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Firearms and Police Safety

January 26, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Jenny Bratburd

Firearms-related injuries and deaths pose a serious risk for law enforcement officers (LEOs) in the line of duty. Research has explored how a variety of firearm policies (such as stand-your-ground, permitting, etc.) affect homicide rates. These same policies can positively or negatively impact police officer risks from firearm injuries and deaths.

Highlights

  • Most fatalities for LEOs in the line of duty are from firearms.
  • The Missouri firearm assault rate on LEOs is higher than the national average.
  • Repeal of permit-to-purchase (PTP) in Missouri may have increased homicides, and slightly increased risk of firearm assaults for LEOs.
  • Higher numbers of firearms correlate with increased officer homicides based on findings across the United States.

Limitations

  • Data sources rely on police reporting or media reports and may be missing injuries and deaths associated with firearms.
  • Data on number of LEOs (for identifying rates of risk for line of duty work) and police attributes are limited.
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