How Could He Have Strangled Her Without a Permit to Carry a Handgun?


In an effort to rebut the idea that allowing law-abiding Americans to carry handguns in public helps prevent crime, the Violence Policy Center has begun compiling a list of homicides committed by people with carry permits. "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," it says, based on news reports. "Contrary to the false promises of the gun lobby," says VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, "the simple and deadly fact is that state concealed handgun systems are arming cop-killers, mass shooters, and other murderers."

Sugarmann says VPC may be missing some killers who had carry permits because it is relying on press accounts that do not necessarily note that detail. But even if the total number of homicides by permit holders is twice the number tallied by VPC, the rate is remarkably low. Thirty-nine states have "shall issue" permit policies, meaning they allow anyone who meets a set of objective criteria (such as a clean record and completion of firearms training) to carry a gun. Not all of them report the number of permits they issue, but Florida alone has more than 1.5 million permit holders, so there are several million nationwide. Seventy-five homicides (leaving out the suicides that VPC includes) over a period of more than two years in a population that size does not seem like a lot. Let's say there are a total of 5 million permit holders in the U.S. (a conservative estimate), and let's say the actual number of homicides is 150, or twice the VPC's count. That's roughly 75 a year, or 0.00002 homicide per permit holder. If you divide the total number of gun homicides in 2006 (12,800) by the entire adult population of the U.S., you get 0.00006, which suggests that permit holders commit homicide at a rate far below average (not terribly surprising, since people with criminal records can't get carry permits).

The other major problem with the VPC's list is that it includes crimes where having a permit to carry a handgun did not make a difference, such as Michael McLendon's shooting spree in Alabama last March. McLendon used rifles to kill 10 people, not a handgun, let alone one for which he had a carry permit. Even when mass murderers use handguns, the notion that they would not dare take them out in public without a carry permit is risible. So it's incorrect to say, as Sugarmann does, that "concealed handgun systems are arming cop-killers, mass shooters, and other murderers." All a permit does is make it possible to legally carry a handgun in public; when that ability does not matter—whether because the crime does not involve a handgun, does not occur in public, or is committed by someone who leaves home intent on murder—it hardly makes sense to blame the permit. The VPC list also includes an on-duty shooting by a security guard, a murder committed in the killer's home, and a murder by strangulation. If VPC's aim is to show that allowing people to carry handguns in public is a bad policy because it creates new hazards, such examples (unlike, say, a public argument involving a permit holder that ends in a deadly shooting) are irrelevant.

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  1. The Texas statistics on crimes by CHL holders handily include a comparison with the crime rate in the general population. In almost all instances, the crime rates by CHL holders are far, far lower.

  2. “The other major problem with the VPC’s list is that it includes crimes where having a permit to carry a handgun did not make a differenc”

    It doesn’t just “include crimes where having a permit to carry a handgun did not make a difference”. It is comprised entirely of those cases. If you want to kill someone, you are not going to let the lack of a permit stop you.

  3. BTW, here’s the stats since Texas began issuing CHLs.

  4. I always try to get a permit before committing mass murder.

    1. Quiet or it is back to the lion’s den for you!

  5. If VPC’s aim is to show that allowing people to carry handguns in public is a bad policy because it creates new hazards,

    It isn’t.

    It’s to provite a quick “cite” for fellow liars, and to diffuse the greater time and effort of the honest who have to rebut it over and over again.

    It’ll work. It’s working. You wrote this post.

  6. I noticed the VPC left off its list the New Life Church shooting in December 9, 2007. In that incident CHL Jeanne Assam shot an active shooter who had already murdered four people and wounded two. She’s credited with saving 50 to 100 lives.

    That one CHL incident balances the VPC books.

  7. I’m amazed anybody can fall for crap like this study

    well… not that amazed

  8. This makes no sense. The argument that permits help reduce gun violence isn’t based on the idea that people with permits are less likely to kill. It is based on the truth that somebody with a permit will shoot the killer.

    I understand why a disingenuous opinion source would want to fudge the facts. But how do people not realize this?

  9. Would you be happier, Josh, if they was pushed out of windows?

    1. No, I’d be happier if concealed carry permits caused blood to routinely flow in gutters. The fact that they don’t forces me to punt with bullshit like this, which really doesn’t make me as happy as I’d like to be.

    2. “They was”? Seriously?

      1. Stifle yourself, meathead.

    3. You know it isn’t considered sporting to shoot them on the ground.

      Given the horrible aerodynamics of most people, pushing them out the window is the only way to take them on the wing like a true sportsman.

