Press Release

STATEMENT: Retired ATF Special Agent David Chipman Responds to Shooting of Law Enforcement Officers in Florida

April 20, 2018 — On Thursday afternoon, two Gilchrist County Sheriff’s deputies, Sgt. Noel Ramirez and Deputy Taylor Lindsey,were shot and killed in the line of duty after a gunman opened fire at the restaurant they were in.

David Chipman, Senior Policy advisor at Giffords and a retired ATF Special Agent of 25 years issued the following statement on the shooting:

“Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey gave their lives serving the people of Gilchrist County. We often think of the job law enforcement officers do every day to protect our communities. But all too often, we don’t think about how we can make the job safer for them. Police officers are trained to serve and protect, but our laws make it too easy for dangerous individuals to get a gun and use it. Lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels must finally acknowledge this problem and pass legislation to prevent future shootings, like this one, from occurring.”

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 in 2016 when 64 officers were killed from gunfire. This represents a 56 percent rise over the 41 officers killed by gunfire in 2015. Of the 64 shooting deaths of officers in 2016, 21 were the result of ambush-style attacks—the highest total in more than two decades.

It is clear that guns in dangerous hands make law enforcement officers vulnerable: of the over 500 individuals who have killed police officers between 2006 and 2015, 83 percent had previous arrest records, 64 percent were previously convicted of a crime, 47 percent had previous arrests for crimes of violence, and 43 percent had been arrested for weapons offenses. 24 percent of those responsible for the murder of law enforcement had previously been arrested for assaulting an officer or resisting arrest.

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Giffords is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence. Led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Giffords inspires the courage of people from all walks of life to make America safer.