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Brady Calls for Attention to Extremism, Ghost Guns, Following Charges in the Murders of Two Officers in California

Washington, D.C., June 17, 2020 – Today, Brady calls for renewed attention to the proliferation of ghost guns and extremist, vigilante ideology, following charges brought in federal court against a shooter in California who murdered two law enforcement officers in the past two weeks. The charges name the shooter in connection to the murders of Federal Protective Service officer Dave Underwood and Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. Federal authorities cite the weapon used as a ghost gun and note that the shooter has a connection to the nebulous ‘Boogaloo’ movement, which centers extremist ideology on guns and violence.

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“Today’s news clearly shows us the dangerous intersection of untraceable weapons and extremism. That this dangerous individual, motivated by an opaque, violence-minded ideology, was able to murder two officers with a self-constructed and untraceable weapon underscores the threat that ghost guns pose to law enforcement and all of our communities. We have seen the rise of hateful ideology of many kinds in recent years, many of which purport a twisted union between armed militarism and insurrectionism. There is no place for this hate in our society. And, we know that access to firearms turns hateful rhetoric deadly.”

Brady Program Manager Steve Lindley, the former Chief of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms, shared:

Ghost guns pose a unique threat to our communities and law enforcement. They are weapons of choice for criminals, a truth that we sadly see in this case. These weapons undermine the many public safety laws that states have worked hard to pass. Laws with overwhelming public support, such as background checks, that help to keep communities and law enforcement safe. It is worrisome that extremist elements have clearly found these weapons of interest for their purposes, as well.”

Today’s action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California charges that the shooter in this case murdered Federal Protective Service officer Dave Underwood and Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller in two separate attacks. The complaint also cites the shooter’s attempted murder of additional law enforcement officers in both attacks. The shooter had targeted law enforcement in both instances and evidence found at his arrest connects him with the ‘Boogaloo’ movement, which calls for a second civil war.

The shooter was arrested in connection with the killing of Sgt. Gutzwiller, when federal and state law enforcement connected the weapon used in that shooting, an AR-15-style rifle that federal officials named as a ghost gun, with the murder of Officer Underwood a week prior. The shooter killed Officer Underwood on May 29 during a protest. The shooter’s actions were unrelated to the protest.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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