For Release: Monday, May 16, 2016
Washington, DC–As National Police Week begins in Washington, DC, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released new research showing that in 2014, the most recent year for which information is available, one in five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty were killed with an assault weapon. In addition, in half of the assault weapon incidents, a bullet penetrated the officer’s body armor. As seen in the graphic below, 47 officers were slain in the line of duty in the United States in 2014. Ten were killed with assault weapons. In five of those incidents the bullet penetrated the officer’s body armor. The VPC analyzed unpublished data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) along with data published in the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2014.
“This new data demonstrates the special risk that assault weapons pose to officer safety,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand, adding, “Effective assault weapons bans can decrease this risk and save the lives of first responders.”