As Congress Begins Action on Legislation to Expand and Nationalize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns, Permit Holders Continue to Kill Innocent Victims in Mass Shootings, Murder-Suicides, Arguments, Accidents

For Release: Friday, September 9, 2011

Non-Self Defense Deaths Involving Private Citizens Legally Allowed to Carry Concealed Handguns Hit 381–VPC Concealed Carry Killers September Update 

Washington, DC–As a U.S. House subcommittee prepares to hold a scheduled hearing this coming Tuesday on a bill (H.R. 822) to nationalize the carrying of concealed handguns, Violence Policy Center (VPC) research shows that since May 2007 at least 381 people–including 11 law enforcement officers–have been killed in incidents not ruled self-defense involving private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns. Included in this number are 20 mass shootings–the most recent occurring in July at a child’s birthday party at a Texas roller rink–claiming the lives of 89 innocent victims.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “If this doesn’t qualify as blood in the streets, what does? How many more innocents must pay with their lives for the gun lobby’s failed experiment? And these anecdotal incidents are only the tip of the iceberg since the gun lobby consistently blocks all efforts to collect comprehensive data on crimes committed by permit holders. At the same time, concealed carry proponents can point to no evidence that lax concealed weapons laws offer any measurable benefit to public safety. Meanwhile, individuals licensed to carry concealed handguns are killing police, children, and other innocent victims at an alarming pace. It is simply sheer insanity for Congress to even consider expanding the reach of these lethal laws.”

The bill (H.R. 822), which is being considered by the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, would override the laws of almost every state by forcing each to recognize concealed handgun carry permits from every other state–even if permit holders would not be allowed to carry or even possess a handgun in the state they are visiting. The effect would be to force states with strict permitting standards to recognize permits issued by states with weak standards. In the real world, this would even allow people planning mass shootings to freely travel interstate while armed, with local law enforcement powerless to intervene until the shooting starts.

Since May 2007, the Violence Policy Center’s Concealed Carry Killers on-line resource (http://concealedcarrykillers.org) has documented 271 incidents in 32 states. In nearly 80 percent of the incidents (215) the concealed carry killer has already been convicted (77), committed suicide (132), or was killed in the incident (six). Of the 52 cases still pending, the vast majority (42) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide, three were deemed incompetent to stand trial, and seven incidents are still under investigation. Four incidents were fatal unintentional shootings involving the gun of the concealed handgun permit holder. As noted earlier, 20 of the incidents were mass shootings, resulting in the deaths of 89 victims.

Because most state systems that allow the carrying of concealed handguns in public by private citizens release little data about crimes committed by them, the primary source for Concealed Carry Killers is published news reports. It is likely that the actual number of fatal incidents involving citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns is far higher.

A detailed summary of each of the 271 incidents is available at http://concealedcarrykillers.org, clicking on each category leads to a state-by-state breakout for the incidents with current known status. To review all deaths involving concealed carry killers, click on “Total People Killed by Concealed Carry Killers.”

About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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