For Release: April 15, 2016
Washington, DC — Concealed handgun permit holders are responsible for at least 873 deaths not involving self defense since 2007, including 29 mass shootings that killed 139 people, ongoing VPC research shows. Since there is no comprehensive recordkeeping of fatal incidents involving concealed carry permit holders, this tally most likely represents a small fraction of the actual total.
Details on these fatal incidents can be found on Concealed Carry Killers (concealedcarrykillers.org), an online VPC 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 and is updated on a continuing basis.
Examples of recent fatal, non-self defense incidents involving concealed handgun permit holders include:
• On February 21 in Hartsville, Indiana, concealed handgun permit holder James Lonaker was unintentionally shot and killed by his six-year-old son, who had picked up the permit holder’s revolver that had been left on a table.
• On March 10, at the Cummins Seymour Engine plant in Seymour, Indiana, concealed handgun permit holder Qing Chen shot and killed his supervisor before turning the 9mm Glock pistol on himself in a murder-suicide.
• On March 24, concealed handgun permit holder Frank Staton allegedly shot and killed two housekeepers, one of whom he reportedly lived with, at an assisted living facility in northeast Ohio before attempting to kill himself.
Overall, Concealed Carry Killers documents 684 fatal, non-self defense incidents since May 2007 in 41 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in the deaths of 873 people. Twenty-nine of the incidents were mass shootings as defined by federal law (three or more victims), resulting in the deaths of 139 victims. At least 17 law enforcement officers have died at the hands of concealed carry killers since May 2007.
“The NRA’s claim that concealed handgun permit holders pose no threat to the public has no basis in fact,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “It is extremely rare for private citizens to use their guns in self-defense. Our research shows that all too often, the guns of these so-called ‘good guys with guns’ are used in homicides, suicides, and fatal unintentional shootings.”
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 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 684 incidents documented in Concealed Carry Killers (585, or 86 percent), the concealed carry permit holder either committed suicide (293), has already been convicted (222), perpetrated a murder-suicide (53), or was killed in the incident (17). Of the 74 cases currently pending, the vast majority (64) 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 25 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 684 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 2014 study from Stanford University concludes that state concealed carry laws actually lead to an increase in violent crime.
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.”