STUDY: POLICE CHIEFS SUPPORT STRONGER GUN CONTROL LAWS
NRA Opposes Measures Backed By Police and the Public
TOLEDO - A new study shows police chiefs across the country support tougher gun control measures, including laws to require background checks on all firearm sales.
"Police Chiefs' Perceptions of the Regulation of Firearms," conducted by researchers from the University of Toledo, Kent State University, and Wayne State University and published in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that law enforcement leaders support several gun control proposals opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Measures backed by at least 75 percent of police chiefs surveyed include requiring background checks for all handgun purchases (supported by 93.5 percent); equipping new handguns with trigger locks (82.7 percent); requiring background checks for all rifle and shotgun purchases; and requiring the addition of tamper-resistant serial numbers on firearms (81.5 percent).
The study concluded that most police chiefs believe gun rights must yield to public safety: "When asked whether they agreed with the statement that the government should do everything it can to keep handguns out of the hands of criminals, even if it means making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase handguns, again the majority (63%) indicated that they agreed with this statement," the authors said.
"The NRA pretends to represent the interests of law enforcement, but this study shows that police understand the need for stronger gun laws," said Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy and education group. "Most cops just don't buy what the NRA is selling, and no amount of spin will persuade law enforcement leaders that the gun lobby is looking out for them."
Congress is now considering S. 2460/H.R. 5033, legislation that will repeal laws that prevent the federal government from sharing information about guns traced to crimes with state and local police. The NRA is supporting H.R. 5005, a bill that would impose additional restrictions on access to this data, making it harder for police to track gun crime and the criminals who sell firearms to violent felons.
Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence in Toledo, said the new study's findings on the attitudes of police chiefs toward concealed weapons are especially revealing in light of the recent debate over the issue in the state legislature. "Concealed-carry laws have become a pet project of the legislators in Ohio, but this study found that more than half of police chiefs don't believe civilians should be carrying guns at all in public places," Hoover said.
The study also found police chiefs with 30 or more years of experience in law enforcement were more likely to support gun control than those with less experience. The more experienced officers, for example, were more likely to support requiring background checks when purchasing a gun than those on the force for less than 30 years.
Not surprisingly, the study found significant differences between chiefs who belong to the NRA members and those who do not, with non-NRA members being more supportive of tougher gun laws.
Gun violence prevention groups have long supported efforts to require background checks on all firearm sales, including sales at gun shows, as well as laws to require microstamping technology, which makes it more difficult to remove serial number markings, on all new guns.
The full study is available at:
|The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was founded in 1975 and is composed of 45 civic, professional and religious organizations and 100,000 individual members working to reduce gun violence. Our mission is to stop gun violence by fostering effective community and national action. For more information about the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, visit www.csgv.org.|
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