Police and Guns

Myth: More police officers are killed on duty in states with more guns

POLICE AND GUNS - comparison of police and civilian homicides rates 1996-2010Fact: Police homicide rates are so low that statistical analysis begs inaccuracies due to the rareness of such killings. Using the study that made this claim 1 the rate of civilian homicides was 60 times that of police officers, using the highest rate of police homicides. 2 To give you an idea of how small the numbers are, a mere 47 officers were killed with guns in 2014 (excluding firearm accidents). 3 Thus, the researchers were attempting to compare police homicides for each state when, on average, there was less than one such homicide per state.

Myth: Police favor gun control

Fact: The National Association of Chiefs of Police polled its members 4 and determined that:

  • 86% want nationwide reciprocity for concealed carry licensees.
  • 76% think armed citizen can help cops reduce violent crime.
  • 88% believe any vetted (non-criminal) citizen should be able to buy a gun.

Fact: 94% of law enforcement officials believe that citizens should be able to purchase firearms for self-defense and sporting purposes. 5

Fact: In a survey of 15,000 law enforcement professionals: 6

  • 96% opposed limiting magazine capacity
  • 91% think banning “assault weapons” would have no effect or a negative effect
  • 62% said they would not enforce new gun control laws

Fact: 65.8% believe there should be no gun rationing, such as ‘one gun per month’ schemes.

Fact: 97.9% of police officers believe criminals are able to obtain any type of firearm through illegal means.

Fact: “Gun control has not worked in D.C. The only people who have guns are criminals. We have the strictest gun laws in the nation and one of the highest murder rates. It’s quicker to pull your Smith & Wesson than to dial 911 if you’re being robbed.” 7

Myth: Police are our protection — people don’t need guns

Fact: Tell that to 14,196 murder victims, 345,031 robbery victims, and 79,770 rape victims who the police could not help. 8

Fact: The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals. In Warren v. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981), the court stated “… courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community.”

Fact: There are not enough police to protect everyone.  In 1999, there were about 150,000 police officers on duty at any one time. 9

  • This is on-duty police.  This includes desk clerks, command sergeants, etc.  – far fewer than 150,000 cops are cruising your neighborhood.
  • There were approximately 271,933,702 people living in the United States in 1999. 10
  • Thus there is only one on-duty cop for every 1,813 citizens!

Fact: Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith told Florida legislators that police responded to only 200,000 of 700,000 calls for help to DadeCounty authorities.

Fact: The United States Department of Justice found that, in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence for which police had not responded within 1 hour.

Fact: 95% of the time police arrive too late to prevent a crime or arrest the suspect. 11

Fact: 75% of protective/restraining orders are violated and police often won’t enforce them unless they witness the violation. 12

Fact: Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most armed and violent attacks at schools were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention. 13 Often these interventions were by administrators, teachers, or other students who were licensed to carry firearms.

Myth: The supply of guns is a danger to law enforcement

Fact: The courts kill cops by letting felons out of prison early.  Of police killed in the line of duty:

  • 70% are killed by criminals with prior arrest records
  • 53% of these criminals have prior convictions
  • 22% are on probation when the officer is killed

Myth: “Cop Killer” bullets need to be banned

Fact: KTW rounds, wrongly labeled as “cop killer” bullets, were designed by police officers 14, for use by police to penetrate hard targets like car windshields.  KTWs have never been sold to the general public. 15

Myth: Teflon bullets are designed to penetrate police bullet-proof vests

Fact: KTW rounds are Teflon coated to prevent heat build-up in a police officer’s gun barrel, not to pierce body armor. 16


Notes:

  1. Firearm Prevalence and Homicides of Law Enforcement Officers in the United States, Swedler, Simmons, Dominici, and Hemenway, American Journal of Public Health, October 2015
  2. Using the average national civilian homicide covering the period of their study for police.
  3. Officer Down Memorial Page
  4. 28th Annual National Survey Results, National Association of Chiefs of Police, 2016
  5. 17th Annual National Survey of Police Chiefs & Sheriffs, National Association of Chiefs of Police, 2005
  6. Gun Policy & Law Enforcement survey, PoliceOne, March 2013
  7. Lt. Lowell Duckett, Special Assistant to DC Police Chief; President, Black Police Caucus, The Washington Post, March 22, 1996
  8. FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, 2014
  9. US Justice Department, 1998
  10. US Census Bureau, 1999 estimate
  11. This is 911 … please hold, Witkin, Gordon, Guttman, Monika and Lenzy, Tracy. U.S. News & World Report, June 17, 1998
  12. Anti-stalking laws usually are unable to protect targets, Ellen Sorokin, Washington Times, April 16, 2000
  13. Threat Assessment In Schools, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education, 2002
  14. Developed by Daniel Turcos (a police sergeant) and Donald Ward (Dr. Kopsch’s special investigator)
  15. Cop Killer Bullets, Mike Casey, July 2000
  16. Cop Killer Bullets, Mike Casey, July 2000