11 Times a Gun Stopped Matters From Getting Worse

By Amy Swearer  – February 17, 2021

A woman shot and killed her abusive boyfriend as he forced his way into her home after assaulting her earlier in the week, police said. 

We’re in a new year, but gun control advocates are back to their same tactics of wanting to make it much harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Perhaps one of the worst offenders is Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who recently introduced a bill to create a national gun license and registration program that effectively would turn the right to keep and bear arms into a privilege for which citizens must prove their worthiness to the government.

The Lee bill also would force Americans to surrender hundreds of millions of commonly owned, factory-standard ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds—severely handicapping their ability to defend themselves when outnumbered or outgunned.

Activists such as the Texas congresswoman probably genuinely believe that they’re helping protect Americans. But in reality they would make it harder for most Americans to protect themselves.

According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost every major study on the issue found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times a year. We have good reason to believe that many of these defensive gun uses aren’t reported to police, much less make the local or national news.

For this reason, The Daily Signal each month publishes an 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 accounts from 2019 and 2020 here.)

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 by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database.

  • Jan. 3, Macon, Georgia: An armed robber walked into a pizza restaurant and threatened to shoot employees if they didn’t give him money, police said. The robber then decided he needed to use the bathroom, giving a restaurant employee time to grab a handgun. When the robber came out of the restroom, the employee held him at gunpoint until police arrived.
  • Jan. 7, Miami Beach, Florida: Surveillance video captured a dramatic confrontation between an employee of a store and a man who threatened him with a firearm. The assailant initially left the scene after an argument with the employee, during which he brandished his gun, police said. He returned a short time later and the employee, fearing for his life, fired his own legally possessed handgun at the assailant’s car, causing him to flee. Police later arrested and charged the assailant with aggravated assault.
  • Jan. 10, Cleveland: A Lyft ride-sharing driver was forced to rely on her Second Amendment rights to defend herself when two male passengers viciously attacked her during the ride, police said. As one man began choking her from the back seat and the other punched her in the face, she was able to grab her handgun from the center console and fire six rounds at the men, who fled. When found, the men face charges of attempted kidnapping and attempted aggravated robbery. Unfortunately, even though the driver legally possessed the handgun and clearly acted in lawful self-defense, Lyft chose to fire her for violating the company’s “zero tolerance” policy on drivers carrying firearms.
  • Jan. 11, Sausalito, California: When a woman’s ex-boyfriend—assisted by her own father and brother—attempted to kidnap her from her home at gunpoint, another resident armed himself and came to her rescue. Police said the woman’s father and brother lured her out of the residence, and the ex-boyfriend threatened her with a firearm and tried to force her into his car. The other resident heard the commotion, grabbed his own handgun, and fired a warning shot to thwart the kidnapping.
  • Jan. 14, Crowder, Mississippi: A woman shot and killed her abusive boyfriend as he forced his way into her home after assaulting her earlier in the week, police said. The boyfriend had smashed a whiskey bottle over her head and spent hours beating her, putting her in a hospital, investigators said. The woman sought a restraining order because she was fearful he would return. When he did, she shot him with her rifle in self-defense.
  • Jan. 15, Kerrville, Texas: After two men got into a physical altercation in a restaurant, one pulled a knife and stabbed the other, police said. A good Samaritan who witnessed the stabbing retrieved a firearm from his vehicle, returned to the restaurant, and held the knife-wielding assailant at gunpoint until police arrived. The stabbing victim was expected to survive.
  • Jan. 19, Laurel, Mississippi: A teenager shot and killed his mother’s boyfriend after the man physically attacked her during a domestic dispute. Police said the mother and boyfriend had been arguing “for several days” leading up to the violent altercation.
  • Jan. 21, Daytona Beach, Florida: A father heard his adult daughter screaming outside their home and ran out to see her bleeding from her mouth and face as her boyfriend assaulted her. The father tried to intervene and eventually fired a warning shot at the undeterred boyfriend. When the man attacked his girlfriend’s mother, who had come outside to help, the father shot and wounded him.
  • Jan. 25, Harrison Township, Michigan: Recordings of 911 calls captured the harrowing moments when a woman called to report that her ex-boyfriend was breaking into her home. Unfortunately, police could not arrive before the ex-boyfriend forced his way inside, and another resident shot the intruder several times, killing him. Police said they had been called to the residence several times before to “resolve disputes” between the woman and her boyfriend.
  • Jan. 28, Bellingham, Washington: A man went into a sporting goods store and tried to smash a gun case with a hammer in an apparent attempt to steal a firearm. An armed employee with a concealed carry permit drew his weapon and shot the thief in the chest, wounding him. Police said the thief was a felon who could not legally possess firearms and was suspected of trying to rob another store earlier in the day,
  • Jan. 30, Ponca City, Oklahoma: Police said a man with a history of domestic assault attacked his wife and stepson, splitting open the stepson’s head with a baseball bat and stabbing him several times before tying up his wife in a closet. Another adult stepson arrived and took his wounded brother to a hospital. He returned to check on his mother and was confronted by the stepfather, whom he ultimately shot in self-defense. The stepfather faced several serious felony charges.

If many gun control activists had their way, all of these law-abiding citizens would have first been required to face a plethora of expensive and time-consuming hurdles before being granted the privilege of defending themselves.

In 2021, we must continue to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms remains the right of the people, not the privilege of the chosen elite.

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Amy Swearer is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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