For Release: Thursday, July 23, 2015
Washington, DC — Research by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) has found that individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns in public are responsible for at least 568 fatal non-self defense incidents since 2007, a number that likely represents a fraction of the actual total.
Details on these fatal incidents can be found on Concealed Carry Killers (concealedcarrykillers.org), an online resource that provides examples of non-self defense killings involving private citizens with permits to carry concealed handguns in public. Information on these incidents is organized by state.
Overall, Concealed Carry Killers documents 568 fatal incidents since May 2007 in 36 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in the deaths of 750 people. Twenty-nine of the incidents were mass shootings (three or more victims), resulting in the deaths of 139 victims. At least 17 law enforcement officers died at the hands of concealed carry killers since May 2007.
“Contrary to NRA and gun industry propaganda, these incidents show that all too often, concealed handgun permit holders end up fatally shooting others or themselves,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “Unfortunately, there are tragic, real-world consequences when lax state laws allow virtually anyone to carry a concealed handgun in public.”
In the vast majority of the 568 incidents documented (481, or 85 percent), the concealed carry permit holder either committed suicide (222), has already been convicted (196), perpetrated a murder-suicide (46), or was killed in the incident (17). Of the 67 cases still pending, the majority (57) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide, four were deemed incompetent to stand trial, and six incidents are still under investigation. An additional 20 incidents were fatal unintentional shootings involving the gun of the concealed handgun permit holder.
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 Concealed Carry Killers are taken primarily from news reports and most likely represent a fraction of actual events.
Concealed Carry Killers includes detailed information for the majority of the 568 incidents, 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.
Concealed Carry Killers does not include the small number of incidents that are eventually determined to involve self-defense or where no verdict is reached at trial. All such incidents are removed from the database’s ongoing totals.
Below is a chart showing the status of all concealed carry killers since May 2007:
Additional information, including a state-by-state breakdown of fatal incidents involving concealed carry killers, is available at concealedcarrykillers.org. To review all deaths involving concealed carry killers, click on “Total People Killed by Concealed Carry Killers.”