New Analysis of FBI Data, Available Here, Reveals More Than Half of Oregon Police Shot to Death in 30-Year Span Were Murdered by People Likely Prohibited from Possessing Guns; Research Shows Background Checks Save Officers’ Lives
81% of Oregonians Support Background Checks on All Gun Sales
SALEM, Ore. – Everytown for Gun Safety and the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today applauded the introduction of Senate Bill 941, a bill to require background checks on all gun sales –including online sales – closing a loophole that makes it easy for convicted felons and other prohibited purchasers to get guns. Everytown also released “Officers Down,” a new analysis of FBI data available here, that reveals more than half of Oregon police shot to death in a 30-year span were murdered by people who were likely prohibited from possessing guns.
The new analysis also found that two-thirds of Oregon law enforcement intentionally killed in the line of duty between 1980 and 2014 were killed with guns. Of the nine Oregon law enforcement officers shot to death during this period with firearms that were not their own, at least five — 56 percent — were killed by individuals who were likely prohibited from possessing firearms.
To conduct the analysis, Everytown obtained the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) database covering felonious deaths of law enforcement from 1980 to 2011 and updated it with additional incidents documented in media reports. For all incidents in which an officer was killed with a firearm that was not his or her own, Everytown identified the assailant and then researched state and federal criminal records and contemporaneous newspaper records to determine if the individual was prohibited by law from possessing firearms. Details of those incidents are available in the “Officers Down” analysis here.
Background checks are proven to help prevent crime and save lives. In states with background checks on all handgun sales, 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns.
As SB 941 was introduced and Everytown’s analysis was released, law enforcement officials, Moms and survivors made the following statements:
“Oregon’s background check law has stopped thousands of criminals from getting guns in Oregon, including felons and domestic abusers. But there’s a dangerous loophole in the law. Criminals who fail a background check can still get guns online, or through a private sale from a stranger, no questions asked. Where they’ve changed the law, fewer police officers are shot and killed in the line of duty,” said retired Portland Police Chief Mike Reese. “The legislature should close this loophole. Background checks save lives.”
“Today’s introduction of SB 941, background check legislation, is the first step toward keeping our kids, schools, communities—and the law enforcement officers who work to protect us—safer,” said Anneliese Davis, a volunteer with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Background checks are proven to prevent gun violence—and as Oregon moms, we urge the legislature to pass this bill as swiftly as possible.”
“It shouldn’t be so easy for criminals to get guns. This bill would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people by ensuring that all Oregonians undergo the same background check when buying a gun,” said Jenna Yuille, a gun violence survivor whose mother Cindy was killed in the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting. “We know stronger background checks save lives.”