THE BLOG
07/01/2010 12:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Murders by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders: 52 Convictions or Suicides and Counting


A Florida mass shooting that resulted in the murder of four women, an innocent 17-year-old gunned down by a 61-year-old man in a case of mistaken identity, and a bass player from a cover band accused of murdering the woman who hosted the party where his band was playing are among the June additions to Concealed Carry Killers, the Violence Policy Center's on-line resource that tallies news reports of killings by concealed handgun permit holders.

Since May 2007, concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 175 individuals -- including nine law enforcement officers -- in 26 states. Of the 104 incidents that resulted in the deaths, in half (52), the concealed handgun permit holder had already been convicted or committed suicide after the shooting. Of the 52 cases still pending, the vast majority (46) are charged with criminal homicide, two were unintentional shootings, three are still under investigation, and one involved a concealed handgun permit holder who was also shot and killed during the incident. Of the 104 incidents, 16 were mass shootings. (A summary of each of the 104 incidents is available at Concealed Carry Killers, clicking on each category leads to a state-by-state breakout for the incidents with current known status.)

Among the new incidents included in the June update are:

  • Florida: On June 6, 2010, permit holder Gerardo Regalado, 38, committed Hialeah, Florida's worst mass shooting: killing four women, including his estranged wife, and wounding three others at the Yoyito Cafe-Restaurant. Regalado (pictured above) killed himself after the attack.

  • Missouri: In May 2010, concealed handgun permit holder Johnnie Pulley, 61, was convicted of shooting and killing 17-year-old Brandon Colenburg after Pulley mistook Colenburg for the person who had beaten him on a public transit bus in April 2009. The mother of one of Colenburg's friends testified that he had been at her home at the time of the original assault on Pulley.
  • Pennsylvania: On June 12, 2010, Paul Hansen, bass player for the cover band Disorderly Conduct, allegedly shot and killed Melissa Barnes, 28, the host of the party where the band was performing. Barnes had reportedly confronted Hansen after being told that he had threatened a party guest. Hansen allegedly drew a 40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and shot Barnes once in the head.
  • In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in McDonald v. Chicago earlier this week, the NRA is already threatening to challenge restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons, as detailed by Ben Smith at Politico:

    NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox said the association sees an opportunity to dramatically expand the rights of citizens in liberal jurisdictions to carry guns, naming New York in particular as a target for change.

    "The NRA is preparing [our] next round of legal challenges," Cox told me, declining to specify targets. "What [the Supreme Court] said is what we've said all along. Every law-abiding American has a right to a gun regardless of where they live."

    "We're going to be in courtrooms making sure these aren't just words on a piece of paper," he said, adding that the NRA would also continue to work on loosening gun regulations in federal and state legislatures.

    He turned to New York, though, as an example of restrictive laws.

    "If you're a Wall Street buddy of Bloomberg, if you're a political buddy, if you're a celebrity, you can carry a gun," he said. "If you're a regular working person in the Bronx who has to walk across parking lots late at night, absolutely not."

    And while the gun lobby and its supporters blithely assume the role of serial apologist for the licensing of mass shooters, cop killers, vigilantes, and suicidal individuals to carry guns in public, these most recent incidents--and the ones that we're certain to see in the months to come--stand as only the most recent proof of why states and local governments must be able to prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns.