For Release: Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Washington, DC–The conviction of a Massachusetts concealed handgun permit holder who executed his wife in the driveway of their home, a domestic violence offender who sued to get his concealed carry permit reissued and then killed his six-year-old son and himself, and a drug dealer accused of shooting a customer who didn’t pay for three ounces of marijuana are among this month’s updates and additions to Concealed Carry Killers, a Violence Policy Center (VPC) on-line resource that tallies reports of killings by concealed handgun permit holders that have not been determined to be legitimate self defense.
Since May 2007, concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 282 individuals–including nine law enforcement officers–in 193 incidents in 28 states. In more than two-thirds of the incidents (134) the concealed handgun permit holder has already been convicted, committed suicide, or was killed in the incident. Of the 59 cases still pending, the vast majority (47) of concealed handgun permit holders have been charged with criminal homicide, two were deemed incompetent to stand trial, two incidents were unintentional shootings, and eight incidents are still under investigation. Of the 193 incidents, 17 were mass shootings where concealed handgun permit holders claimed the lives of 73 victims.
Commenting on the most recent additions to the Concealed Carry Killers tally, Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand states,“Each month we see a different set of lives destroyed by concealed carry permit holders.”
A summary of each of the 193 incidents is available at http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm, clicking on each category leads to a state-by-state breakout for the incidents with current known status. To review all killings by concealed handgun permit holders, click on “Total People Killed by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders.” While the incident summaries of the few concealed handgun permit holders eventually found not guilty of their charges are listed on the site, those numbers are not included in the VPC’s totals.
New additions and updates for December include:
- In December 2010, Missouri concealed handgun permit holder Clinton Gallagher, 35, shot and killed his six-year-old son Alex and then himself in a murder-suicide. Court documents filed the prior week by Gallagher’s wife revealed that she feared for her son’s life as well as her own. According to news reports, in her filing she expressed concerns about a gun Gallagher owned and requested temporary custody of Alex. She wrote, ‘I’m afraid he will use it on me at this time being that he is in a rage.” In 2009, Gallagher pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge against his wife. As a result, he lost his concealed weapons permit. He then sued the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 2010 to have his permit re-issued and won.
- In December 2010, Florida concealed handgun permit holder and drug dealer Emanuel “Emma” Laboy Rivera, 26, allegedly shot and killed Lekeefe Lee, 25, the result of a drug deal gone bad. According to news reports, Rivera, who dealt drugs out of his home, had agreed to sell Lee three ounces of marijuana for $900. Lee, who had no cash on him, took only two ounces, leaving his .380 handgun with Rivera as collateral. A half hour later Lee returned to Rivera’s home and took his handgun and the remaining ounce of marijuana without paying Rivera. As Lee attempted to leave, Rivera fired his Glock pistol into Lee’s car, hitting and killing him. Because of Florida’s Castle law, which allows the use of lethal force in cases of perceived threat, Rivera was not charged with homicide (even though the law does not apply to a person who is engaged in unlawful activity). Rivera was instead charged with two felony counts of delivery of drugs and use of a gun in the commission of a felony.
- In November 2010, Massachusetts concealed handgun permit holder John Tassinari was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of his wife, whom he shot and killed in the driveway of the couple’s home. “It was an execution,” Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said after the verdict was read. According to the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Barbara Tassinari’s body, the damage was so extensive that it was difficult to tell how many times she’d been shot. “Justice was served, absolutely,” said neighbor Anne Irwin, who had witnessed Barbara Tassinari falling in her driveway, calling her husband a “sick, sick guy.”
Because most state systems that allow the carrying of concealed handguns in public by private citizens release little data about crimes committed by permit holders, the VPC reviews and tallies concealed handgun permit holder killings primarily as reported by news outlets. It is likely that the actual number of fatal incidents involving concealed handgun permit holders is far higher.