“U.S. Park Police said Friday that they were told in both cases that the robbers had a “machine gun.”

by Prince Of Petworth January 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm 19 Comments


A reader writes:

“Almost certainly not a machine gun. More likely AR-15. But even that seems prohibitively expensive (and overkill) for teenage robbers.”

The Washington Post reported:

“Two gunpoint robberies have been reported within the past two weeks in the Georgetown area near the entrance to the Capital Crescent Trail, a scenic recreational site and rail trail that runs from the District to Silver Spring.

Though stress and other factors sometimes impair the accuracy of descriptions given by crime victims, U.S. Park Police said Friday that they were told in both cases that the robbers had a “machine gun.”

  • Anonymous

    A basic AR-type rifle costs about $700, a bit more than a mid-range handgun. Teenagers can’t buy one legally because they are under aged and can’t pass a NICS background check. Perhaps they could find one for less on the black market if they find one that had been stolen. Not impossible as this is the most popular sporting rifle in America and there are millions in the possession of law abiding firearms owners.

    Unfortunately, people unfamiliar with firearms, especially if they have just been victimized in a crime, are likely to mischaracterize any scary looking firearm as machine guns or other crazy thing. MPD should be more cautious in releasing such inflammatory information to the public.

    • bowhunt or bare hands

      what’s so sporting about a semi-automatic weapon?

      • Anony


    • Ben

      My guess would be an airsoft replica. Some of those look pretty real (specially with the tip painted and pointed at a non-gun person, as you pointed out) and would make me hand over my wallet if pointed at me……

    • stacksp

      Prior to the automatic weapon ban in MD 2 years ago, there was a run on AR-15s. My buddy got one from Bass Pro Shops and when I went to pick them up, they said that they were flying off the shelves.

      In this instance, the “machine gun” is probably some semi-auto with and extended clip….

    • Officer Friendl;y

      In my time as a cop in D.C. I’ve dealt with maybe one or two robberies out of many, many robberies where a rifle or full-sized shotgun were used. 99% of the time when a gun is used it’s a handgun- they’re concealable, easy to move around with and generally makes the little turds who rob folks feel like real street gangsters. They’re almost no chance that they’re using a real rifle because it’s too cumbersome to rob people with.

  • Woodridge

    I think by “machine gun” they’re referring to a semi-automatic gun. Sorry that they didn’t get the terminology perfect for you, but that type of gun still bears noting. And seriously? “A teen couldn’t buy one legally”? Yes, I”m sure the ‘legality’ of how they obtained the gun was of primary concern when they got it.

    • navyard

      Right, nothing to worry about here. This was only an Assault Rifle. Move along.

      • navyard

        Sorry Woodridge – I replied to your comment when I meant to reply to Anonymous 2:21

        • Anonymous-AR

          What characteristics make you classify a weapon as an “assault” weapon? Please don’t tell me you think “AR” stands for assault rifle.

          • navyard

            This: (and the first poster who said “probably a basic-AR type rifle”. So if the AR-15 is a common and basic-AR type rifle, and the AR-15 is a common assualt rifle, then maybe there’s some legitimacy to my assumption?

            “The AR-15 is a common assualt rifle. Very similar in looks to an M-16, but not exactly.

            AR does NOT stand for Assault Rifle, as is commonly believed. AR stands for the original company that manufactured it, ArmaLite. ArmaLite sold their rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 designs in 1959 to Colt.

    • Mcd

      Does it bear noting? Nearly every gun is semi auto. Semi auto, revolvers, belt fed (actual machine guns), bolt action rifles, and shotguns pretty much sum up the gun market, which do you think was likely used in a robbery? Unless you’re toting an 1800s western style single action revolver or a muzzle loading musket, I don’t think “semi auto” is really worth noting. More likely a given. But it sounds scary af, right? And makes people afraid of guns. So why not.
      To your point, if you don’t know anything about guns and are on the wrong end of one in a robbery…it was probably a “machine gun!1!1”

      • madmonk28

        I think people are afraid of guns because they are used very frequently to kill lots of people in America, more than in any other developed world. The gun lobby maintains this state by manipulating white American racial fears and feeding a bizarre white male fantasy of standing up to savages. It’s why a lot of discussion about gun crimes spirals down to esoteric fetishism about the mechanics of firearms rather than addressing he real issue of too many guns in our country.

        • Anonymous-AR

          How many guns constitute too many? Remember people guns dont kill people – people kill people. An inanimate object can not kill someone without a being with intention utilizing it. In the near past we have seen trucks kill many people in terrorist attacks yet we have not seen our right to buy/drive trucks impeded.

          • Anon

            This is an incredibly facile thought process. I think you understand why and don’t seem to be personally bothered by such, but that’s a personal choice as well.

          • madmonk28

            And my point proven.

          • KingmanParkRes

            By your logic you must also agree that grenades don’t kill people, explosives don’t kill people and rocket launchers don’t kill people either. If only people kill people, why can’t I carry a rocket launcher down the street?

            We have to draw a line somewhere, and it’s foolish to push back at the entire idea of restricting access to weapons. The question should be where and how, not if. Your assertion is a distraction and either intentionally disingenuous or blind.

  • MsSunshine

    Speaking of teens and guns, is there any more info on the shootings at 10th and Quebec and 13th and Columbia last week? Are people still in the hospital? Has anyone been charged?

  • madmonk28

    I was assuming that the robbers had some version (or replica) of a Mac 10 which is a small concealable gun that a person might describe as a machine gun. I can’t imagine someone trying to use a long gun like an AR 15 in a robbery.


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