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U.S. puts machine-guns on Great Lakes coast guard vessels
Last updated Mar 15 2006 04:56 PM EST
For the first time since 1817, U.S. Coast Guard vessels on the Great Lakes are being outfitted with weapons – machine-guns capable of firing 600 bullets a minute.
Until now, coast guard officers have been armed with handguns and rifles, but the vessels themselves haven't been equipped with weapons.
The War of 1812 saw violent battles on Lake Erie and Lake Huron between U.S. troops and British forces, which were largely composed of militias from Britain's colonies in what is now Canada. After the war, the United States and Britain – and later Canada – agreed to demilitarize the Great Lakes waters.
The Rush-Bagot Treaty of 1817 allowed each country to station four vessels, each equipped with an 18-pound cannon, to safeguard the Great Lakes.
The guns are typically mounted because of their weight. But a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer William Colclough, said they will be stored below decks on the coast guard's 11 Great Lakes cutters and will be mounted only when needed.
"Certainly the Great Lakes [have] not had any military vessels stationed on [them] since – gosh, really since the advent of that treaty."
Originally posted by Jack of Scythes
What if I took my boat onto Lake Erie, had some engine trouble, and had a Coastguard boat pull along side with some Yahoo pointing a 50mm deckgun at me?
I'd probably have just enough time to extend a certain finger on my hand before the gun started blazing.