Gun Violence Reduction is a Shared Responsibility

Gun Violence Reduction is a Shared Responsibility


Gun Violence Reduction is a Shared Responsibility

Submitted by: Board of Directors



WHERAS, in 2020 the United States experienced the biggest rise in murder since the start of national record-keeping in 1960, according to data gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for its annual report on crime; and,

WHEREAS, in 2020, the firearm homicide rate in the United States increased nearly 35%, which is the highest increase in more than 25 years, according to data gathered by the FBI; and,

WHEREAS, about 77 percent of reported murders in 2020 were committed with a firearm, the highest share ever reported, up from 67 percent a decade ago[1]; and,

WHEREAS, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), gunfire is the leading cause of death of children and adolescents in the United States; and,

WHEREAS, each year thousands of guns reach the hands of juveniles and criminals by thefts from unlocked vehicles or because they are unsecured in a home; and,  

WHEREAS, guns left unsecured in motor vehicles, sometimes in unlocked vehicles and sometimes left in open view, are the most common source of crime guns.

WHEREAS, gun thefts from cars divert guns away from the legal market, making them particularly dangerous and hard to track.

WHEREAS, a decade ago, less than a quarter of guns thefts were from cars; in 2020, over half were, according to an analysis of FBI NIBRS data, 2011–2020.  

WHEREAS, there are approximately 250,000 gun theft incidents per year, with about 380,000 guns stolen, according to a study published in the Injury Epidemiol Journal[2].

WHEREAS, unsecured firearms in homes can lead to theft or increase the chance of accidental discharge or suicide; and,  

WHEREAS, there also actions that must be taken by the criminal justice system; and,  

WHEREAS, IACP members have expressed concern over the decisions made by some prosecutors to enact blanket policies that dictate that they will not prosecute certain categories of crimes or take a non-enforcement approach to the laws enacted; and,

WHEREAS, experience has shown that prosecutorial and judicial discretion is an important tenet of the justice system, however, there needs to be alignment between the police and prosecutors to ensure agreement on the enforcement and prosecution of offenses to promote the safety of our communities, and,

WHEREAS, this alignment is particularly important when it comes to firearms, because it is imperative that the first crime committed by offenders has severe repercussions and the criminal justice system does not wait for second or third offenses, now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, the IACP believes that both the public and criminal justice system have a shared responsibility, and opportunity, to reduce violent crime, specific to firearms; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that firearm owners have a responsibility to secure their firearms and keep them under lock and key; and be it,

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), has also been encouraging officers to safely secure their firearms through our recent campaign called, “Right to Carry, Duty to Secure.”; and, 

FURTHER RESOLVED, the IACP urges all prosecutors to make every effort to aggressively prosecute firearms violations and ensure that their policies properly prioritize the removal of dangerous criminals from our communities.


[1] Jeff Asher, "Murder Rose by Almost 30% in 2020. It's Rising at a Slower Rate in 2021," New York Times, updated November 15, 2021.

[2] Hemenway, D., Azrael, D. & Miller, M. Whose guns are stolen? The epidemiology of Gun theft victims. Inj. Epidemiol. 4, 11 (2017).

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