For Release: Thursday, December 11, 2014
Washington, DC — The Violence Policy Center has documented at least 506 fatal non-self defense incidents since 2007 resulting from private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns, and this number almost certainly represents a fraction of the actual total.
Today, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) released the latest update to Concealed Carry Killers, an online resource that provides examples of non-self defense killings by private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns in public. Overall, Concealed Carry Killers documents 506 incidents since May 2007 in 36 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in the deaths of 679 people.
This information also comes as the latest academic research shows that state laws allowing concealed handguns in public do not protect public safety — in fact, they do the opposite. A recent study from Stanford University concludes that state concealed carry laws actually lead to an increase in violent crime.
“Innocent people — including children — are being gunned down by legal gun carriers at an alarming rate. At the same time, there is no evidence that people carrying concealed guns are making our communities safer,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand.
One of the recently convicted concealed carry killers was National Rifle Association lifetime member William Sherwood, who shot and killed a fellow motorist following a traffic accident in Melbourne, Florida. Sherwood was found guilty of second degree murder on September 17, 2014. He faces a minimum of 25 years in prison and could receive up to a life sentence.
Full details on this incident and others are available on Concealed Carry Killers. The online resource includes detailed information (primarily from news reports) for the majority of the 506 incidents, organized by state, including (if available) the age of the perpetrator and the victim(s), the weapon used, the relationship(s) of those involved in the killing, and motives for the killing when stated.
Because there is no comprehensive recordkeeping of deaths involving concealed handgun permit holders and many states in fact bar the release of such information, the examples on the Concealed Carry Killers website are taken primarily from news reports and most likely represent a fraction of actual events.
In the vast majority of the 506 incidents documented (419, or 83 percent), the concealed carry killer either committed suicide (190), has already been convicted (170), perpetrated a murder-suicide (43), or was killed in the incident (16).
Of the 69 cases still pending, the vast majority (60) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide. Five were deemed incompetent to stand trial, and four incidents are still under investigation. An additional 18 incidents were fatal unintentional shootings involving the gun of the concealed handgun permit holder.
Twenty-nine of the incidents were mass shootings (3 or more victims), resulting in the deaths of 134 victims. The database also shows at least 17 law enforcement officers died at the hands of concealed carry killers since May 2007.
Below is a chart showing the status of all concealed carry killers since May 2007:
The 506 incidents do not include any that were ruled as self-defense. Only 15 of the hundreds of examples tallied in Concealed Carry Killers were eventually deemed lawful self-defense. Such cases are then removed from the site’s ongoing totals.
A detailed summary of each of the 506 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.” To view a list of incidents organized by state, visit http://concealedcarrykillers.org/state-by-state-fatality-information/.