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Concealed Carry Permit Holders are One Third as Likely to Commit Murder as Police Off

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Dean Weingarten, Oct 7, 2013.

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  1. Dean Weingarten

    Dean Weingarten Member

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    In 1994, when Arizona started its shall issue concealed carry weapon (CCW) program, there was considerable interest in how many and what types of homicides would be related to the new law.

    I started teaching classes for the Arizona CCW permit when it went into effect, and I immediately noticed that my students were well above average in attitude, responsibility, and civility. They always pitched in to assist in setting up where necessary, and their personal checks have always been good.

    When the first statistics became available, I eagerly digested the information. One person with a CCW permit had committed a homicide, although not with a concealed weapon. It was a domestic situation, and the perpetrator was a retired police officer. The question arose, how often do police officers commit homicide compared to concealed carry permit holders? Of the two, which is more common?

    It appears that a person is three times safer with a concealed carry permit holder than they are with a police officer.

    Attempting to determine how the homicide rate of people with CCW permits compares to that of police officers is not an easy task. There are several sources that show that people with CCW permits are far more law abiding than the general population.

    One would like to believe that the same is true for police officers, but data is much harder to obtain for them. Agencies that employ sworn officers do not like to tarnish their name with the misdeeds of officers, and unlike a few states that track crimes committed by CCW permit holders, I do not know of any government database of crimes committed by peace officers.

    The best reported crimes are homicides. It is a significant event that is difficult to ignore. There is usually a body. Media usually reports all the homicides that they learn of.

    I found two sources of data that seem roughly comparable: The Violence Policy Center (VPC)(pdf) attempts to track all homicides that are committed by CCW permit holders. The data is incomplete, in that it relies on publicly reported stories, but it gives us a useful figure. It does not seem likely that many reported stories are missed.

    For police, I used a web site that tracks domestic homicides committed by police officers, and another that does the same for police involved domestic violence. The data is comparable to the VPC data in that it relies on publicly reported stories. Data was available for complete years from 2008 - 2011 for comparison of the two groups.


    Florida was chosen to represent CCW permit holders, because accurate numbers of permits were obtainable from the Florida Department of Agriculture. Florida has the highest total of CCW permits of all the states, and the number of resident concealed carry permits in Florida is reasonably close to the number of sworn state and local peace officers in the United States.

    The Violence Policy Center (VPC) says that Florida tops the nation in killings by people with concealed carry permits. VPC has complete years in their data base for 2008 - 2011 for Florida. There are 27 total killings that are unjustified homicides by CCW permit holders, and 14 of those are domestic homicides. The rate of domestic homicides per 100,000 per year is .583 per 100,000 for CCW holders.

    The homicide rate nationally dropped from 5.4 to 4.7 per 100,000 during this period, and the Florida homicide rate dropped from 6.4 to 5.2 per 100,000. Since we are only looking at CCW holders in Florida, we would expect those rates to be a bit higher than the national rate for this period.

    When we look at the numbers for sworn officers, I found 52 domestic homicides committed by sworn police officers from 2008 - 2011. For the police, nationally from 2008 through 2011, the rate is 52/2,818,924 or 1.854/100,000 domestic homicides per 100,000 police per year.

    For the data that we have, police appear to be three times as likely to commit murder as a concealed carry permit holder.

    If we include all unjustified homicides (suicides were not included) found in Florida by the VPC for CCW holders for the entire four years, the rate is only 27/2,400,713 or 1.125 per 100,000 population per year. This is comparable with the homicide rates in developed western European countries. It is 61% of the rate for police officers for domestic homicides alone.


    There are no complete and definitive sources of data that will give us an accurate ratio of unjustified homicides committed by police compared to CCW holders. The numbers are very small and no one keeps a national record of them. However, the numbers found for domestic homicide cases, which are some of the easiest solved and most highly publicised cases, offer strong evidence that CCW permit holders are less likely to commit unjustified homicide than police officers, as little as one third as much.


    Link to the data which contains links to individual cases.

    Link to source comparing CCW holders to general population

    Link The Violence Policy Center (VPC) data base of incidents (pdf)

    Link to site that tracks domestic homicides committed by police

    Link to site that tracks police involved domestic violence

    Link to article where VPC claims that Florida tops the nation in killings by CCW holders

    Link to FBI site showing homicide rates by year

    Link to site that shows Florida homicide rates by year

    Link to site comparing European homicide rates


    ©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
    Link to Gun Watch

    Links work at the site.

    http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2013/10/concealed-carry-permit-holders-are-one.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  2. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    Fascinating. The anti 2nd people want to and sometimes try to imply the CPL holder is just a criminal ready to go off, but they can never quite pull that one off, so they usual drop back to the guns are icky and dangerous theme.

