Georgia Bureau of Investigation issues rifles to all agents - CBS46 News

Georgia Bureau of Investigation issues rifles to all agents

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Georgia's top law enforcement agency is arming its agents with a new weapon.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is issuing AR-15 semi-automatic rifles to all agents across the state.

In the past the bureau issued the weapons on a limited basis, but now all 275 agents have them.

"With things that are going on in the world today, it's just things aren't getting any safer for our officers [and] agents," said GBI's firearms coordinator, Andrew Ledford.

"We're a gun culture in this nation and these are becoming more and more prevalent," said Ledford.

The GBI says the move better protects agents and the public because it allows them to match the firepower they may encounter more than they could with a handgun.

"The main purpose behind it would be the accuracy aspect, the ability to put highly accurate rounds down range or towards a threat," said Ledford. 

"Also the ability to create that distance," he added. "In law enforcement, distance equals safety.”

Issuing the weapon is also in response to mass shootings and ambush attacks on officers that have happened across the country. The GBI says they are also seeing the rifles in their investigations in Georgia.

"We want to stop the threat as soon as we can. The sooner the threat is stopped, the less loss of life that there is," said GBI spokesperson Bahan Rich.

He said the rifles are another option for agents to use depending on the situation in which they find themselves.

"This is just a tool that we unfortunately have to use at times," he said. "Every agent is also issued a non-lethal tool which is our Taser.”

Agents are going through training with the new rifles.

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