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Bleg on shooting and concealed carry data:

There are several studies of how often police officers miss the criminal whom they are shooting at. Are there any studies or data regarding how often those missed shots injure or kill an innocent bystander? I suspect the rate is very, very low.

Second, the discussion about whether people with CCW licenses commit crimes at a high rate (as the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center often assert) tends to involve data from Florida and Texas. Do VC readers know of data from other states?

steve (www):
David,
You have e-mail inbound to help out on the second question. for other readers, I think that http://www.gunfacts.info/ has solid information on page 23.

I've also written about the gun control issue at my blog... http://radioviceonline.com/tag/gun-control/
3.19.2009 3:59pm
Philistine (mail):
On the issue of police shootings of bystanders--not a lot of hard #'s, for various reasons, I suppose. Most of the actual #'s have to do with "blue on blue" accidents.

For instance UCR Report of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted reports 22 officers killed by "crossfire, mistaken for subject, firearm mishap" from 1998-2007 through Note this is not either self-inflicted, cleaning or training mishaps, which are seperately tabulated. According to here 84 occurred from 1973-1990.

I'd imagine the number injured would likely be quite a bit higher.

Here is an interesting paper (at least from the abstract) on bystander shootings in general in NY and LA from 1977-1988.

FWIW, here is a 1998 NY Times Article (talking about the possible adoption of hollow point bullets by the Department) says "statistics released by the [police] department" show 15 innocent bystanders hit by police bullets in 1995-96. 4 more were hit by officers of Transit Bureau (in the same period) and 44 police officers were hit by police bullets (in the same period).

This would seem to suggest that the # of bystanders killed by police fire would be ~1/3 of police officer in the UCR reports, assuming, of course, that NY is fairly representative.

--Philistine
3.19.2009 4:01pm
JohnS:
Michigan has .PDFs of that data here
3.19.2009 4:05pm
33yearprof:
There are 5 annual reports available at the bottom of this web page. Minnesota BCA Reports
3.19.2009 4:06pm
steve (www):
From the Gun Facts PDF (take it for what it is worth, but they do source the information).
Myth: Texas CCW holders are arrested 66% more often
Fact: Most arrests cited are not any form of violent crime (includes bounced checks or tax delinquency).
Fact: The VPC "study" only includes arrests, not convictions.
Fact: Many of these arrests in this premature VPC "study" came in the early years of Texas CCWs when the law was not understood by most of the law enforcement community or prosecutors.
Fact: Compared to the entire population, Texas CCW holders are about 7.6 times less likely tobe arrested for a violent crime.173 The numbers breakdown as follows:
• 214,000 CCW holders
• 526 (0.2%) felony arrests of CCW holders that have been adjudicated
• 100 (0.05%) felony convictions
Fact: A different study concludes that the four year violent crime arrest rate for CCW holders is 128 per 100,000. For the general population, it is 710 per 100,000. In other words, the general public is 5.5 times more likely to commit a violent crime than a CCW licensee.
3.19.2009 4:15pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
I am aware of two shootings (both fatal) by concealed weapon permit holders in Idaho since the 1990 shall issue law took effect. The details of the most recent (in the last few days) are here, and link to a previous situation. The current case seems to be a failure of the police; the shooter was charged with battery some months back, which should have caused immediate revocation of his carry permit.

I don't have current figures on number of permits, but some years back, the Idaho Statesman ran an article claiming that 5% of adults in Idaho have a carry permit, which would mean about 35,000 to 40,000 permits at any given time. There may be more than two shootings by permit holders since 1990 in this state, but even opponents can't seem to find them. Using the low end of 35,000 permits (since there has been population growth since 1990), that would mean about .3 shootings per 100,000 permit holders per year.
3.19.2009 5:08pm
Steve H (mail):
I believe Utah did a study a few years ago, and they found that there had been no "bad" shootings by CCW permit holders during the first 10? years of the expanded permit regime.

About a year or two ago, however, there was a pretty bad one, where a CCW holder shot a guy who was supposedly "threatening" to him, from across a parking lot.

Still, I'm pretty confident that CCW holders have at least as good a record as the police over the past decade.

(I say this as a generally-pro-gun control liberal.)
3.19.2009 5:21pm
glangston (mail):
Ohio here

Should be somewhat useful though the article is from the Buckeye Firearms Assn.
3.19.2009 5:24pm
whit:

Fact: A different study concludes that the four year violent crime arrest rate for CCW holders is 128 per 100,000. For the general population, it is 710 per 100,000. In other words, the general public is 5.5 times more likely to commit a violent crime than a CCW licensee


i realize this is anecdotal, but in about 20 yrs of experience, i have observed those with CCW's committing crimes at a MUCH lower rate than non-CCW'ers.