    Thanks for writing that!
     
  3. Dean Weingarten

    Dean Weingarten Member

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    You are welcome. Spread it around.
     
  4. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    ...which is demonstrably not true for the vast majority of CC permit holders and OCers. However, we do see threads in which someone asks the implied "what's the minimum legal justification I need to shoot someone?" question.

    Posts like those are likely contributing to the impression that gun owners are looking for situations in which they can pull the trigger--they're just looking to do it legally. Sadly, there do seem to be gun owners who are quite eager to shoot another person in a way that avoids any risk of jail time.
     
  5. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Does anyone really believe that a total of fourteen fatalities over a four year period in a single state is statistically significant?

    I think it conceivable, if not likely, that CCW permit holder are probably less prone to violence than police officers in general, but I would not use the numbers reported to conclude that anyone around them is "three times safer".

    One or two incidents involving large families could significantly affect the statistics.
     
  6. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    However, you must also realize that it's not exactly a fair comparison. Police are much more likely to be involved in shootings overall, because their job requires them to confront violence. Permit holders don't have any such requirement, we avoid violence. If they are exposed to more violence overall, they will have more events in which they may be later adjudicated to have acted inappropriately and be charged with a crime.
     
  7. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    We have to use legitimate statistics? I'll start when the other side does.
     
  8. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    That's an excellent point.

    The domestic cases are more comparable, but the data are so sparse that I do not think they really support any quantitative conclusions.
     
  9. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    Depends on whether you are watching MSNBC or Fox News.
     
  10. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    This a comparison of domestic homicides by carry permit holders to domestic homicides by police officers in the state of Florida.

    What would be interesting is wrongful deaths by carry permit holders compared to wrongful deaths by police officers. (That might be unfair, since self defenders usually know who the good guy is and who the bad guy is, while police respond to unknown situations.) But if the issue is public safety of carry permit holders, it would be interesting: wrongful deaths by shootings with carried handguns in public by permit holders versus by police.
     
  11. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    I think the anti gun crowd has given up on saying that more CCP holders will commit crimes and are focusing on the belief that more CCP owners means more firearms that can be stolen and wind up in the hands of criminals.

    I mean how else can criminals obtain guns if they don't steal them from legal gun owners?
     

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  12. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Would that not also mean that more automobiles in the driveways and garages of Americans would lead to more car theft and therefore is a bad thing? How about cell phones, or big screen TVs?

    By the same logic, we should also discourage procreation, as having more children increases the risk of having something bad happen to a child.

    Nonsense.
     
  13. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    First, this is a basically flawed question. It's important to recognize the various categories of homicide.

    Homicide is the killing of one person by another. A homicide can be --

    1. Accidental: An accidental homicide basically would be a death occurring as the unintended result of actions of an actor, even though the actor acted as a reasonable and prudent person in like circumstances. The actor incurs no criminal or civil liability in the case of a truly accidental homicide.

    2. Negligent: A negligent homicide would be a death occurring as the unintended result of the actions of an actor failing to use the degree of care expected of a reasonable and prudent person in like circumstances. And the actor incurs civil, but not criminal, liability in the case of a negligent homicide.

    3. The result of reckless (or willful, wanton and reckless) conduct: This is the crime of involuntary manslaughter.

    4. Intentional without malice (evil intent): This is the crime of voluntary manslaughter.

    5. Intentional with malice: This is the crime of murder.

    6. Intentional, premeditated and with malice: This is the crime of first degree murder.

    The various types of homicide are defined in terms of the state of mind/intent/conduct of the actor.

    Self defense or defense of another (i. e., justifiable homicide), simple negligence or accident is a defense to a criminal charge of involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, murder, or first degree murder. Justification or accident is a defense against a civil claim.

    Now this is getting closer to the mark.

    I haven't seen any comparisons of unjustifiable homicide rates, but the FBI has data on justifiable homicides broken down for law enforcement and private citizens. For example, in 2010, there were 387 justifiable homicides by LEOs and 278 by private citizens.

    In fact it appears that an enormous amount of data is available in the Uniform Crime Reports published by the FBI. For example, here is expanded homicide data for 2010.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  14. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    There is no coordination between gun control advocates, is there?

    First I heard was that people getting permits were just legitimizing what they were already doing, and the percent of permit holders was statistically low anyway (Zimring & Hawkins 1997). Both those arguments were arguments for no change in number of people owning guns or carrying them.

    Now the message is that more carry permit holders means more firearms that can be stolen and wind up in the hands of criminals?*

    Is there any study that shows a significant number of first time carry permit holders are also first time gun owners?


