For Immediate Release
Police Are Involved in More Than One Out of Four Assault Weapons Incidents, Violence Policy Center Study Shows
WASHINGTON - More than one out of four assault weapons
incidents involve police, according to "Target: Law Enforcement-Assault Weapons in the
a new study released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The
study, based on reports in the news of assault weapons incidents over a two-year
span, is a snapshot of the effect of America's laissez-faire
policy toward these deadly military-style weapons.
The study found that the percentage of assault weapons
incidents involving police rose significantly between the two periods
studied: March 1, 2005 to February 28, 2006, and March 1, 2006 to
February 28, 2007. Police were involved in 29 of 117 incidents (24.8
percent) in the first period and 35 of 118 incidents (29.7 percent) in the
second period-an increase of 20.7 percent between the two periods.
Other findings include the following.
O Shots were fired from assault
weapons (other than police weapons) in three out of every four reported
incidents involving police.
O Gangs were reported to be involved
in one out of five of the reported incidents involving assault weapons.
O Assault weapons incidents
frequently result in deaths or injuries. At least one victim was killed
in 86 out of 235 reported incidents (36.6 percent). A total of 115 deaths
were reported for the 86 incidents.
O AK-47 type rifles were the type of
assault weapon most often named in reports. SKS rifles were the second most
often named type.
Tom Diaz, VPC senior
policy analyst and author of the study states, "This snapshot of assault
weapon violence makes clear that these guns pose a clear and continued threat
to law enforcement. State and federal policymakers should move quickly to
protect the public servants who protect us by passing effective legislation to
restrict these military-bred weapons."
The report is based on a compilation of information derived
from multiple searches, using a variety of terms, of reports published in U.S.
news media and included in the commercial database Nexis. The use of such
surrogate data is necessary because there is no national database that
comprehensively tracks deaths and injuries from specific types and models of
firearms. As a result, the data contained in the study represents the
minimal number of incidents involving assault weapons.
The Violence Policy Center is a national tax-exempt educational organization working for a safer America through research, investigation, analysis, and advocacy. The VPC provides information to policymakers, journalists, organizations, advocates, and the general public.