Friday, March 1, 2024

14 Defensive Gun Uses That Show Armed Citizens Promote Public Safety

Photo illustration: secret agent mike/Getty Images
14 Defensive Gun Uses That Show Armed Citizens Promote Public Safety:
Hawaii’s high court last week thumbed its nose at the U.S. Supreme Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence, declaring that the right to bear arms in public clashes with the “Aloha spirit” and therefore doesn’t really apply in that state.
That’s right. The Hawaii Supreme Court believes it can water down and reinterpret the federal Bill of Rights, because—well— “vibes.”
In a legal world where state and lower courts routinely find new and absurd ways to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and pivot their way around the right to keep and bear arms, this opinion by the Hawaii Supreme Court stands apart as particularly ludicrous.
The court argues that Hawaii’s pre-statehood history “does not include a society where armed people move about the community to possibly combat the deadly aims of others,” as though this somehow determines the scope of federal constitutional rights that Hawaii, as a part of the United States, is bound not to violate.
The court decries “a freewheeling right to carry guns in public” as “degrading other constitutional rights,” ironically missing the point: The Second Amendment, properly understood, doesn’t degrade other unalienable or political rights, but rather gives us the “teeth” to enforce those rights adequately.
The Hawaii Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t promote public safety, as it claims to do. Instead, it only encourages criminals by prohibiting ordinary, law-abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional right to carry a firearm to defend themselves against violent crime.
Almost every major study has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times annually, according to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2021, the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the issue concluded that roughly 1.6 million defensive gun uses occur in the United States every year.
For this reason, The Daily Signal publishes a monthly article highlighting some of the previous month’s many news stories on defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place. (Read other accounts here from past years.)
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in January. You may explore more using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database.
(The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.)
  • Jan. 1, Akron, Ohio: On New Year’s Day, a masked man entered a Taco Bell, robbed the restaurant at gunpoint, and shot at an employee. Another employee drew his own gun and returned fire, striking the robber in the chest and sending him fleeing. He later sought treatment at a hospital, where police arrested him and a suspected accomplice and impounded their vehicle. A police spokesperson praised the armed employee, noting that he may have “saved or prevented someone from being seriously injured or killed—himself or others.” 
  • Jan. 4, Chicago: Police said three burglars shattered the window of a convenience store and began stealing merchandise, only to be confronted by the female store owner. One shot at the merchant, a concealed carry permit holder who was also armed; she returned fire until the three intruders fled. The store owner, whose shop reportedly was hit by burglars four days earlier, wasn’t hurt. 
  • Jan. 7, Dalmatia, Pennsylvania: A man with a history of serious domestic violence followed several family members to another residence after they fled an altercation with him, police said. The man then shot through a door, fatally striking a family member, before forcing his way inside and threatening to kill everyone else. The man’s juvenile stepson grabbed a firearm inside the home and, while shielding relatives, shot and killed the intruder. Police credited the boy’s actions with “preventing death or serious bodily injury to the remaining individuals inside the home.” 
  • Jan. 8, Oakland, California: Police said an armed employee of a jewelry store engaged in a lengthy shootout with two masked robbers who came in with guns drawn and told employees not to move. Despite being outgunned by the robbers, who used “high capacity” magazines that are illegal in California, the employee continued firing in self-defense until they fled. No one inside the store was hurt.
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