      1. I would think that a trebuchet would make a wonderful human-skeet launcher.

  10. Indeed, the only case where the CCL would make a difference is where a cop stopped the killer just prior to the murder(s), searched the killer, found the weapon, but let him go because of the CCL. Unless I’m missing something, that is the only possible scenario where a CCL could lead to more murders than would otherwise happen.

    Of course, if it ever does, I expect Josh to have a press release before the bodies are cold.

    1. I think the argument would include “heat of the moment” murders where the person isn’t likely to have had a gun without the permit, i.e., an otherwise law abiding person who became enraged and killed somebody.

      1. I have to wait three days before picking up my gun? But I’m angry now!

  11. The anti-gunners are really getting desperate. It’s actually pretty funny to watch. You have to be an inveterate moron to fall for this argument.

    They’ve lost, and lost HARD, and it’s wonderful to see.

    1. Too bad they have so many ignorant followers, like the idiot I had to endure earlier this week. He’s an Engineer with a major government contractor on some otherwise pretty advanced technology.

      He was going on and on about how it is good that Virginia “lets” people carry handguns in the open.

      I mentioned their stupid concealed carry requirements, and I had my license from another state (that VA recognizes).

      The jackass goes on and on about how good it is that you have to demonstrate proficiency before you can carry a pistol in VA.

      Me: “What? You don’t have to do that to carry, just to carry concealed.”

      Him: “No, you have to go through some sort of test to carry.”

      Me: “No, let’s back up. You were just saying how cool it was that VA lets people carry, as if you knew something about this stuff.”

      Him: “I do, you need to take a test before you can carry.”


      Him: “Then what do you do to own a registered gun?”

      Me: (getting a little more pissed off than I should be after 3 oz. of beer) “JESUS CHRIST! You fill out the forms, they do your background check, you pay for the fucking gun and walk out of the store. You can wear it open if you don’t want to get a CCP.”

      Him: “No way. That’s just wrong. They need to start testing, like they do for a driver’s license.”

      Episiarch, there are legions of these people.

      1. Misworded up there. You don’t need to register regular-old-guns in VA either.

  12. “Contrary to the false promises of the gun lobby,” says VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, “the simple and deadly fact is that state concealed handgun systems are arming cop-killers, mass shooters, and other murderers.”


    That’s some pretty impressive leaping.

    1. Gives a whole new dimension to the concept “non sequitur”, doesn’t it?

    2. Josh has just about perfected the quantum lie.

  13. Would you be happier, Josh, if they was pushed out of windows?


  14. Yes, the article had no credibility whatsoever. The period covered was actually 2-1/2 years by the way. According to the information the article supplied; .0014% of the gun related homicides in America were by permit holders.

    This is the loud mouthed dishonesty of the anti-gun lobby, in a last ditch, against the wall effort to thwart honest citizens and enable criminals.

  15. I wonder how many of the cop killing were under circumstances where the cops were barging in like group of brown-shirted thugs that they are prone to do. If the pigs were acting…like… well pigs… then I’d say that their death is a tragedy that that the pigs brought on themselves.

  16. If the pigs were acting…like… well pigs… then I’d say that their death is a tragedy that that the pigs brought on themselves.
    I would not call it a tragedy.

  17. A few years ago, this would have got my blood up… but I’ve proven that gun controllers will just flat out lie to support their position. So a dubious use of statistics is actually an improvement.

  18. It’s nice to see libertarians showing their true colors here. Minimizing the deaths of women and children as mere statistics, just because you have to compensate for your shrunken penes by playing with phallic killer toys.

    1. 7.5 out of 10

      Not bad.

    2. Pretty good, but you should have thrown in some of the false tropes that anti-gunners constantly throw out. Work a little harder and you could be a star, torpid!

    3. No mention of the corporate greed that drives our gun[nut] culture?

    4. And make sure to mention that we’re Republicans who smoke pot.

    5. Emotional appeals and an obsession with penis, now all you got to do is throw in a long debunked study for your anti-gun troll to be complete.

        1. Nah, even the Brady Bunch is smart enough to avoid Bellesiles. The Kellerman study was my main thought when typing that.

    6. “Penes”? Seriously?

      1. It’s Catalan. It means penalties.

        True story.

    7. torpid,

      you know nothing of my work.

