For Release: Tuesday, January 11, 2005
SKS Assault Rifles Claimed Lives of at Least Six Police Officers in 2004
President Can Ban Import of All Foreign-Made Assault Rifles Such as SKSs and AK-47s
Washington, DC – SKS assault rifles like the one reported by police to have been used in an ambush shooting on Sunday, January 9, to murder one police officer and critically wound another in Ceres, CA, are a primary threat to law enforcement, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) reported today. In 2004 at least six law enforcement officers were slain by SKSs. In the wake of the shooting, the VPC called on President George W. Bush to use the Administration’s executive authority over firearm imports to ban the import of all foreign-made assault rifles. Such an action would not require Congressional approval. The Bush Administration has specifically authorized the importation of SKS assault rifles made in Albania and the former Yugoslavia.
A 2002 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) report labeled the SKS “the rifle model most frequently encountered by law enforcement officers” and stated that “these high capacity rifles pose an enhanced threat to law enforcement, in part because of their ability to expel projectiles at velocities that are capable of penetrating the type of soft body armor typically worn by the law enforcement officers.”
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “This horrifying incident illustrates why the SKS is a leading cop-killing rifle in America today. Although California’s tough state assault weapons ban outlaws the SKS, these inexpensive assault rifles are readily available across the United States.”
Rand pointed out that the SKS assault rifle was not covered by the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, which expired in September 2004. The VPC criticized the 1994 law as inadequate and favors enactment of a tougher version of the law that would ban the SKS and many other assault weapons that easily slipped through the old law’s loopholes.
“Even though the 1994 law was easily circumvented by the gun industry, Congress failed to move on a strong replacement law. President Bush could, with the stroke of a pen, tighten the import ban and stop the import of all foreign-made assault rifles – including the SKS,” Rand added.
For more information on the SKS assault rifle and the use of it and other assault weapons against law enforcement personnel, please visit http://www.vpc.org.