For Release: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Wisconsin Concealed Carry Proponents Ignore Bloody Record of Police Deaths, Mass Shootings, and Attempted Political Assassination
Washington, DC–While Wisconsin concealed carry proponents promise that proposed legislation allowing the carrying of loaded concealed handguns in the state will increase public safety and aid law enforcement, since May 2007 at least 300 people–including 11 law enforcement officers–have been killed by private citizens legally allowed to carry handguns in killings not ruled self-defense according to Concealed Carry Killers, an on-line resource (http://concealedcarrykillers.org) from the Washington, DC-based Violence Policy Center (VPC). These numbers, which are updated monthly, do not include any killings determined to be lawful self-defense.
These killings include not only the deaths of 11 law enforcement officers–most recently two Virginia sheriff’s deputies were slain in March by a concealed handgun permit holder–but also 18 mass shootings where private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns have taken, or have been charged with taking, the lives of 79 innocent victims. In all except one incident–Jared Loughner’s January mass shooting in Tucson (in Arizona legal gun owners can carry concealed handguns without a permit) that left six dead and 13 injured, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords–the killer had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Wisconsin also experienced a “permitless carry” shooting when “open carry” advocate Jesus Gonzalez shot two men, killing one and paralyzing the other, in an altercation in May 2010. Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the “open carry” movement, has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the case.
Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Like every state before it, Wisconsin concealed carry proponents will promise that permit holders commit no crimes, prevent mass shootings, and aid law enforcement. These claims have been road-tested in numerous states and proven demonstrably false. Concealed carry permit holders don’t prevent mass shootings, they perpetrate them. They don’t support police, they shoot them. Any Wisconsin legislator or citizen concerned with public safety should reject the dishonest and self-serving arguments peddled by concealed carry proponents.”
Wisconsin-based WAVE Educational Fund Executive Director Jeri Bonavia adds, “This report clearly and indisputably proves false the gun lobby’s claim that Wisconsin families would be safer if more people are carrying guns in public. More people carrying more guns will only lead to more tragedies.”
The Violence Policy Center’s Concealed Carry Killers database documents 205 incidents in 30 states since May 2007. In nearly three quarters of the incidents (152) the concealed carry killer has already been convicted (65), committed suicide (84), or was killed in the incident (three). Of the 53 cases still pending, the vast majority (41) of concealed carry killers have been charged with criminal homicide, two were deemed incompetent to stand trial, three incidents were unintentional shootings involving the gun of the concealed permit holder, and six incidents are still under investigation.
Because 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.
A detailed summary of each of the 205 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 by concealed carry killers, click on “Total People Killed by Concealed Carry Killers.” While the incident summaries of the few concealed carry killers who were found not guilty or were eventually not charged are listed on the site, those numbers are not included in the Violence Policy Center’s totals.