objected that the bill might go too far for what he said was a rare mistake.
“Someone made a mistake and made a stupid mistake,” Cooper said. “Not everyone does that.”