War games at the LA convention

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Along with gasmasks, protestors heading to the Democratic National Convention may want to add foam padding and ice packs to their ensemble. That’s because the Los Angeles Police will be using high-powered paintball guns to quell any hellraisers, the ASSOCIATED PRESS reports.

Using the air guns — which will be loaded with pepper spray instead of paint capsules — will allow police to hit protestors from a greater distance than standard-issue equipment. In addition, they will likely be able to inflict more pain. Balls fired from a paintball gun travel about 240 feet per second, often leaving a nasty welt when they hit someone’s skin.

Activists groups criticize the use of the paintball guns, saying they are more likely to incite a riot than prevent one. But police say they are trained in using non-lethal force and will be careful not to aim at people’s heads.

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