For Release: Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Findings Decimate False Assertion by Bill Sponsor Steve Knight That Lax Concealed Weapons Laws Have Not Resulted In “Problems or Crimes by Permit Holders”
Washington, DC–Concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least nine law enforcement officers in addition to 108 private citizens (including 13 shooters who killed themselves after an attack) since May 2007 according to the latest monthly update of Concealed Carry Killers, a Violence Policy Center (VPC) on-line resource (http://concealedcarrykillers.org) that tallies news reports of such killings.
This month’s update of the site coincides with a scheduled vote today (January 12) in the California Assembly Committee on Public Safety to establish a “shall issue” concealed handgun system in California that would strip local authorities of their existing discretion to deny concealed weapon permits. The VPC site’s findings decimate the false assertion by bill sponsor Steve Knight on his web site that, “The undisputed facts are that the expanded issuance of concealed weapons around the country has not resulted in problems or crimes by permit holders.” Under California’s current law, an applicant must show “good cause” as to why they should be issued a permit to carry a concealed handgun. AB 357 would eliminate that requirement and compel sheriffs to issue the license if all other mandated criteria are satisfied.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Although Assemblyman Knight may not consider the deaths of nine law enforcement officers a ‘problem,’ I’m sure that most Californians would.”
The ability of law enforcement officials to control who carries concealed handguns is essential for the safety of all Californians. Concealed Carry Killers documents the destruction caused by people licensed to carry handguns in states across the nation. The only incident the VPC identified in California was a 2009 killing allegedly committed by a person licensed to carry a handgun in Georgia who mistakenly believed the permit entitled him to carry his gun in California. The incident occurred outside the P.F. Chang’s in the Beverly Center in Los Angeles when Aubrey Louis Berry allegedly murdered rapper Roderick Burton, who performed as Dolla, as the result of an ongoing dispute that began in Atlanta.
The VPC web site details fatal shootings by concealed handgun permit holders since May 2007 and tracks any reported changes in the legal status of permit holders facing criminal charges. (Any concealed handgun permit holders who are eventually acquitted of their alleged crimes are not included in the tallies maintained on the site although the facts surrounding the shooting are detailed.)
The VPC web site categorizes the 68 incidents, which occurred in 20 states, and offers detailed descriptions of each incident (some incidents may fit into multiple categories). Of these incidents, 13 were murder-suicides involving firearms and 11 were mass shootings (three or more victims) that claimed as many as 11 lives at a time. Law enforcement officers were killed in Alabama, Florida (two incidents), Idaho, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (two incidents). All of the law enforcement killings were committed with guns.
Private citizens were killed in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida (12 incidents), Idaho (two incidents), Kentucky, Michigan (six incidents), Minnesota, New York, North Carolina (five incidents), Ohio (five incidents), Oklahoma (two incidents), Oregon, Pennsylvania (five incidents), South Carolina (two incidents), Tennessee (six incidents), Texas, Utah (four incidents), Virginia (four incidents), and Washington. All but one of the killings were committed with guns.
Because most state systems that allow the carrying of concealed handguns in public by private citizens release little data about crimes committed by permit holders, the VPC reviews and tallies concealed handgun permit holder killings as reported by news outlets. It is likely that the actual number of fatal criminal incidents involving concealed handgun permit holders is far higher.