Virginia Sheriffs Slain and Wounded in Sniper Attack Were Shot by Concealed Handgun Permit Holder

For Release: Tuesday, March 15, 2011

At Least 11 Law Enforcement Officers Have Been Shot and Killed by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders Since May 2007

Washington, DC–The sniper attack Sunday on Virginia sheriff’s deputies–resulting in the deaths of two officers and the wounding of two others–was committed by a concealed handgun permit holder. The sniper, concealed handgun permit holder Randy Newberry, was later killed by police. The two slain deputies will now become the 10th and 11th law enforcement officers killed by a concealed handgun permit holder since May 2007 according to Concealed Carry Killers (http://concealedcarrykillers.org), a Violence Policy Center database that tracks killings not deemed legitimate self-defense committed by private citizens licensed to or otherwise lawfully allowed to carry concealed handguns (such as in states where permits to carry concealed are not required). Prior to the Virginia shooting, Concealed Carry Killers had identified nine law enforcement officers shot and killed by concealed handgun permit holders.

Newberry was approved three times for a concealed carry permit, a process that includes a background check.

Fatal attacks on law enforcement by concealed handgun permit holders are just a small fraction of the 194 incidents in 29 states involving concealed carry killers that have left 288 people dead since May 2007. In more than two thirds of the incidents (135) the concealed carry killer has already been convicted, committed suicide, or was killed in the incident. Of the 59 cases still pending, the vast majority (49) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide, two were deemed incompetent to stand trial, two incidents were unintentional shootings, and six incidents are still under investigation. However, since 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.

Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “State concealed carry laws were sold to the public as a mechanism to arm citizens to protect public safety and help police. Experience shows that they are nothing more than a mechanism to arm killers. No more police officers should have to pay with their lives for these misguided laws.”

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About the Violence Policy Center
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