For Immediate Release
Phone: (202) 822 8200
Michigan Concealed Handgun Licensees Have Suicide Rate Higher Than General Michigan Population--VPC Concealed Carry Killers November Update
At Least 57 Michigan CCW Holders Have Killed Themselves Since July 2007
WASHINGTON - Michigan
concealed handgun license holders commit suicide at a rate higher than
the general Michigan population according to the November update to the
Violence Policy Center's (VPC) Concealed Carry
Killers, an on-line resource that tallies reports of killings by concealed
handgun permit holders that have not been determined to be legitimate
self defense. According to the November update, with the new addition
of 57 Michigan suicides and six Michigan homicides, nationwide concealed
handgun permit holders have killed at least 276 individuals--including
83 suicides--since May 2007.
The VPC analyzed data
available from the Michigan State Police on suicides by Michigan concealed
handgun license holders (Michigan is one of the few states, if not the
only, that collects and releases such data on those permitted to carry
According to information
from the Michigan State Police, for the period July 1, 2007 through June
30, 2008, 29 of Michigan’s 164,793 concealed handgun license holders took
their own lives for a concealed handgun license holder suicide rate of
17.6 per 100,000 license holders. For the period July 1, 2008 through
June 30, 2009, 28 of Michigan’s 182,749 concealed handgun license holders
took their own lives for a concealed handgun license holder suicide rate
of 15.3 per 100,000 license holders.
In comparison, in
2007 Michigan’s suicide rate for the general population was 11.3 per 100,000.
In 2008, the suicide rate for the general population was 11.7 per 100,000.
Only data for each calendar year is available and data for 2009 has not
yet been released.
The fact that Michigan
concealed handgun license holders have a higher rate of suicide than the
general population is even more striking given that Michigan law prohibits
the issuance of concealed handgun licenses to persons where the local
issuing authority has “probable cause to believe that the applicant would
be a threat to himself or herself or to other individuals.” Michigan’s
mental health standards for concealed handgun licenses go beyond the federal
standards for gun possession. Under federal law, only those persons who
have been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or committed to a mental
institution are prohibited from possessing firearms.
“Michigan should be
applauded for collecting and publishing information on suicides and crimes
committed by concealed handgun permit holders--the vast majority of states
do not collect this data. Unfortunately, the Michigan statistics provide
shocking evidence that far too many suicidal individuals are obtaining
concealed carry permits, a fact that disproves the false claims of those
who erroneously argued to state legislators that lax concealed carry laws
would enhance personal and public safety,” states Kristen Rand, legislative
director for the Violence Policy Center.
To date Concealed
Carry Killers has documented 188 incidents in 28 states resulting
in 276 deaths. In more than two-thirds (129 incidents) the concealed handgun
permit holder has already been convicted, committed suicide, or was killed
in the incident. Of the 59 cases still pending, the vast majority (49)
of concealed handgun permit holders have been charged with criminal homicide,
two were deemed incompetent to stand trial, two incidents were unintentional
shootings, and six incidents are still under investigation.
A summary of each
of the 188 incidents is available at http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm,
clicking on each category leads to a state-by-state breakout for the incidents
with current known status. To review all killings by concealed handgun
permit holders, click on “Total People Killed by Concealed Handgun Permit
Holders.” While the incident summaries of the few concealed handgun permit
holders eventually found not guilty are listed on the site, those numbers
are not included in the VPC's totals.
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 primarily
as reported by news outlets. It is likely that the actual number of fatal
incidents involving concealed handgun permit holders is far higher.
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The Violence Policy Center is a national tax-exempt educational organization working for a safer America through research, investigation, analysis, and advocacy. The VPC provides information to policymakers, journalists, organizations, advocates, and the general public.