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.
- 17-year-old Olivia Marchand was shot and killed by her father with a 9mm handgun in a murder-suicide in Massachusetts in February 2010.
- 17-year-old Conner Maxwell was shot and killed by her father in a murder-suicide in North Carolina in November 2009.
- 17-year-old Brandon Colenburg was shot and killed with a 357 Magnum handgun in Missouri in July 2009 by a man who mistook him for another youth who had robbed the shooter on a bus two months earlier.
- 17-year-old Tyler Simmer was shot and killed by a family friend in a multiple shooting in Michigan in September 2008.
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.
- An 18-month-old daughter of a sheriff's deputy was killed in a rampage shooting in Alabama in March 2009.
- Two-year-old Addison Tussey shot and killed herself after she found a handgun left in the front console of the family SUV as the family was preparing to leave a restaurant in Kentucky in May 2011.
- Two-year-old Nicole Aaron Jackson was shot and killed by her father in a murder-suicide in Virginia in May 2008.
- Three-year-old Julio Segura-McIntosh fatally shot himself with a gun he found in his family's car when his family stopped for gas in Tacoma, Washington in March 2012. The father put his pistol under the seat and got out to pump gas, while the mother went into the convenience store. The boy climbed out of his car seat, found the gun, and shot himself in the head.
- Four-year-old Joshua Sipe was shot and killed by his uncle, Christopher Speight, 39, in a mass shooting of family members and friends in Virginia in January 2010 that left eight victims dead.
- Four-year-old Raiden Matern was shot and killed by his father in a murder-suicide in Utah on December 17, 2009.
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.