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Everytown and Nebraska Moms Demand Action Statement on Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco Killed with Illegal Gun from Georgia

July 8, 2015

Gun Used To Kill Officer Sold By Same Georgia Pawn Shop That Sold Gun Used to Kill Two NYPD Officers in December 2014

OMAHA, Neb. — Following recent reports that Omaha police officer Kerrie Orozco was killed with a gun bought in a straw purchase from a Jonesboro, Georgia, pawnshop—the same pawnshop responsible for selling a gun that killed two New York City police officers in December 2014— the Nebraska chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement from volunteer Chapter Leader Jan Hobbs:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and colleagues of officer Kerrie Orozco again today. It is unacceptable that once again, a police officer has been killed with an illegal gun from Georgia – a state that last year catered to the gun lobby’s agenda by weakening its already lax gun laws. These are the same laws that the gun lobby is now trying to force on other states nationwide. We must decide what kind of Nebraska communities we want for our children and families. It’s long past time for common-sense solutions to our country’s gun violence epidemic.”

Additional Information on the Shooting of Omaha Officer Kerrie Orozco:

Shooting Facts

The Incident

  • During an arrest attempt on May 20, 2015, Marcus Wheeler, 26, shot and killed Omaha police officer Kerrie Orozco, 29, before being shot and killed himself by another police officer.
  • Orozco was part of a fugitive task force looking for Wheeler to serve a felony arrest warrant. Wheeler opened fire on the officers with a semi-automatic handgun as they approached him, hitting Orozco.
  • Officers fired back, and Wheeler was later found behind a house suffering from gunshot wounds, according to a police statement. He was transported to a hospital and died later that day.
  • In addition to being wanted on a felony warrant related to a September 2014 shooting, in 2008 Wheeler had previously spent five years in federal prison for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, prohibiting him from possessing firearms.

The Firearm Used in the Shooting

  • Federal agents have identified the woman who purchased the firearm that Wheeler used to fatally shoot Orozco as Jalita Johnson, 26, of Jonesboro, Georgia.
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms traced the gun to her. She is accused of buying the gun at a pawnshop in Georgia for her boyfriend, Marcus Wheeler, the gunman.
  • The pawnshop where Johnson bought the gun — the Arrowhead Pawn Shop of Jonesboro, Georgia, outside Atlanta — is the same shop responsible for selling the gun used to kill two New York City police Officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, in December 2014.

    Georgia is a top crime gun exporter.

    A disproportionate number of guns purchased in Georgia are recovered at crime scenes in other states.

    Dangerous loopholes in state and federal law allow guns to end up in dangerous hands.

    • Georgia does not require criminal background checks on all gun sales. Felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people can buy guns from unlicensed sellers—including strangers they meet online—with no background check, no questions asked.
    • States, like Georgia, that have not taken steps to close the background check loophole, export crime guns at a rate 2.5 times greater than states that have made efforts to close this dangerous gap.
    • Of fatal shootings of law enforcement personnel in 2013 where the shooter was known, over one-half were committed by people prohibited from possessing guns.
    • Georgia does not require reporting of stolen guns and prohibits local governments from doing so. Georgia law prohibits local governments from requiring lost and stolen guns to be reported to authorities, enabling a lucrative market for “straw purchasers” – individuals who buy guns legally, sell them to criminals, and later claim that the guns were lost or stolen.
    • States, like Georgia, that do not require reporting of lost or stolen firearms, export crime guns at a rate 2.5 times greater than states that do have this requirement.
    • Federal law prohibits the ATF from requiring gun dealers to inventory their firearms. Since 2004, an appropriations rider has blocked the ATF from requiring gun dealers to inventory their firearms. Routine physical inventories allow dealers to more quickly detect lost and stolen guns; the lack of an inventory requirement blocks law enforcement investigations and creates a loophole exploited by corrupt dealers.

    Policy changes can reduce the flow of guns into dangerous hands.

    • Requiring criminal background checks on all Georgia gun sales would keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people.
    • Requiring reporting of stolen guns, or allowing local governments to require reporting of stolen guns, would weed out the straw purchasers who profit from putting guns into dangerous hands.
    • Repealing the federal inventory rider would allow ATF to crack down on careless and corrupt gun dealers, and reduce the flow of lost and stolen guns into dangerous hands.

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