Police Are Involved
in More Than One Out of Four Assault Weapons Incidents, Violence Policy
Center Study Shows
than one out of four assault weapons incidents involve police, according
to “Target: Law Enforcement—Assault Weapons in the News” (http://www.vpc.org/studies/targetle.pdf)
a new study released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The study,
based on reports in the news of assault weapons incidents over a two-year
span, is a snapshot of the effect of America’s laissez-faire policy toward
these deadly military-style weapons.
The study found that
the percentage of assault weapons incidents involving police rose significantly
between the two periods studied: March 1, 2005 to February 28, 2006, and
March 1, 2006 to February 28, 2007. Police were involved in 29 of 117
incidents (24.8 percent) in the first period and 35 of 118 incidents (29.7
percent) in the second period—an increase of 20.7 percent between the
two periods. Other findings include the following.
- Shots were fired
from assault weapons (other than police weapons) in three out of every
four reported incidents involving police.
- Gangs were reported
to be involved in one out of five of the reported incidents involving
- Assault weapons
incidents frequently result in deaths or injuries. At least one victim
was killed in 86 out of 235 reported incidents (36.6 percent). A total
of 115 deaths were reported for the 86 incidents.
- AK-47 type rifles
were the type of assault weapon most often named in reports. SKS rifles
were the second most often named type.
Tom Diaz, VPC senior
policy analyst and author of the study states, “This snapshot of assault
weapon violence makes clear that these guns pose a clear and continued
threat to law enforcement. State and federal policymakers should move
quickly to protect the public servants who protect us by passing effective
legislation to restrict these military-bred weapons.”
The report is based
on a compilation of information derived from multiple searches, using
a variety of terms, of reports published in U.S. news media and included
in the commercial database Nexis. The use of such surrogate data is necessary
because there is no national database that comprehensively tracks deaths
and injuries from specific types and models of firearms. As a result,
the data contained in the study represents the minimal number of incidents
involving assault weapons.
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.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109