The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mandy Wimmer,
Communications Associate, 202-822-8200 x110,

Virginia Mass Shooting Most Recent Involving Concealed Handgun Permit Holder

At Least 51 Innocent People Have Been Killed in Recent Mass Shootings Involving Concealed Handgun Permit Holders


Christopher Bryan Speight, the 39-year-old
man who allegedly shot and killed eight men and women yesterday in Appomattox,
Virginia, is at least the 12th person licensed to carry a concealed handgun
reported to have committed a mass shooting since May 2007 according to Violence
Policy Center (VPC) research. The Associated Press reports that Appomattox County court records show a concealed
weapons permit was issued to a Christopher Bryan Speight three times between
1999 and last year. The issue dates in 1999, 2004, and 2009 match the five-year
renewal period for concealed handgun permits under Virginia law. The 11 prior mass
shootings are detailed on the VPC's web site, Concealed Carry Killers (,
an on-line resource, updated monthly, that tallies from news reports killings
by concealed handgun permit holders. Not including yesterday's
shooting, the web site reports that since May 2007 concealed handgun permit holders
have killed at least 117 people, including nine law enforcement officers.

Prior to yesterday's shooting, concealed handgun
permit holders had claimed 43 innocent lives in 11 mass shootings since May
2007 (in addition, in six of the incidents, the shooter killed himself).
Yesterday's shooting brings the total number of innocent victims
reportedly killed by concealed handgun permit holders in mass shootings during
this period to 51. Yesterday's attack is the second mass shooting
in Virginia
by a concealed carry permit holder in less than two years. In May 2008,
concealed handgun permit holder Aaron Poseidon Jackson, 24, shot and killed his
two children, one-year-old Aaron Neptune Jackson and two-year-old Nicole Aaron
Jackson, and their mother Latasha Nicole Thomas, before taking his own
life. Jackson was wearing body armor and
was surrounded by guns and ammunition when police found him dead in their home
in the Walt Lou
Trailer Park in Falmouth, Virginia.
Christopher Bryan Speight was also wearing body armor when he surrendered to

In response to this latest tragedy reported to be committed
by a concealed handgun permit holder, VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, "Virginia legislators and
Governor McDonnell should make repeal of Virginia's
lax concealed handgun law a priority if they care anything about the safety of
Virginians and preventing similar future tragedies. Concealed handgun
permit holders don't prevent mass shootings, they perpetrate them."

The Violence Policy Center (VPC) works to stop gun death and injury through research, education, advocacy, and collaboration. Founded in 1988 by Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, a native of Newtown, Connecticut, the VPC informs the public about the impact of gun violence on their daily lives, exposes the profit-driven marketing and lobbying activities of the firearms industry and gun lobby, offers unique technical expertise to policymakers, organizations, and advocates on the federal, state, and local levels, and works for policy changes that save lives. The VPC has a long and proven record of policy successes on the federal, state, and local levels, leading the National Rifle Association to acknowledge us as "the most effective ... anti-gun rabble-rouser in Washington."