    _________________________________
    * Well that is a good argument for not publicising addresses of permit holders by allowing searches of permit holder names in newspaper websites. But the only empirical study I heard about found that after the Memphis Commercial Appeal began publishing data on carry permits, zip codes in Memphis that were listed with high numbers of carry permits had a drop in residential burglaries, but zipe codes listed with low numbers had an increase.
     
  15. MErl

    MErl Member

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    From my memory of the failed CC law the state tried to pass last spring this is still very much an argument. This was the attempted CC on college campus ban and arguments about shooting the wrong people came up repeatedly.
     
  16. 12Pump

    12Pump Member

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    This is surprisingly high if you consider that police officers have "qualified immunity" on their side and use it whenever possible. Citizens have more stringent laws to abide by. But if the police rate of murder is still higher, then they must be committing an awful lot of them.
     
  17. Stope Rat

    Stope Rat Member

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    Shouldn't the title of this article be "Using A Non-Scientific Analysis of Admittedly Biased Data Sources Allows Us to Prove Damn Near Anything"?

    First, you're comparing homicides by permit holders in Florida to homicides by police officers in the entire country. That's enough there to make the analysis suspect.

    But the numbers are based on figures reported by the Violence Policy Center, and a website run by the family of a woman murdered by her police officer husband. Many of their "stories" of murders are just that - stories. They list missing persons and suspicious deaths in their list, as well as non-firearm related deaths. Could you possibly find more biased sources?

    Plus there is no discussion of the overlap between the two reported subsets; a lot of officers have CCW permits. To which category did the author assign a case where an officer with a CCW is involved in a shooting?

    And by the way - "qualified immunity" doesn't apply in criminal cases; only in civil cases alleging a civil rights violation.
     
  18. Dean Weingarten

    Dean Weingarten Member

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    I went through the data. Every case is linked to news articles. Only unjustified homicides were counted, not suicides or justified homicides. A case was only counted when there was a legal finding. Pending cases were not counted. In murder/suicides, only the murder was counted.

    There is no good national count of permit holders. Florida is a fairly middle of the road state. As stated in the article, the overall homicide rate for Florida is a bit higher than the national rate, so one could expect that the CCW permit holders in Florida might have a slightly higher unjustified homicide rate than nationally.

    The sample populations are roughtly the same. Sworn police officers are a little more than 700,000. Resident CCW holders in Florida are about 600,000.

    I believe this is the best data we have, which is only saying that it is better than no data.

    I would find it highly unlikely that the numbers woud change in gross ways. Purely speculating, but I doubt that there would be as much as a 50% change in the rates if we had perfect data.

    I welcome others to find better data and do more complete analysis.

    I have not seen any other attempt to find a ratio of unjustified homicides between police and CCW permit holders. I was surprised to find the sworn officer domestic homicide numbers as high as they were. I also expected the CCW domestic homicide numbers to be a bit lower.

    More cases can be added as they are discoverd.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  19. Dean Weingarten

    Dean Weingarten Member

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    They did. eight of the fourteen domistic homicides by Florida CCW holders come from just two incidents in which four innocents each were murdered.

    These are pretty rare, and I think it likely that the rate will drop in future years.

    The data and cases are all individually linked to news stories.

    http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2013/10/links-to-2011-domestic-homicides-by.html

    The link above contains the data and the links to the news stories. it is also in the original article.
     
  20. Twiki357

    Twiki357 Member

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    There will never be a reliable figure for unjustified homicides by police officers because a shooting by police are almost always considered justified unless there’s a video camera running. Also, a shooting by police is generally very subjective as to if it was a “good shoot.” The only way to even come close to a correct total is to look at the resulting law suits and many of those are settled for expedience, not right or wrong, so even that kind of total would be incomplete.
     
  21. Dean Weingarten

    Dean Weingarten Member

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    I believe the figures for unjustified domestic homicides are fairly good. These are not part of an officers duty. They are usually crimes of passion, so the officer has a clear motive.

    No data about crime is completely free of error.
     
  22. Dean Weingarten

    Dean Weingarten Member

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    There were no overlap cases. None of the Florida CCW unjustified domestic homicides were committed by a sworn police officer, as far as I could tell from the news stories.
     
  23. CAPTAIN MIKE

    CAPTAIN MIKE Member

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    Thank You Dean for sharing all this. Very thought-provoking and helpful. Wish that the Anti-firearms folks would give much more thought before their knee-jerk reaction to news stories about homicides. Thank You again !!
     
  24. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    From a statistical perspective, your assumption is flawed. "Best data we have," if corrupt or biased such that it leads to a wrong conclusion is therefore not better than no data which do not lead to any conclusion.

    It may be the best data you have, but that does not make it necessarily better than no data.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  25. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

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    Where is the significance test and the effect size analyses?

    Meaningless without such. Can the OP provide those?
     
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