U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Expand and Nationalize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns Three Days After a Concealed Permit Holder Fires at California Highway Patrol Officers

For Release: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Permit Holders Continue to Kill Innocent Victims, Including 11 Law Enforcement Officers 

Non-Self Defense Deaths Involving Private Citizens Legally Allowed to Carry Concealed Handguns Hit 385 According to VPC’s Concealed Carry Killers Project 

Washington, DC–Today the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill (H.R. 822) to nationalize the carrying of concealed handguns. The vote comes only three days after an emotionally disturbed man with a concealed handgun permit shot at two California Highway Patrol officers, wounding one, near Sacramento. The permit holder was shot and killed by police. Violence Policy Center (VPC) research shows that such incidents are far from unique. Since May 2007 at least 385 people–including 11 law enforcement officers–have been killed in incidents not ruled self-defense involving private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns. Twenty of the incidents were mass shootings that claimed the lives of 89 victims.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Congress has chosen to simply ignore the extreme threat lax concealed handgun laws pose to public safety. While all too many House Members disregard reality in their desperation to carry out the bidding of the gun industry, innocent victims–including law enforcement officers–are paying with their lives.”

The bill (H.R. 822) 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 to murder police officers or commit 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 275 incidents in 32 states. In nearly 80 percent of the incidents (217) the concealed carry killer has already been convicted (79), committed suicide (132), or was killed in the incident (six). Of the 54 cases still pending, the vast majority (44) 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.

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 275 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
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