For Release: Tuesday, January 20, 2010
At Least 51 Innocent People Have Been Killed in Recent Mass Shootings Involving Concealed Handgun Permit Holders
Washington, DC–Christopher Bryan Speight, the 39-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed eight men and women yesterday in Appomattox, Virginia, is at least the 12th person licensed to carry a concealed handgun reported to have committed a mass shooting since May 2007 according to Violence Policy Center (VPC) research. The Associated Press reports that Appomattox County court records show a concealed weapons permit was issued to a Christopher Bryan Speight three times between 1999 and last year. The issue dates in 1999, 2004, and 2009 match the five-year renewal period for concealed handgun permits under Virginia law. The 11 prior mass shootings are detailed on the VPC’s web site, Concealed Carry Killers (http://concealedcarrykillers.org), an on-line resource, updated monthly, that tallies from news reports killings by concealed handgun permit holders. Not including yesterday’s shooting, the web site reports that since May 2007 concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 117 people, including nine law enforcement officers.
Prior to yesterday’s shooting, concealed handgun permit holders had claimed 43 innocent lives in 11 mass shootings since May 2007 (in addition, in six of the incidents, the shooter killed himself). Yesterday’s shooting brings the total number of innocent victims reportedly killed by concealed handgun permit holders in mass shootings during this period to 51. Yesterday’s attack is the second mass shooting in Virginia by a concealed carry permit holder in less than two years. In May 2008, concealed handgun permit holder Aaron Poseidon Jackson, 24, shot and killed his two children, one-year-old Aaron Neptune Jackson and two-year-old Nicole Aaron Jackson, and their mother Latasha Nicole Thomas, before taking his own life. Jackson was wearing body armor and was surrounded by guns and ammunition when police found him dead in their home in the Walt Lou Trailer Park in Falmouth, Virginia. Christopher Bryan Speight was also wearing body armor when he surrendered to police.
In response to this latest tragedy reported to be committed by a concealed handgun permit holder, VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Virginia legislators and Governor McDonnell should make repeal of Virginia’s lax concealed handgun law a priority if they care anything about the safety of Virginians and preventing similar future tragedies. Concealed handgun permit holders don’t prevent mass shootings, they perpetrate them.”
The Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org) is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. The VPC’s Concealed Carry Killers web site is located at http://concealedcarrykillers.org.