I've also arrested for numerous violent crimes, but have NEVER arrested somebody with a CCW for a violent crime.

I have had occasion to arrest a few CCW'ers actually carrying at the time, but it was stuff like misdemeanor warrants for traffic offenses, or DUI.

CCW'ers also, ime tend to be pretty restrained. We had a case where a coworker of mine was executed (shot point blank in the head as he lay on the ground). Two people nearby had CCW's and were carrying.

The woman said she didn't fire because she wasn't sure of her backstop. This was a suburban area, fwiw. she would have been totally justified in shooting the guy as he was executing the officer. she chose not to.

a second person got his browning hipower out, but by the time he did, the shooter had already emptied his gun, the guy could see the slide locked back, and was walking away. He said he didn't feel comfortable shooting the guy in the back as he walked away with an unloaded weapon.

again, i have zero doubt it would have been a justified shoot. but both chose not to fire.
3.19.2009 5:33pm
kecker (mail) (www):
whit:

I'm a MN Carry Permit holder myself, and one of the things you learn in training is that the books are severely stacked against you. End result is most Minnesotans with a carry permit learn it's better to be a good witness than anything else.

Even drawing your handgun exposes you to all sorts of lawsuits and legal penalties. Better to keep it in your holster unless your own (or immediate families) life is threatened. For everyone else I'll be a good witness.
3.19.2009 6:14pm
whit:

I'm a MN Carry Permit holder myself, and one of the things you learn in training is that the books are severely stacked against you. End result is most Minnesotans with a carry permit learn it's better to be a good witness than anything else.

Even drawing your handgun exposes you to all sorts of lawsuits and legal penalties. Better to keep it in your holster unless your own (or immediate families) life is threatened. For everyone else I'll be a good witness.


can't speak for MN, but ime here in WA, citizens who use their CCW'd firearm lawfully get the full protection of the law. self-defense law is pretty good here.

we had a CCW'er blow away an armed robber who was wrestling with one my partners, for instance, and he had no problem whatsoever.

saw another blow away a guy who had a protection order against him, when he broke into the ex's house. CCW'er blew him away. no problem.

etc.

but you are certainly under no compulsion to protect anybody else but yourself.
3.19.2009 6:29pm
cboldt (mail):
-- citizens who use their CCW'd firearm lawfully get the full protection of the law. self-defense law is pretty good here [WA] --
.
As for criminal prosecution, the law is likely pretty good in all states. But a civilian who uses deadly force doesn't have the government paying for the defense in the inevitable civil liability suit.
.
I agree with the general proposition of reserving the show and/or use of deadly force to protection of self and family; even though the probability of criminal charges for justified use of deadly force to help a stranger is, for all practical purposes, zero.
3.19.2009 6:45pm
ab (mail):
Does it occur to ANYONE that people who apply for, and are approved for, permits are simply NOT the ones we should be most worried about?
3.19.2009 7:13pm
Shelby (mail):
whit,

Any thoughts on OR law vs WA? Is it something you've discussed with colleagues to the south?
3.19.2009 7:15pm
cboldt (mail):
-- Does it occur to ANYONE that people who apply for, and are approved for, permits are simply NOT the ones we should be most worried about? --
.
Of course it does. But the request here is for verifiable factual data to refute and rebut false claims made by organizations that object to "shall issue" CCW policies. These lying organizations hold some sway, and their false claims are used by Democratic Party politicians in the US Congress and state legislatures.
.
See, e.g, the "44 time more likely" claim.
3.19.2009 7:29pm
dvan:
According to John Lott, during the first 15 years of Florida's shall-issue CCW law, "Even off-duty police officers in Florida were convicted of violent crimes at a higher rate than permit-holders."

This comes from a Buckeye Firearms Association article that describes a Columbus Dispatch op-ed written by John Lott in 2003. I can't find a link on the paper's website, but the Buckeye article includes the text of the op-ed.

Excerpts:


And consider the two largest states with right-to-carry laws, Florida and Texas. During the 15 years after Florida's concealed-carry law took effect in October 1987, about 800,000 licenses were issued. Only 143 of these (two-hundredths of 1 percent) were revoked due to firearms-related violations.

But even this statistic overstates the risks, as almost all of these cases apparently resulted from people accidentally carrying a gun into a restricted area, such as an airport. No one claims that these unintentional violations posed any harm. In general, permit-holders were model law-abiders. Even off-duty police officers in Florida were convicted of violent crimes at a higher rate than permit-holders.

The experience in Texas was similar. From 1996 through 1999, the first four years that Texas' concealed handgun law was in effect, 215,000 people were licensed. Permit holders turned out to be law-abiding, with licensees convicted of a crime only 6 percent as often as other adult Texans.



