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Police forces in Regina are shopping for carbine semi-automatic weapons for their street patrol officers.

The carbine is the same type of gun that is used by the Canadian Forces. Colt Canada, the distributors out of Hamilton, Ont., label the gun on their website as being, “battle proven in harsh combat environments.”

The new guns will cost around $2,000 to $3,000 each. The gun has the ability to pierce soft-body armour and is an accurate shot from 400 to 500 metres away.

Over the years, police have seen an increase in violence directed towards them. In 2005, four RCMP officers were killed in Alberta while investigating a marijuana grow operation. In Moncton, three RCMP officers were killed and two others were severely injured after Justin Bourque shot them in June 2014.

Steve Palmer, executive director at the Collaborative Centre for Justice and Security, said the weapons will keep the officers and citizens safer. “The patrol carbine is, in comparison to a shotgun, a much more accurate weapon. When you think of a shotgun, the spread and the pattern of the pellets in a confined space, it is potentially an even more dangerous weapon because you don’t know where all those pellets go.”

But not everyone is looking forward to the new weaponry.

“I’m not comfortable with the militarizing of police. I definitely think it will change the image Canada has globally,” said Ali Elyasi, a University of Regina graduate student who studied Canadian issues.

RCMP officers at the Vancouver International Airport made headlines in 2007 when a Polish immigrant was tazered to death. More recently, Sammy Yatim was shot and tasered by police in Toronto streetcar after carrying a small knife.

“In Canada, we do not have as much crime per capita as American’s do, so to me it just doesn’t make that much sense,” Elyasi said. South of the border, gun violence is much more prevalent, he said. “Canadian politics will be more and more like American politics if things go the way they are going,” Elyasi added.

Palmer said it’s unfair to compare Canadian police to what is seen in the United States. “Our cultures, particularly related to guns, are so different,” Palmer said. “It doesn’t translate into more use. It’s almost like an insurance policy.”

Rick Ruddell, Law Foundation of Saskatchewan Chair in Police Studies, said the guns are not used as people may think. Officers will carry less deadly weapons on hand, with the more lethal weapons stored in the trunk and only taken out in extreme situations. “It’s just an issue of officer safety. A lot of officers feel like they need that firearm in the rare event that they come under fire from a person who has a more powerful weapon,” he said.

Ruddell maintained it’s better to be safe than sorry. “One of the issues in an urban environment, like Toronto or Calgary, is sometimes the police do come under fire, like they did in Moncton, and they just don’t have the luxury of waiting 25 minutes until the SWAT team gets there,” he said.

The decision comes with the passing of the city’s 2016 budget. The force will also hire eight additional police officers.