May 16, 2017 – As tens of thousands of law enforcement officers gather in DC for Police Week, the annual observance to honor the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, Americans for Responsible Solutions today released a memorandum authored by distinguished law enforcement leaders from across the country calling on Congress to do more to protect law enforcement officers and communities from gun violence.
“In 2016, more police were assassinated in ambush killings than any time during the past two decades. In the face of a gun violence crisis that has claimed the lives of over 500 law enforcement officers in the past decade, Congress must do more to keep guns out of dangerous hands and make our communities safer from gun violence,” said David Chipman, Americans for Responsible Solutions Senior Policy Advisor and a retired 25-year ATF veteran. “I applaud these incredible law enforcement leaders who are using their voice to speak out and urge their elected leaders to act. As our nation prepares to honor the brave officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, we hope Congress will honor these courageous individuals with responsible action that saves future lives.”
The memorandum’s authors are members of the Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense, a national initiative organized by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, that brings together law enforcement officials from across the country who are committed to urging our elected leaders to enact responsible change. The memorandum provides a series of steps that Congress can take to protect law enforcement, including:
- Stopping The Proliferation of Silencers. Silencers mask the sound of a gun being fired. Responsible regulation has made silencers extremely difficult for criminals to obtain, but when they have, the results are devastating. Past criminal use of silencers has resulted in assassination-style murders where first responders cannot quickly identify the source of gunfire. Putting more silencers on the street would also diminish the effectiveness of gunshot detection technology, making it harder for police officers to safely respond to and investigate gun crimes, whether they have been called or not.
- Stopping Federally Mandated Concealed Carry. Currently, each state decides whether it will recognize concealed carry weapons permits issued by other states. If the gun lobby has its way, Congress will override existing state laws and force every state to recognize concealed carry permits issued by every other state. This would create a race to the bottom, giving the weakest state laws in the country the furthest reach and allowing individuals to carry guns in states where they cannot legally purchase firearms. It also directly undermines the ability of law enforcement officers to effectively do their jobs and ensure public safety. If this law were to pass, there would be no way for police officers to verify that individuals are carrying lawfully, which creates confusing – and dangerous – situations for the public and police alike.
- Supporting Stronger Gun Laws That Are Proven To Reduce Gun Violence. Congress must strengthen existing laws by cracking down on gun trafficking and closing the loopholes in our background check system that let felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns with no questions asked – a policy that over 90 percent of Americans support.
Addressed to interested parties, the memorandum reads:
“Law enforcement officers across the United States risk their lives every day for their country, and too frequently are required to make the ultimate sacrifice. We need Congress to do their part by taking action to protect law enforcement officers as best we can. This means keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, thwarting reckless proposals that threaten lives, and learning lessons from the past. We can and must do better.”
Read the full memo.
To learn more about the Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense, or to arrange time to speak with an expert, contact Sean Simons at [email protected].