Second Amendment Protects Everyone, as 12 Examples of Defensive Gun Use Show

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The Supreme Court last month struck down a New York law that effectively prohibited ordinary citizens from carrying handguns in public for self-defense.

As some New Yorkers joined gun control activists in decrying the decision as making them less safe, one young woman explained how, for her, the high court’s opinion meant she was one step closer to sleeping soundly for the first time in months.

Laura Adkins, a liberal journalist living in New York City, described how, after a recent breakup, her ex-partner’s increasingly obsessive and harassing behavior made her fear for her life despite the temporary order of protection she got.

For weeks, Adkins said, she slept with a sheathed hunting knife under her pillow, fully aware that it would offer little protection against a man twice her size, but knowing she had few other readily available options for defending herself given the city’s incredibly restrictive laws on handgun possession.

Despite her belief in gun control, Adkins came to understand that good policy is not just about preventing dangerous individuals from owning firearms. It also  should “empower vulnerable citizens to protect themselves.”

Now, Adkins wants a gun. And she wants to carry it in public.

Adkins is not alone in this changed perspective. In the past two years, millions of Americans have bought a firearm for the first time, many for the same reasons as Adkins: They’ve come to understand that the right to keep and bear arms offers the most meaningful defense of their inalienable rights.

Almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times annually, according to the most recent report on the subject by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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 other accounts here from 2019, 2020, 2021, and so far in 2022.)

The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in June. You may explore more by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.)

  • June 5, Memphis, Tennessee: A man exchanged gunfire with three apparent burglars whom he saw quickly get out of a vehicle and run toward his neighbor’s home. One was wounded in the shootout and the other two fled, and it doesn’t appear that the gun owner or his neighbor were injured. Police eventually arrested three suspects, who admitted they were breaking into cars in the neighborhood. They face charges of aggravated assault and property theft.
  • June 7, Oklahoma City: A 69-year-old hotel clerk shot and wounded a man nearly half his age when the younger man became violent and confrontational, police said. The man tried to kick in a door and demanded a free room, then charged at the clerk when he was asked to leave the property, investigators said. 
  • June 8, Phoenix: An armed citizen helped thwart an attempted carjacking by shooting and wounding the would-be thief, police said. The gun owner was part of a larger group that intervened to stop the theft.
  • June 11, Dalton, Georgia: A father fatally shot a man who tried to kidnap his two young daughters, police said. The man apparently was under the delusion that the girls had been abducted and he was on a mission from God to rescue them. When he couldn’t be dissuaded that the girls were safe and refused to leave the property, their father grabbed a handgun and told their grandmother to call 911. The father first fired a warning shot and told the man that he’d aim the next round at him, police said, but the man again refused to leave without the girls and reached for something in his vehicle. The father shot him once in the chest.
  • June 14, Austin, Texas: A robber approached two people in a shopping center parking lot and demanded a backpack from one at gunpoint. The other  drew a firearm and shot the robber, who dropped his gun and fled before calling 911 for medical help. Police said the 17-year-old had “an extensive criminal history” and apparently had removed a court-ordered ankle monitor. He faces robbery and weapons charges.
  • June 16, Hopkinsville, Kentucky: A 71-year-old homeowner exchanged gunfire with three intruders who forced their way inside his residence at 1 a.m. and shot at him, police said. The homeowner’s armed response sent the intruders fleeing. Police arrested one suspect that night, and two others several days later. All three face robbery charges.
  • June 17, Olympia, Washington: A resident of an apartment complex became agitated and disturbed others in a common area, police said. At some point, he brandished a large knife and confronted a man sitting in the lobby. The man drew a handgun and told the knife-wielding resident to back away, witnesses told police, but instead he charged. The armed man shot and killed him.
  • June 19, Des Moines, Iowa: A woman fatally shot another woman who violently assaulted her without provocation in a grocery store parking lot, police said. The gun owner will not face charges because she acted in lawful self-defense, investigators said.
  • June 21, Clearwater, Florida: A woman fatally shot a man who broke into her bedroom while she was sleeping and assaulted her. Police said the woman recently had moved into the home and her assailant lived next door.  
  • June 26, Big Pine Key, Florida: A man called 911 to report that his stepfather was assaulting his mother, then shot and wounded his stepfather while still on the phone with dispatchers. The man told police that his stepfather regularly beat his mother and threatened to kill them both. The stepfather denied any wrongdoing and said he was shot without warning, but also told officers that once he got out of the hospital, he would kill his stepson.
  • June 29, Moreno Valley, California: Authorities said a 93-year-old man would not be charged after shooting at several intruders who broke into his home and attacked him. One intruder was wounded and arrested outside; the others fled and had not been caught. Family members said the armed man lives alone and his home had been targeted by burglars multiple times.
  • June 30, Tulsa, Oklahoma: A woman shot and wounded her ex-boyfriend after he broke into her home while she was sleeping and assaulted her, police said.  The woman said the two broke up more than a year ago. Both were treated for their injuries. 

These stories underscore the reality that Adkins helps illustrate: The Second Amendment belongs to everyone, in every part of the country, facing any type of imminent threat to life, liberty, or property. And we don’t always know when our otherwise peaceful lives will be interrupted by serious danger.

The Second Amendment helps ensure that all potential victims—whether a 93-year-old widower in California defending his home, a father in rural Kentucky protecting his daughters, or a young woman in New York City afraid of her ex-partner—have not just the theoretical right but the practical ability to act in self-defense when faced with sudden threats.

To Adkins and every other New Yorker on the cusp of exercising your constitutional rights for the first time: Let us be the first to say, “Welcome.”

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

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