Unarmed Teen Trayvon Martin One of More Than 400 Victims of “Concealed Carry Killers” since May 2007

For Release: Thursday, March 22, 2012

U.S. Senate May Soon Consider Legislation to Allow Trayvon Martin’s Killer and Other Concealed Carry Permit Holders to Carry Their Guns Nationwide

Washington, DC–The deadly shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is unfortunately only one example of at least 402 victims killed in 32 states since May 2007 in incidents involving private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns according to the March update of the Violence Policy Center’s (VPC) Concealed Carry Killers on-line resource (http://concealedcarrykillers.org).

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin is the result of Florida’s lax gun laws that allow virtually anyone to carry a concealed loaded handgun in public. While Florida’s ‘Shoot First’ law is the reason that George Zimmerman has not been arrested, it’s Florida’s concealed carry law that enabled Zimmerman to confront Trayvon Martin with a loaded handgun in the first place. Without Florida’s lax concealed carry law Trayvon Martin would be alive today. Across America, hundreds of innocent lives and families have been decimated, their communities shaken, by concealed carry killers who acted as judge, jury, and executioner.”

Despite the national outrage over the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Congress may soon act on legislation that would actually expand the ability of people like George Zimmerman to carry their guns to virtually every state. Two bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 2188 and S. 2213) that would significantly expand the ability of George Zimmerman–whose concealed carry permit is still valid–and all other concealed carry permit holders to carry their loaded handguns nationwide. The bills would force all states that issue concealed carry permits to recognize all out-of-state permits, even if the person could not qualify for a permit in that state. The result would be that states such as New York and California that tightly regulate who can carry a gun would be forced to allow people with concealed carry permits issued by Florida and other states with lax laws to carry their guns into their states. Similar legislation (H.R. 822) passed the U.S. House in November 2011.

The Violence Policy Center has been tracking shootings since May 2007 in which private citizens use their legal handguns to kill in non-self defense incidents. The Violence Policy Center’s Concealed Carry Killers database documents 290 incidents in 32 states. In more than three quarters of the incidents (223) the concealed carry killer has already been convicted (83), committed suicide (134), or was killed in the incident (six). Of the 58 cases still pending, the vast majority (48) 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 nine incidents were fatal unintentional shootings involving the gun of the concealed handgun permit holder. Eleven of the victims were law enforcement officers. Twenty of the incidents were mass shootings, resulting in the deaths of 89 victims. 

These killings, however, likely represent only a small percentage of the actual number of deaths caused by private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns because most state systems release little data about crimes committed by them. The primary source for Concealed Carry Killers is published news reports.

A detailed summary of each of the 290 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 deaths involving concealed carry killers, click on “Total People Killed by Concealed Carry Killers.”

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.

Media Contact:
Georgia Seltzer
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