For Release: Tuesday, September 12th, 1995
This is the press release for the September 1995 VPC study Cop Killers: Assault Weapon Attacks on America’s Police. For a copy of the complete study, please send a check for $10.00 to the Violence Policy Center, 1730 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Suite 1014, Washington, DC, 20036.
The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released “Cop Killers: Assault Weapon Attacks on America’s Police,” a study documenting the significant threat assault weapons pose to law enforcement personnel. The 55-page study was released at a 1:30 PM press conference held on Tuesday, September 12th at the House Triangle with Representative Charles Schumer (D-NY), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee’s Crime Subcommittee.
The study was based on a survey of newspaper clips collected from around the country for a five-month period from February to July 1995. The survey identified eight police officers killed by assault weapons. The survey also found nine officers wounded by assault weapons. The study documents 20 incidents in which at least 43 law enforcement officers were confronted by assailants armed with assault weapons. The study is not comprehensive and the actual total of assault weapon attacks on police is almost certainly higher.
Assault weapons were banned by Congress one year ago this week. However, assault weapons manufactured prior to the ban were “grandfathered,” meaning that the sale and possession of pre-ban assault weapons remains legal. Pro-gun members of Congress and the National Rifle Association (NRA) have pushed to overturn the assault weapon ban since the 104th Congress convened in January 1995. The key argument of repeal advocates is that assault weapons are only used by law-abiding citizens and pose no significant hazard to police.
“This study demolishes the claims of pro-repeal forces that assault weapons are seldom misused and pose no threat to police,” says Kristen Rand, director of federal policy for the VPC and author of the study. “The study shows that at least one in 10 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty will be felled by assault weapons. This is an astounding figure.” The actual figure will most likely be higher since the survey covered only a five-month period in 1995.
The study also highlights tracing data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) showing that the number of assault weapons traced to crime is continuing to climb.
“The assault weapon ban has finally turned off the spigot that for more than a decade has flooded the nation’s streets with these weapons of war. This study confirms that the ban on assault weapons must remain in place if our nation’s police are ever to be safe from the threat posed by these firearms,” adds Rand.