New gun laws urged in wake of officer murder

May 5, 2008 1:28:26 PM PDT
Gov. Ed Rendell took the occasion of a memorial service for Pennsylvania police officers who have died in the line of duty to urge lawmakers to enact gun control laws that he believes would give greater protection to law enforcement.

Rendell spoke Monday of the upcoming funeral of Philadelphia police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, who on Saturday became the latest of more than 700 officers to die in the line of duty in Pennsylvania. Liczbinski was shot with an assault rifle while responding to a bank robbery.

"I'll tell his wife and three children how sorry I am, and nothing changes," Rendell said.

"If you really want to pay honor and tribute to the memory of those 703 police officers who have given their lives, we will suck it in, do the right thing and pass laws that will give our police officers out in the street - protecting us every day - the maximum amount of protection we can," he said.

Rendell said 319 police officers in Pennsylvania were assaulted with firearms last year, and 12 of those assaults resulted in death or injury.

His remarks outside the state Capitol came during the 15th annual memorial service of the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police. This year's event honored four officers, including three who died last year.

FOP state lodge president Mark Koch told family members their loved ones would be remembered.

"Just as you shall ever remember them, we join with you and shall ever remember their dedication to duty, bravery and ultimate sacrifice," he said.

The honorees were Trooper Scott Ball, 38, who died in August while serving with the National Guard in Afghanistan; Philadelphia Officer Walter Barclay, 64, who died in August from an infection the medical examiner linked to gunshot wounds he suffered in 1966; Philadelphia Officer Chuck Cassidy, 54, shot in October when he encountered a doughnut shop robbery; and Upper Chichester Township Officer Jorgen Holand, 56, whose death in July 1998 - nine months after he sustained facial injuries in an assault - had not previously received FOP memorial recognition.


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