Press Release

Gabrielle Giffords and Retired ATF Special Agent David Chipman Respond to Shooting of Law Enforcement Officers in Philadelphia

August 14, 2019 — Experts from Giffords issued the following statements reacting to the news that six Philadelphia police officers were shot in a shootout Wednesday afternoon in North Philadelphia:

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“I’m horrified watching the tragedy unfolding before our eyes in Philadelphia. We are failing to protect law enforcement from gun violence just as we’re failing our kids and communities. I said it 10 days ago, and I’m saying it again today: Mitch McConnell must bring the Senate back in session immediately and send the background checks bill to Donald Trump’s desk.”

David Chipman, Senior Policy advisor at Giffords and retired ATF special agent of 25 years:

“We often think of the job law enforcement officers do every day to protect our communities, but all too often, we fail to think about the dangerous situations we put them in. Police officers are trained to serve and protect our communities and our families, but our current laws make it far too easy for dangerous individuals to get their hands on a gun and use it. Lawmakers must acknowledge this problem and take swift action to pass legislation to prevent future shootings like this one from occurring.”

Background on Frequency of Officers Shot in the Line of Duty:

Dangerous loopholes in our nation’s gun laws pose serious threats to the safety of law enforcement officers. Firearms-related incidents were the number one cause of death for law enforcement over the past decade, with 51 officers feloniously killed from gunfire in 2018.

It is clear that guns in dangerous hands make law enforcement officers vulnerable. Of the more than 530 individuals who have killed police officers between 2009 and 2018, 85 percent had previous arrest records, 65 percent were previously convicted of a crime, 52 percent had previous arrests for crimes of violence, and 40 percent had been arrested for weapons offenses. 32 percent of those responsible for the murder of law enforcement had previously been arrested for assaulting an officer or resisting arrest.