    8. If you think ignoring tens of deaths each year is evil, you haven’t heard anything yet: those bastard libertarians ignore tens of *thousands* of deaths each year, of women, children, old ladies who will now never see their baby grandkids grow up, and baby grandkids who will never get to grow up!

      And yet *still* the libertarian monsters won’t support banning cars!?! How can anyone be so heartless?

  19. I feel the same way about fighting terrorism! These civil liberties nutcases keep talking about a higher cause, and I’m trying to save lives!

  20. Minimizing the deaths of women and children as mere statistics

    Never let a good sob-story go to waste.

  21. torpid, you gotta step it up, man. Your game is all whack.

    1. …but not at all racist, unlike the earliest motivations of gun control.

  22. Because with gun control, no women or children will ever be murdered.

    Also, who cares if men are murdered.

  23. Also, let’s not forget, these permits merely allow the carrying of a concealed handgun — in many states you can carry a visible one without a permit. Mass shooters’ handguns are generally visible.

    1. Mass shooters’ handguns are generally visible.

      Especially when being used to commit mass murder.

    2. I could bag way over my limit if I had an invisible handgun.

  24. What does the VPC say about Cory Maye?

    1. Obviously he got what he deserved for not immediately dropping to his knees when LEOs kicked in his door.

      The better question is what do they say about Kathryn Johnston.

  25. It’s nice to see libertarians showing their true colors here.

    Well, you see our true colors shining though. And that’s why you love us. And we’re not afraid to let them show. Our true colors are beautiful. Like a rainbow.

    1. Just not a gay rainbow. NTTAWWT

      1. The Gobbler

        ^^ Knob ^^

      2. I don’t want anything to do with other guys wieners, and the obligatory scene in DP porn where the gal puts two wieners together in her mouth make my universe want to explode, but all that aside, the gayness of my rainbow shall not be denied.

  26. So, by anti-gunner logic, the state could eliminate all mass shootings by creating a “mass shooting permit” and then refuse to issue one.

    1. Works in DC.

  27. When I got a PA CCW, one of the sherrif’s in the room told me that he routinely arrests people who come in to get their CCW’s not realizing that the background check turned up an outstanding warrant.

    Guess where else he nabs fugitives? Guys who take civil service exams to be cops.

  28. Here in Texas, the cops generally treat a CC permit as a good citizenship card. As they should.

  29. Last time I renewed in Alabama, a ccw was 15 bucks to the county sheriff. Fill out the paper saying I’m not cray, (I know I know) not a wife beater, and not a felon. No test. No profficiency statement. 2 days later I am permitted to carry concealed.
    The only wierd thing is that the sheriff in each county makes the rules for carrying. In Dale County, you are REQUIRED to carry the weapon out of view of the public if you have a permit. So you don’t scare the locals I guess.

    1. 2 days?! Why the long wait? In Blount County they just print it out right in front of you. After you give them $20, of course. It was $10 last year. Damn inflation

      1. Ya’ll got printers up there? Dang man. We has to wait so’s they can find the feller what can write.

    2. Both Texas and Florida ban open carry, even if you have a concealed-carry permit.

  30. Assuming 5 million CCW permit holders, taking the 77 homicides over 30 months at face value, that’s a homicide rate of .616 per 100k. That’s better than all but 9 countries in the world. It is less than the world rate by 7.0, the U.S. rate by 5.2, the European rate by 4.8, and the West and Central Europe rate by .9.

  31. Advocates of carrying concealed firearms become sticklers for detail when criticizing studies of crimes committed by concealed carry permit holders. Yet when discussing defensive uses of guns, they include examples such as a person who hears a noise, grabs a gun and shouts into the darkness to to warn a prowler away. If we discount some concealed carry permit holders killings because they don’t fit a prescribed template, then it seems reasonable that we apply a similarly strict template when evaluating defensive uses of a gun. Such a template might require that a defender be at real, imminent, otherwise inescapable risk of serious injury or death, and that the gun be actually fired, demonstrating that it is not a replica or unloaded. Is that too strict?

    1. Yes, it is.

      One need not actually fire a gun for it count as self-defense. If you pull it, and the attacker runs, that should count as a valid use as well.

  32. I’m with Mark. A couple of weeks ago I hear a scraping sound at my front door at 4:00 AM. I get up, go to the closet and rack the slide on my 12 GA shotgun about two feet from my front door. The next thing I hear is a loud crash as the clown who was messing with my door lock falls off my front porch running away. I’d have tried to hold him for the cops, but he busted the lock on my door so that it wouldn’t open and I couldn’t get outside in time.

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