For Release: Thursday, October 17, 2019
Washington, DC — Innocent victims continue to die at the hands of private citizens with permits to carry concealed handguns, according to ongoing research from the Violence Policy Center (VPC). Concealed handgun permit holders are responsible for at least 1,335 deaths not involving self defense since 2007, VPC research shows. 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.
Overall, Concealed Carry Killers documents 1,104 fatal, non-self defense incidents since May 2007 in 40 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in the deaths of 1,335 people. Thirty-five of the incidents were fatal mass shootings as defined by federal law (three or more victims killed), resulting in the deaths of 167 victims. At least 24 law enforcement officers have died at the hands of concealed carry killers since May 2007.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Concealed carry killers continue to claim innocent lives at a shocking pace. At the same time, research shows that states with lax concealed carry laws have higher rates of violent crime. Contrary to the false claims made by the gun lobby, allowing random people to carry guns endangers public safety.”
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 along with the limited information collected by a few states. Hence, they likely represent a small fraction of actual events. 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.
In the vast majority of the 1,104 incidents documented in Concealed Carry Killers (995, or 90 percent), the concealed carry permit holder either committed suicide (534), has already been convicted (379), perpetrated a murder-suicide (62), or was killed in the incident (20). Of the 72 cases still pending, the vast majority (59) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide, four were deemed incompetent to stand trial, and nine incidents are still under investigation. An additional 37 incidents were fatal unintentional shootings involving the gun of the concealed handgun permit holder.
Concealed Carry Killers includes detailed narratives for the majority of the 1,104 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.
Below is a chart showing the status of all concealed carry killers since May 2007:
The findings of Concealed Carry Killers are consistent with the latest academic research, which shows that state laws allowing concealed handguns in public do not increase public safety — in fact, they do the opposite. A 2017 study from Stanford University concludes that state concealed carry laws are linked to an increase in violent crime.
And the July 2019 VPC study, Firearm Justifiable Homicides and Non-Fatal Self-Defense Gun Use, shows it is extremely rare for private citizens to use guns in justifiable homicides. The study found that in 2016, there were only 274 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm. That same year, there were 10,341 criminal firearm homicides, based on data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s Supplementary Homicide Report.
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.”