New Data Shows One in Five Law Enforcement Officers Slain in the Line of Duty in 2016 and 2017 Were Felled by an Assault Weapon

For Release: Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Analysis Part of Violence Policy Center Testimony Presented Today at Assault Weapons Hearing Before House Judiciary Committee

Washington, DC — One in five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty in 2016 and 2017 were killed with an assault weapon, according to research by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The new analysis was released today as part of testimony by VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons.

As seen in the graphic below, in 2016 and 2017 (the most recent years for which information is available) 109 U.S. law enforcement officers (excluding Puerto Rico) were slain in the line of duty. Of these, 25 (23 percent) were killed with an assault weapon. In six of these 25 deaths a bullet penetrated the officer’s body armor. Information for the VPC analysis was obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) along with data published by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed & Assaulted Program for 2016 and 2017.

In her testimony before the Committee, the VPC’s Rand stated, “The threat posed by assault weapons to public safety and law enforcement is real and demands a thorough policy response. Any ban must incorporate a definition of ‘assault weapon’ that cannot be evaded by the gun industry. A new ban must also address grandfathered ‘assault weapons’ more effectively than the 1994 law.”




The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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