For Release: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Washington, DC —Individuals legally allowed to carry concealed handguns are responsible for at least 659 non-self defense deaths since 2007, a number that likely represents a fraction of the actual total, according to updated data released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC).
Details can be found in the latest update to Concealed Carry Killers, an online resource that offers examples of non-self defense killings by private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns in public. Overall, Concealed Carry Killers documents 493 incidents in 36 states and the District of Columbia since May 2007, resulting in the deaths of 659 people.
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.
“State laws allowing concealed handguns in public do not make us safer,” states VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann. “Our database shows that individuals legally allowed to carry concealed handguns regularly use their guns in homicides, suicides, and mass shootings. In all likelihood, the fatal incidents we have documented are only a fraction of the total, and they also do not include the frequent non-fatal incidents perpetrated by concealed carry permit holders.”
In the vast majority of the 493 incidents documented (408, or 83 percent), the concealed carry killer either committed suicide (190), has already been convicted (164), perpetrated a murder-suicide (40), or was killed in the incident (14).
Of the 67 cases still pending, the vast majority (58) 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 134 deaths. The database also shows at least 15 law enforcement officers died at the hands of concealed carry killers since May 2007.
The 493 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 493 incidents is available at 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/.
About the Violence Policy Center