Entries in Law Enforcement (4)


Police, Gun Control Advocates Push Washington for Action

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Police and gun control advocates Thursday sounded a louder call for politicians to take a stand against gun violence -- despite Congress’ lack of political will to touch the issue, or the White House’s affirmation that President Obama had no plans to put new gun laws on the books.

“We have refused to accept silence from the candidates for the highest office in our land,” Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told reporters Thursday at the National Press Club.

“The American people have shown overwhelmingly that they are ready to have a real conversation about how to prevent gun violence, and we are demanding the same from our elected representatives: Not to play politics but to lead.”

The nation’s largest anti-gun violence group, the Brady Campaign, was founded by President  Reagan’s press secretary, Jim Brady, who was confined to a wheelchair after he took a bullet to the head in the Reagan assassination attempt in 1981.

The group supports broadening the Brady Law, enacted in 1994, which requires federally licensed firearms dealers to run background checks on would-be buyers to weed out felons, drug addicts or others who might prove dangerous. But Thursday, the group put policy on hold and instead urged Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney to take the lead in discussing ways to end gun violence, whatever they might be.

“It is time for all of us to come together -- Republicans, Democrats, blue states, red states, people who own guns and people who don’t -- to have a meaningful national conversation about what we can do about it,” Gross said. “I think it’s shameful that our political leaders would play politics when there are lives that can be saved.”

More than 30 people die of gun-related violence every day in the U.S., according to the Brady Campaign. If that number holds steady, 48,000 Americans will be victims of gun violence during the next presidential term.

“We truly believe, as a nation, we are better than this,” Gross said.

Less than a week after a movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., left 12 dead and 58 injured, a national group of police associations also took to Washington, D.C., to drum up support for more gun control measures.

The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, a group of nine national police associations, Thursday echoed its demands for background checks on all firearms purchasers.

“America, we are not doing enough to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said James Johnson, Baltimore county chief of police and incoming chairman of the partnership. “We are long past the point of saying ‘enough is enough.’ The mantra has grown old. It’s time to take action to keep firearms from dangerous people.”

The Brady Law applies only to federally licensed gun dealers -- which accounts for 60 percent of all U.S. firearm transactions, according to the partnership. People who buy assault-style guns or high-capacity ammunition online, or through a classified ad, for example, might not be subject to those background checks.

Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes did pass background checks to purchase his guns legally, partnership president Hubert Williams acknowledged. But broadening the law would help close a “gaping hole” that illegal buyers can still exploit, he said.

“We’re not asking for new laws. We’re asking for existing laws to be enforced on all people that are purchasing these weapons,” Williams said. “We’re just saying that the law has a loophole in it that needs to be plugged.”

Gross, of the Brady Campaign, said it’s important for politicians to talk about gun control -- but just paying lip service isn’t enough.

“A speech is not a plan. An endorsement of a measure is not a solution,” he said. “We want a plan with solutions.”

Second Amendment advocates point to data stating the vast majority of firearms used in crimes are not legally purchased, and, most notably, criminals don't follow gun laws of any kind.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Anniversary Triggers Law Enforcement Surge

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While U.S. officials say publicly there is no specific threat of a terror attack, behind the scenes law enforcement officials tell ABC News there are plans for a major security surge at airports and transportation hubs in advance of next week's anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

The precautions are based on intelligence reports that al Qaeda is determined to avenge the death of bin Laden, killed by Navy SEALs last May, with a focus on aviation targets.

Of greatest concern to U.S. officials is al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and its master bombmaker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, who has survived repeated U.S. efforts to kill him.

It was al-Asiri, according to U.S. officials, who designed the so-called "underwear bomb" worn by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. Abdulmutallab got the bomb past airport security but failed to detonate it successfully aboard the plane.

Officials say al-Asiri also designed the bombs hidden in printers that were shipped from Yemen to Chicago. The bombs were intercepted in Dubai and the U.K. after they'd been placed aboard cargo planes.

In a joint intelligence bulletin issued overnight, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said the Yemen group "intends to advance plots along multiple fronts, including renewed efforts to target Western aviation."

"It doesn't take a great number of people to do the kind of attack that we had on September 11," said Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant and former White House counterterrorism official. "That was less than two dozen people and it's clear that they have that number available in places like Yemen today."

Threats of a revenge attack have been monitored by the U.S. ever since last year's raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Among the papers found in his home were repeated references to the importance of attacks timed to coincide with anniversaries.

Said Clarke, "I think the major issue for al Qaeda is to do something, to prove that they're still alive, to do some fairly major event or series of attacks that prove that they're not down, they're not out."

As a result, American law enforcement and White House officials say travelers at airports in the U.S. and Europe should expect to see enhanced security over the next several days.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Deadly Year for Law Enforcement Officers, Report Shows

The casket of NYPD officer Peter Figoski is brought out following his funeral in Babylon, New York. Figoski, a 22-year NYPD veteran was gunned down during an attempted robbery in December. Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This year was one of the deadliest in recent history for U.S. law enforcement, according to a new report.

In-the-line-of-duty deaths among police officers ticked up for the first time in four years, the report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said. A total of 173 officers were reported killed in the line of duty, up 13 percent from the year before.

“We've seen drastic budget cuts affecting law enforcement agencies across the country and those budget cuts have put our officers at grave risk,” the organization’s Craig Floyd said, adding that “These numbers we’re releasing today are a wake-up call to legislators across this country that when it comes to public safety, we must stop cutting.”

This year marks the first time in 14 years that firearm deaths were higher than the number of officers killed in traffic. Of the 68 firearm deaths, Floyd says, 14 were shot making an arrest.

The report found that 64 officers died in traffic accidents this year, down from the 71 killed in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FBI Stats Show Increase in Police Officers Killed, Assaulted in 2010

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI has released its annual figures on law enforcement officers killed and wounded for last year. The report shows that 56 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in 2010, and more than 53,000 officers were assaulted last year, an increase in the death rate over 48 from the previous year.

The FBI notes that it's hard to draw conclusions about the data, for example, in 2001, 70 officers were killed in the line of duty (excluding the events of 9/11), and five years ago, 48 officers were killed in felonies.

The 2010 report also shows 72 officers were accidentally killed in the line of duty; almost all of those deaths involving vehicles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio