Violence Policy Center Says Florida Tops Nation In Killings by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders

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Violence Policy Center Press Release:

Washington, DC--

Concealed handgun permit holders killed eight law enforcement officers and 77 private citizens (including 10 shooters who killed themselves after an attack) during the period May 2007 through October 2009 according to a new Violence Policy Center (VPC) on-line resource that tallies news reports of such killings.

The web site, CCW Killers, is located at and is updated monthly to include new fatal shootings and changes in the legal status of concealed handgun permit holders facing criminal charges. (Any concealed handgun permit holders who are eventually acquitted of their alleged crimes are not included in the tallies maintained on the site although the facts surrounding the shooting are detailed.)

In Florida, concealed handgun permit holders killed 14 people in 11 separate incidents. Two incidents resulted in the alleged murders of two law enforcement officers. On August 19, 2009, Tampa police officer Corporal Mike Roberts questioned Humberto Delgado Jr. who was pushing a shopping cart filled with military gear and firearms, including an assault rifle. After a struggle, Officer Roberts was allegedly gunned down while on his back by Delgado. And on August 5, 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent Donald Pettit was allegedly shot and killed by James Wonder at a post office parking lot after a road rage incident.

Two other Florida incidents involved murder-suicides. One of the most grisly occurred on March 8, 2008, when Christine Burroughs ran to her neighbor's house naked and covered in blood. Her husband, Arthur Burroughs, pursued her, fatally shooting their neighbor, Lance Lather, before shooting his wife and then himself.
(See for detailed descriptions of the incidents.)

“Florida's deeply flawed concealed handgun permit system is an abject failure and urgently needs to be strengthened, if not abolished,” said Scott Vogel, communications director for Freedom States Alliance, a national organization that supports grassroots organizations and advocates working to prevent gun violence, which assisted in releasing today's study. “Florida's failed system allowing the carrying of hidden and loaded handguns in public weakens public safety and threatens police. No other state comes close to the numbers of concealed handgun permit holders involved in lethal shootings.”

The new VPC web site offers detailed descriptions of the 46 incidents, which occurred in 18 states. Of these incidents, 10 were murder-suicides involving firearms and eight were mass shootings (three or more victims) that claimed as many as 11 lives at a time. Law enforcement officers were killed in Florida (two incidents), Idaho, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (two incidents). All of the law enforcement killings were committed with guns.

Private citizens were killed in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida (nine incidents), Idaho (two incidents), Kentucky, Michigan (three incidents), New York, North Carolina (two incidents), Ohio (three incidents), Oklahoma (two incidents), Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina (two incidents), Tennessee (five incidents), Texas, Utah (two incidents), and Virginia (three incidents). All but one of the killings were committed with guns.

Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, states, "This new web site makes clear that contrary to the false promises of the gun lobby the simple and deadly fact is that state concealed handgun systems are arming cop-killers, mass shooters, and other murderers."

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

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