Christopher S. Koper

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Christopher S. Koper is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University, and a senior fellow and co-director of the evidence-based policing program in the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. He holds a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland and has over 25 years of experience conducting criminological research at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the University of Pennsylvania, the Urban Institute, the RAND Corporation, the Police Foundation, and other organizations, where he has written and published extensively on issues relating to firearms, policing, research methods, federal crime prevention efforts, juvenile delinquency, and other topics. Dr. Koper is also a former scholar-in-residence of the Firearm and Injury Center at Penn (a center of the University of Pennsylvania Health System).

Previously a research criminologist at the University of Pennsylvania's Jerry Lee Center of Criminology and the Firearm and Injury Center and the Director of Research at the Police Executive Research Forum, Koper specializes in research pertaining to firearms and gun violence, policing, research and statistical methodology, and white-collar crime. Koper has also evaluated federal laws and programs, including the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.


  • Results suggest assault weapons (primarily assault-type rifles) account for 2–12% of guns used in crime in general (most estimates suggest less than 7%) and 13–16% of guns used in murders of police. Assault weapons and other high-capacity semiautomatics together generally account for 22 to 36% of crime guns, with some estimates upwards of 40% for cases involving serious violence including murders of police. Assault weapons and other high-capacity semiautomatics appear to be used in a higher share of firearm mass murders (up to 57% in total), though data on this issue are very limited. Trend analyses also indicate that high-capacity semiautomatics have grown from 33 to 112% as a share of crime guns since the expiration of the federal ban—a trend that has coincided with recent growth in shootings nationwide....
    AW [assault weapon] laws also commonly include restrictions on large-capacity magazines (LCMs), which are typically defined as ammunition feeding devices holding more than ten rounds of ammunition (some laws have higher limits). LCM restrictions are arguably the most important components of AW laws in that they also apply to the larger class of high-capacity semiautomatic firearms without military-style features. In the broadest sense, AW-LCM laws are thus intended to reduce gunshot victimizations by limiting the stock of semiautomatic firearms with large ammunition capacities and other features conducive to criminal use....
    Importantly, trend analyses suggest that LCM firearms have grown substantially as a share of crime guns since the expiration of the federal ban on AWs and LCMs.

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