For Release: Thursday, August 6, 2009
At Least 26 People Have Been Killed in Recent Mass Shootings Committed by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders
Washington, DC–George Sodini, the man who opened fire on Tuesday at a Pittsburgh health club killing three women and wounding nine others–including the pregnant fitness instructor–before turning a gun on himself, is at least the sixth person licensed to carry a concealed handgun to commit a mass shooting since May 2007, according to Violence Policy Center (VPC) research. According to the Allegheny County Police as reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Sodini had a permit to carry weapons.
These six mass shootings by known concealed handgun permit holders have claimed 26 innocent lives. An additional 16 people were injured. In three of the incidents, including the most recent Pittsburgh shooting, the shooter took his own life. One of the incidents–which also occurred in Pittsburgh–claimed the lives of three law enforcement officers.
“Concealed handgun permits were promoted by the gun lobby as a mechanism to arm ‘law abiding’ citizens who, in theory, would prevent mass shootings. Instead, the hard facts demonstrate that concealed handgun permit holders don’t prevent mass shootings, they perpetrate them,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center.
The Pittsburgh mass shooting comes on the heels of the U.S. Senate’s rejection on July 22nd of a gun lobby amendment to create a nationalized concealed handgun permit system. The amendment, sponsored by Senator John Thune (R-SD), would have forced states that issue concealed handgun permits to recognize permits issued by any other state. In this case, it would have allowed Sodini to carry his concealed handgun, and commit his mass murder, in any of the other 47 states that issue concealed carry permits–without any regard for the much tougher standards for permit issuance that many states, such as New York and California, have in place.
“This has reached the level of madness,” adds Rand, “states run bureaucracies to give out permits to people who commit mass shootings–how is that rational, much less good public policy? This Pittsburgh incident alone should supply the impetus for states to repeal these dangerous laws.”