The Washington Times came out with a report today that the White House is trying to sell the proposed ban on “green tips” – 5.56 M855 ammunition rounds, which can be used in the popular AR-15 rifle (as well as the military M16) – as a way of saving police officers’ lives.
My immediate interest was to locate data that I knew would back up the following assertion: very few police are killed with rounds expended from AR-15 rifles. Handguns like .38s and 9mms are far more likely to be used by cop-killers.
That’s where this post took a detour. The Washington Post did a news story in November 2010 that was exactly on point. A Google search brought it up at the top of the search results. I could tell this story would give me a good start on what I needed.
Fortunately, the Denver Post carried this story in its entirety under a different headline. (Thanks to rellimpank at Free Republic for posting the link.) I was able to recover it, and confirm that, of the 511 law enforcement officers killed between 2000 and 2010, 88 were killed with rifles. Out of those 88 killings, the largest number – 17 – were committed using AK-47s.
Each other rifle model/ammo caliber individually, such as the AR-15 using .223 or 5.56 rounds, therefore represented 16 or fewer of the 511 killings. To understand how many rifle models, and ammo calibers and manufacturers, there are out there, take a look at this list. We don’t know how many of the 71 non-AK-47 killings were perpetrated with rifles firing 5.56 rounds. Given the popularity of the AR-15, 5.56 ammo may well have been “overrepresented.”
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