The deadly shooting of Jordan Davis, 17, by Michael Dunn, 45, at a Florida gas station last week in a dispute over loud music is unfortunately only one example of at least 29 incidents since May 2007 where victims under the age of 18 lost their lives in a non-self defense shooting as the result of a private citizen legally allowed to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in public.
In total, since May 2007, at least 499 victims in 32 states have died in incidents not ruled self-defense involving private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns, according to the November update of the Violence Policy Center's (VPC) Concealed Carry Killers online resource. At least 14 of the victims were law enforcement officers. Twenty-three of the incidents were mass shootings, resulting in the deaths of 103 victims.
The child victims of concealed carry killers range in age from 17, like Jordan Davis, to only a year old. Other 17-year-old victims of concealed carry killers during this period include:
- 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, 28, with a 9mm Kel-Tec pistol in February 2012 in Florida as he was returning from a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store where he had purchased an iced tea and a package of Skittles.
On the other end of this bloody spectrum, pre-schoolers (up to age four) who lost their lives as the result of a concealed carry killer include the following:
- One-year-old Aaron Neptune Jackson was shot and killed by his father in a murder-suicide in Virginia in May 2008.
It is important to remember that these killings, and the hundreds like them that are contained in Concealed Carry Killers, represent only the very tip of the iceberg as most state systems release little data about crimes -- including homicide -- committed by concealed carry permit holders. The primary source for Concealed Carry Killers is published news reports. The Violence Policy Center believes that comprehensive data on crimes committed by persons with concealed carry permit holders should be collected through the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting system, recognizing that people have the right to know the extent of the public safety threat posed by private guns carried in public places.
The tragic killing of Jordan Davis, just like the death of Trayvon Martin earlier this year, is the direct result of Florida gun laws that allow virtually anyone to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in public. Across America, lax concealed carry laws arm and embolden too many shooters who react to slight provocations with deadly force. The result is an untold number of innocent lives lost, families decimated and communities shaken.