Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Weak Gun Laws Are Hurting Police Officers, New CAP Analysis Finds
Press Release

RELEASE: Weak Gun Laws Are Hurting Police Officers, New CAP Analysis Finds

Washington, D.C. — On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn New York’s concealed carry law, a new fact sheet released today by the Center for American Progress outlines how weakened gun laws put law enforcement at increased risk of experiencing gun violence. Police officers in the United States are far more likely to be murdered than those in other developed nations, and firearms are a major reason. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was supported by prominent law enforcement groups such as the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, signified a step in the right direction—but further strengthening U.S. guns laws is critical to ensure that communities and the police officers charged with safeguarding them do not live under the daily threat of gun violence.

“Data show that police officers are more likely to be fatally shot in states with weaker gun laws and higher levels of gun ownership, yet conservative lawmakers, now backed by extremists on the high court, continue to push for loose restrictions on gun ownership, ignoring opposition from police associations, prosecutors, and sheriffs,” said Nick Wilson, senior director for Gun Violence Prevention at CAP and co-author of the fact sheet. “If those elected officials really want to support police officers, they must stop passing dangerous gun laws and instead support basic, sensible preventive measures.”

Notably, the fact sheet finds that:

  • From 2012 to 2021, 504 police officers were killed in the United States. Out of those, 456 officers were fatally shot with a gun—meaning that 90 percent of these homicides were perpetrated with a gun.
  • From 2020 to 2021, the number of police officers fatally shot rose 35 percent.
  • From 2011 to 2020, at least 999 police officers were assaulted and injured in the line of duty, 74 percent of whom were assaulted and injured with a firearm.
  • Despite opposition from law enforcement agencies, Republican lawmakers in Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Ohio all took steps to weaken their states’ gun laws by passing permitless carry law, laws to arm school teachers, and more.

Click here to read:Weak Gun Laws Are Hurting Police Officers” by Nick Wilson and Eugenio Weigend

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Tricia Woodcome at twoodcome@americanprogress.org