NEW YORK CITY and WASHINGTON D.C. – On the heels of the shooting deaths of four police officers in the last week – one in New York City, one in Post Falls, Idaho and two in Hattiesburg, Mississippi – and during National Police Week 2015, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Major Cities Chiefs Association today released a new report (available here) revealing that 52 percent of incidents in which police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2013 were committed by people prohibited from buying or possessing guns. The analysis released today is based on the most recently available data from the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) database and supplemented with media reports.
“This report shows that background checks can keep guns out of the hands of persons who are legally prohibited from obtaining a firearm. Officers were killed by persons who under current law were supposed to be barred from buying guns,” said Chief J. Thomas Manger, President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association on behalf of the 67 largest metropolitan police agencies. “As we open Police Week, we must pledge to do more to protect both police officers and the public from gun violence in the communities we are sworn to protect.”
“Police officers are on the front lines protecting our communities each and every day – we owe it to them to close the loopholes that make it easy for criminals to dodge background checks and easily get their hands on guns,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Strong laws that reduce the flow of guns to criminals can help save lives – as we’ve seen in the states that require background checks on all handgun sales, police are 48 percent less likely to be killed with handguns. It’s time for our political leaders to protect our country’s heroes – and all of our communities – by requiring background checks for all gun sales.”
The report takes a close look at the 25 incidents in which members of law enforcement were shot to death in the line of duty and found that officers were killed by criminals who have been convicted of offenses including a sex crime, robbery, and home invasion. One perpetrator was even prohibited from possessing a gun after being convicted in 2011 for threatening to kill and inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States. As part of his plea, he agreed to not possess a firearm.
NYPD Officer Killed With Illegal Gun From Georgia Reveals How States with Weak Gun Laws Fuel ‘Iron Pipeline’ of Guns Across Country
Ninety percent of guns recovered in New York City crime come from out of state and the gun used in the recent killing of NYPD Officer Brian Moore (more information on this shooting available here) is the latest example of how states with weak gun laws fuel an ‘Iron Pipeline’ of illegal guns across the country. The gun used to kill Officer Moore was traced to Little’s Bait, Tackle & Pawn in Perry, Georgia, from which 23 guns were reported stolen in October 2011. Nine of those guns have since been recovered by the New York City Police Department.
A disproportionate number of guns purchased in Georgia are recovered at crime scenes in other states. In 2013, Georgia exported twice the national average of crime guns.
In 2006, New York City sued 27 gun dealers in 5 states who were identified as being the sources of a disproportionate number of crime guns recovered in New York. Overall, 21 dealers settled, including 6 Georgia dealers. A Johns Hopkins University evaluation of this litigation found that safety measures imposed in the settlement — including conducting background checks for dealer employees and video recording sales — reduced the flow of crime guns from those dealers by 84 percent.