One in Five Law Enforcement
Officers Slain in the Line of Duty Is Killed with an Assault Weapon, New VPC Study
Down"—Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement Demonstrates the Need
for Strengthening and Renewing Assault Weapons Ban
DC—The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released "Officer
Down"—Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement, which reveals the
threat of assault weapons to law enforcement officers throughout the United States.
The 26-page study reveals that at least 41 of the 211 law enforcement officers
slain in the line of duty between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2001, were
killed with assault weapons.
1994 Congress passed a law to ban certain models of semiautomatic assault weapons
as well as high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Immediately
after the 1994 law was enacted, the gun industry moved quickly to make slight,
cosmetic design changes in their "post-ban" guns to evade the law. Today, gunmakers
openly boast of their ability to circumvent the assault weapons ban.
gun industry's open evasion of the assault weapons ban continues to place America's
law enforcement officers at the highest possible risk. The assault weapons ban
must not only be renewed, but also strengthened, to protect police and the public
from an industry that places profits ahead of human lives," states Kristen Rand,
VPC legislative director and study author.
action this Congress, the 1994 assault weapons law will expire in September 2004.
Both President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft have expressed support for renewal
of the assault weapons ban.
"Officer Down" explains how the firearms industry has evaded the current
ban, and how assault weapons continue to pose a stark threat to America's law
enforcement personnel. The new report lists the known incidents of police officers
killed by assault weapons from 1998 through 2001, including year, state, manufacturer,
model of assault weapon, and caliber. It also offers expanded narratives for 15
of the law enforcement shootings that occurred during this period.
The Violence Policy
Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research
on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms
violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.
Thursday, May 8, 2003
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x105