Michigan Concealed Handgun Licensees Have Suicide Rate Higher Than General Michigan Population–VPC Concealed Carry Killers November Update

For Release: Tuesday, November 30, 2010

At Least 57 Michigan CCW Holders Have Killed Themselves Since July 2007 

Washington, DC–Michigan concealed handgun license holders commit suicide at a rate higher than the general Michigan population according to the November update to the Violence Policy Center’s (VPC) Concealed Carry Killers, an on-line resource that tallies reports of killings by concealed handgun permit holders that have not been determined to be legitimate self defense. According to the November update, with the new addition of 57 Michigan suicides and six Michigan homicides, nationwide concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 276 individuals–including 83 suicides–since May 2007.

The VPC analyzed data available from the Michigan State Police on suicides by Michigan concealed handgun license holders (Michigan is one of the few states, if not the only, that collects and releases such data on those permitted to carry concealed weapons).

According to information from the Michigan State Police, for the period July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008, 29 of Michigan’s 164,793 concealed handgun license holders took their own lives for a concealed handgun license holder suicide rate of 17.6 per 100,000 license holders. For the period July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009, 28 of Michigan’s 182,749 concealed handgun license holders took their own lives for a concealed handgun license holder suicide rate of 15.3 per 100,000 license holders.

In comparison, in 2007 Michigan’s suicide rate for the general population was 11.3 per 100,000. In 2008, the suicide rate for the general population was 11.7 per 100,000. Only data for each calendar year is available and data for 2009 has not yet been released.

The fact that Michigan concealed handgun license holders have a higher rate of suicide than the general population is even more striking given that Michigan law prohibits the issuance of concealed handgun licenses to persons where the local issuing authority has “probable cause to believe that the applicant would be a threat to himself or herself or to other individuals.” Michigan’s mental health standards for concealed handgun licenses go beyond the federal standards for gun possession. Under federal law, only those persons who have been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or committed to a mental institution are prohibited from possessing firearms.

“Michigan should be applauded for collecting and publishing information on suicides and crimes committed by concealed handgun permit holders–the vast majority of states do not collect this data. Unfortunately, the Michigan statistics provide shocking evidence that far too many suicidal individuals are obtaining concealed carry permits, a fact that disproves the false claims of those who erroneously argued to state legislators that lax concealed carry laws would enhance personal and public safety,” states Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center.

To date Concealed Carry Killers has documented 188 incidents in 28 states resulting in 276 deaths. In more than two-thirds (129 incidents) the concealed handgun permit holder has already been convicted, committed suicide, or was killed in the incident. Of the 59 cases still pending, the vast majority (49) of concealed handgun permit holders have been charged with criminal homicide, two were deemed incompetent to stand trial, two incidents were unintentional shootings, and six incidents are still under investigation.

A summary of each of the 188 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 killings by concealed handgun permit holders, click on “Total People Killed by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders.” While the incident summaries of the few concealed handgun permit holders eventually found not guilty are listed on the site, those numbers are not included in the VPC’s totals.

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 primarily as reported by news outlets. It is likely that the actual number of fatal incidents involving concealed handgun permit holders is far higher.



About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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