The guns Oklahoma City residents fired in self-defense killings this year would still be legal if legislation supported by President Barack Obama and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers becomes law.
The guns used to slaughter 20 Connecticut first graders this month and rip through Oklahoma City police officer Katie Lawson's patrol car and body in 2010 would not.
Oklahoma City residents have used deadly force to defend themselves eight times in 2012. Six times they used pistols, with a small, ordinary rifle and a knife being the weapons in the other incidents, police records show.
Proposed national legislation that has the broadest preliminary support wouldn't touch those types of guns. So far, restrictions involving high-powered, military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines have graced headlines.
Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty was clear about where his officers typically find those kinds of guns in the local community: in the hands of gang members and drug dealers, not ordinary metro residents defending themselves from an armed attack.
“They're just popular (with criminals),” Citty explained with a shrug. “They're superior firepower for killing another human being. That's what they're for.”
Of the eight self-defense killings in Oklahoma City this year, only one involved a homeowner defending himself from an unknown intruder, police records show. The homeowner used a .380-caliber pistol to kill the intruder.
The other incidents typically involved arguments. Two were domestic disputes. Another involved two men fighting over a woman. Another — the sole incident involving a knife — was a woman defending herself against a man.
In general, whether it's in the hands of a criminal or someone who defended themselves with deadly force, officers most often encounter pistols in the field, Citty said.
“We'll find them (heavier weapons) in (drug and gang) houses,” Citty said. “You have drive-bys where you see evidence of assault rifles being used, based on the shell casings and those types of things.”
Lawson was in her patrol car in August 2010, helping to wrap up a driving under the influence stop, when a man now facing life in prison attempted to kill her with an AR-15. The .223-caliber, high-powered rifle is the same type used to kill 26 people in the Connecticut elementary school this month.
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