The country’s top law enforcement officer Monday denounced the increased violence against law enforcement officers detailed in the FBI’s 2016 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report.
“Every law enforcement officer goes to work knowing that today might be his or her last, but last year, we saw a staggering 61 percent increase in the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty because of a felony, and on average, more than 150 officers were assaulted in the line of duty every single day,” said Attorney General Jefferson B. “Jeff” Sessions.
“These numbers are as shocking as they are unacceptable,” he said of the FBI report released Monday.
The FBI reported in 2016 there were 66 law enforcement officers killed in line-of-duty incidents as a result of felonious acts – this is a staggering 61 percent increase from 2015, when 41 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents.
Also in the report: 118 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2016 – this is a 37 percent increase from 2015, when 86 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents.
Of the officers killed in 2016, 17 were ambushed in premeditated attacks and three were the victims of unprovoked attacks, the report said.
There was a 14 percent increase in the number of officers assaulted, according to the report: 57,180 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults, up from 50,212 officers in 2015.
Sessions said he is glad President Donald J. Trump is on the side of law enforcement officers.
“Fortunately we have a president who understands this,” he said. “President Trump ran for office as a law-and-order candidate; now he is governing as a law-and-order president.
One of the first executive orders signed by the president directed the Department of Justice to work to prevent violence against law enforcement officers, he said.
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Trump Designates Gun Retailers and Manufacturers as Essential Businesses
The guidance throws a wrench in plans to shut down gun stores.
The Department of Homeland Security has designated gun retailers and manufacturers as essential businesses, a major step in protecting the firearms industry from mandatory closures at the behest of state and local governments as a result of states of emergency declarations involving the Chinese coronavirus.
The DHS guidelines describe the following workers as “essential:”
–Workers supporting the manufacturing of safety equipment and uniforms for law enforcement, public safety personnel, and first responders.
–Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.
The guidelines ultimately don’t stop states, counties and municipalities from ordering firearms retailers and manufacturers closed as part of emergency declarations, but Americans reliant on the firearms industry now can cite federal guidelines to make their case that gun stores should remain open.
Gun sales have surged throughout the coronavirus epidemic, as Americans seek to arm themselves in response to what they see as the increasing insecurity of American society during the unprecedented medical epidemic.
Some local governments, perhaps most notably Los Angeles county, have sought to force gun retailers to close. Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva was initially shut down in an attempt to close gun stores, but county authorities later permitted him to order the institutions closed. The state of New Jersey has also ordered the limited number of gun stores in the state closed.
Lawrence Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, had called upon DHS to identify firearms retailers as essential earlier in the month as state and municipal governments began ordering them to close.
“We have seen over the past week hundreds of thousands, even millions of Americans choosing to exercise their right to keep and bear arms to ensure their safety and the safety of loved ones during these uncertain times,” emphasized Keane. “Americans must not be denied the ability to exercise that right to lawfully purchase and acquire firearms during times of emergency”
Shutting down the lawful firearms industry during a national pandemic is actually an efficient way to weaken trust in local authorities, harming their ability to effectively respond to the outbreak of the virus.
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