New Violence Policy Center Project, Assault on DC, Documents Prevalence of Assault Weapons Recovered by Law Enforcement in the District of Columbia

For Release: Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Washington, DC –The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today launched Assault on DC, a new online research project offering examples of assault weapons routinely recovered by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in the District of Columbia. The new resource is available on the VPC’s website at:

“The common misconception is that assault weapons are used almost solely in mass shootings and that regulating or banning these military-bred guns only affects firearm death and injury in that context. In fact, assault weapons are routinely recovered by law enforcement in connection to numerous other crimes,” states VPC Government Affairs Director Kristen Rand.

The Metropolitan Police Department releases weekly updates detailing a portion of the firearms recovered in the District of Columbia, including information on the associated criminal charges for some of the entries. From these updates, the VPC identifies and extracts assault weapons contained in the reports. The VPC began collecting information about recovered assault weapons in January 2023 and will regularly update the information. Photos (either actual images from MPD or representative photos of the make and model from third-party sources) of many of the guns are also included.

Assault weapons already identified by the project include: a wide range of AR-15 style assault rifles, AK-47 style assault rifles, various assault pistols, and various assault weapon ghost guns.

Adds Rand, “Assault weapons are banned in the District of Columbia, and it is a well-established fact that the vast majority of all firearms recovered in DC come from other jurisdictions. The high number of assault weapons recovered in the District is just the latest proof of the need for a national ban on these weapons of war.”

District of Columbia law includes a provision specifically allowing victims of assault weapon shootings to sue for damages.


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

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