Here's the link: http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/415
3.19.2009 8:02pm
Çharles Riggs, Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed (mail) (www):
The Commonwealth of Kentucky publishes the data collected by the Kentucky State Police about concealed carry permit holders in March of each year. You can contact the KSP to get that information, as well as archived information from previous years.
There was a Justice Dept. study from some years back that showed that police wrongfully shot people at a rate 11 times higher that private citizens, and that citizens shot criminals at a rate 3 times higher than police did, IIRC. I'll have to dig to find the data itself, it's been years since that was published.
The data that purport to show that CCDW holders commit crimes at higher rates than the rest of the public have been cooked.
3.19.2009 8:07pm
whit:

As for criminal prosecution, the law is likely pretty good in all states. But a civilian who uses deadly force doesn't have the government paying for the defense in the inevitable civil liability suit.



but there are some pretty sweet financial protections, at least in criminal cases...


read:

RCW 9A.16.110
Defending against violent crime — Reimbursement.


(1) No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property, or for coming to the aid of another who is in imminent danger of or the victim of assault, robbery, kidnapping, arson, burglary, rape, murder, or any other violent crime as defined in RCW 9.94A.030.

(2) When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense. This reimbursement is not an independent cause of action. To award these reasonable costs the trier of fact must find that the defendant's claim of self-defense was sustained by a preponderance of the evidence. If the trier of fact makes a determination of self-defense, the judge shall determine the amount of the award.

(3) Notwithstanding a finding that a defendant's actions were justified by self-defense, if the trier of fact also determines that the defendant was engaged in criminal conduct substantially related to the events giving rise to the charges filed against the defendant the judge may deny or reduce the amount of the award. In determining the amount of the award, the judge shall also consider the seriousness of the initial criminal conduct.

Nothing in this section precludes the legislature from using the sundry claims process to grant an award where none was granted under this section or to grant a higher award than one granted under this section.

(4) Whenever the issue of self-defense under this section is decided by a judge, the judge shall consider the same questions as must be answered in the special verdict under subsection (4) [(5)] of this section.

(5) Whenever the issue of self-defense under this section has been submitted to a jury, and the jury has found the defendant not guilty, the court shall instruct the jury to return a special verdict in substantially the following form:


answer yes or no
1. Was the finding of not guilty based upon self-defense? . . . . .
2. If your answer to question 1 is no, do not answer the remaining question.
3. If your answer to question 1 is yes, was the defendant:
a. Protecting himself or herself? . . . . .
b. Protecting his or her family? . . . . .
c. Protecting his or her property? . . . . .
d. Coming to the aid of another who was in imminent danger of a heinous crime? . . . . .
e. Coming to the aid of another who was the victim of a heinous crime? . . . . .
f. Engaged in criminal conduct substantially related to the events giving rise to the crime with which the defendant is charged? . . . . .
3.19.2009 9:43pm
zippypinhead:
According to John Lott, during the first 15 years of Florida's shall-issue CCW law, "Even off-duty police officers in Florida were convicted of violent crimes at a higher rate than permit-holders."

This comes from a Buckeye Firearms Association article that describes a Columbus Dispatch op-ed written by John Lott in 2003. I can't find a link on the paper's website...
Try John Lott's Website. He has a pretty good archives of his old writings, including a direct link to op-eds he has written going back to 2002.
3.19.2009 11:00pm
Semper Why (mail):
I looked this information up in Virginia about five years back in preparation for a public hearing on a new policy in Fairfax County. I had to call the VA State Police Headquarters, get an email address for the sergeant working on CCW permit administration and continue from there. He was only able to tell me how many permits had been issued and how many had been revoked. He couldn't tell me why they were revoked.

Alas, I didn't keep my notes. I don't think it's something they publish.
3.20.2009 12:54am
Connie:
How is it possible to do such studies when I thought most states blocked release of names of those who had concealed carry permits?
3.20.2009 10:13am
Dan Hamilton:
How is it possible to do such studies when I thought most states blocked release of names of those who had concealed carry permits?

If the police keep the stats there is no problem. The stats don't have names with them. Stuff can be referenced and detailed by CCW number.
3.20.2009 12:24pm
Deep Lurker (mail):
"From a certain point of view" the rate of violent crime by CCW permit holders approaches 100%. That point of view being that it is a malum in se violent crime for a private citizen to carry a handgun, and that the permit doesn't make it a non-crime, but merely a crime that has been legalized by a barbaric government.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that this is the point of view that the Brady Campaign et. al. believe in. It explains their rhetoric and policy proposals very well.
3.21.2009 10:39am

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