By: Steve Nolan
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and survivors of the Aurora, Colorado shooting as well as to their families and the brave first-responders.
Such a senseless tragedy leaves us all saddened and speechless for a brief moment…but then inevitably we find ourselves being drawn into the national debate over gun control. The timing of the shootings combined with the rabid media attention has seemingly diverted national attention from President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder’s Fast and Furious debacle as well as the upcoming United Nations Gun Treaty vote in two weeks–both of which are blatant attempts to restrict our God-given rights to bear arms.
Thomas Jefferson, himself a liberal in the truest sense of the definition, stated,“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
Now contrast that to what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made a career calling for stricter national gun laws, stated, “There’s so many murders with guns every day. It’s just gotta stop. And instead of these two people, President Obama and Governor Romney talking in broad things about, they want to make the world a better place. Okay. Tell us how. And this is a problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them, concretely, not just in generalities, specifically, what are they going to do about guns?”
Already we are seeing anti-gun advocates and liberal Hollywood icons attacking the Second Amendment from every corner, each calling for greater gun control. It’s deeply unfortunate that none of the moviegoers attending that premier of The Dark Knight Rising were packing a legally permitted concealed weapon. God only knows how many lives one armed law abiding citizen may have saved.
It is truly sad that we only hear in the media about tragic incidents like Aurora and never hear of the cases where firearms are legally used in the defense of life and liberty. In February of this year, the libertarian think tank Cato Institute published a report entitled “Tough Targets, When Criminals Face Armed Resistance From Citizens.” The report cites approximately 5,000 news reports from October 2003 to November 2011 involving defensive gun usage. According to the authors, “tens of thousands of crimes are prevented each year by ordinary citizens with guns.” Both authors, Clayton Cramer and David Burnett, openly admit the actual number of cases is much higher because many of the instances are simply not covered by the media. “Many defensive gun uses never make the news,” the report said. “After all, ‘Man Scares Away Burglar, No Shots Fired,’ is not particularly newsworthy.”
The purpose of this study was to investigate “When ordinary Americans are forced to use guns in self-defensive situations, what is the nature of that situation and how frequently do these events occur and what are the consequences?” Of the 5,000 incidents reported between October 2003 and November 2011, 488 home burglaries and there were 1,227 incidents where intruders fled when confronted by armed inhabitants. There were 34 incidents where pizza delivery drivers defended themselves, and 172 incidents involving animal attacks.
There were 25 attempted rapes stopped by armed victims and 201 incidents reported where attacks were neutralized by armed senior citizens (over age 65, according to the authors). The oft-mentioned “concern about an attacker taking a gun away from an armed victim” was statistically proven invalid as there were 227 incidents reported where the intended victim actually disarmed the attacker, while only 11 attackers disarmed the victim.
It should also be noted that the authors cited an often overlooked statistic that:
“Moreover, it is important to note that when a gun owner kills an attacker or is able to hold a rapist or burglar until the police arrive, it is very likely that more than one crime has been prevented because if the culprit had not been stopped, he could have targeted other citizens as well.”
Most Americans don’t realize that carrying a concealed handgun in public is permitted for non-law enforcement officials in 49 states as of July 13, 2011. 35 states have “shall-issue” laws where police do not have discretion in issuing concealed weapon permits as long as individuals meet minimum requirements, such as a minimum age, no prior felony conviction, and no recent commitments to a mental institution. As of now, Illinois and Washington, DC do not allow concealed carry except by active and retired law enforcement officers.
No big surprise, but the National Rifle Association (NRA) gave then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama an “F” rating based on his voting record on guns. Ironically, The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence also gave President Obama an “F,” in part because he signed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 which included an amendment to allow the carrying of firearms in national parks.
Despite what the anti-Second Amendment pundits claim about gun violence, between May 2007 and March 24, 2010, at least 9 law enforcement officers and 142 private citizens were murdered nationally by concealed handgun permit holders (approximately 0.003% of all murders in that time period).
The basic reality is that today, the government cannot guarantee the safety of its citizens and is in fact not legally responsible for doing so. Having the ability and the capability to protect yourself, your family and/or other members of the general public from armed attackers should be seen as a personal responsibility and the government has no right to deny responsible adults the ability to do so legally. The criminal elements of our society carry concealed weapons despite laws designed to prevent that. If our laws do not deter illegal use of firearms in the commission of a crime, they certainly should not prevent or deter the lawful use of firearms to prevent such crimes!
A Deeper Look at the Right to Carry
It is important that we illustrate how important it is for everyday citizens to have the fundamental right to bear arms in order to defend themselves. According to Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, co-authors of “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year — or about 6,850 times a day? This means that each year, firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives. Of the 2.5 million times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, the overwhelming majority merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his/her attacker. If those facts are not enough to make the case for the Second Amendment, consider that as many as 200,000 women use a gun every year to defend themselves against sexual abuse.
Another factoid lost in the mainstream news is that armed citizens kill more crooks than do the police. Citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as police do every year (1,527 to 606). And readers of Newsweek learned that “only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The ‘error rate’ for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high.” As a matter of fact, nationwide every year, as many as one-half million citizens defend themselves with a firearm away from home.
Those who swallow every misconception shoveled by the mainstream media regarding guns and crime should consider an experiment that took place in 1982 in Kennesaw, Georgia. This suburb of Atlanta passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in their home. The residential burglary rate subsequently dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compared to the modest drop of 10.4% in Georgia as a whole. Ten years later (1991), the residential burglary rate in Kennesaw was still 72% lower than it had been in 1981, before the law was passed.
This effort in Kennesaw clearly supports the fact that 3/5 of felons polled agreed that “a criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun.” As a matter of fact, according to U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice’s report entitled “The Armed Criminal in America, A Survey of Incarcerated Felons,” 74% of felons polled agreed that “one reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot during the crime.” And if that wasn’t compelling enough, 57% of felons polled agreed that “criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police.”
Thomas Jefferson once quoted Cesare Beccaria, an Italian Philosopher and Politician best known for treatise On Crimes and Punishments, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
In the spirit of that quote, let’s look at twenty-five examples from just this year of why we need to preserve our Second Amendment:
Reason #1: Gun Carrying Attorney Shoots and Kills Assailant: An article published by MSNBC told the tale of a nervous armed gunman attempting to rob some citizens in Columbia, South Carolina who confronted attorney Jim Corley demanding he give him his wallet. Corley agreed to comply and reached around to his back pocket and pulled a small Kel-Tec .32 pistol hidden in a wallet holster loaded with six hollow-point rounds. Unfortunately for Kayson Helms, 18, of Edison New Jersey, Corley gave him more than he bargained for. The attorney fired once into the robber’s stomach. The young would-be robber turned and ran. Corley fired twice more, hitting him the neck and torso. Bleeding profusely, Helms ran into the night and later collapsed and died on a railroad embankment 100 feet away.
Reason #2: Female Marine Kills Attacker in Self-Defense: Marine Cpl. Rayna Ross bought a gun (in a non-waiting period state) and used it to kill an attacker in self-defense two days later. Had a 5-day waiting period been in effect, Ms. Ross would have been defenseless against the man who had been stalking her.
Reason #3: A Pastor Shot and Wounded a Man Who Broke onto his Detroit Church: Lawrence Adams went to Westside Bible Church on Sunday evening and found the intruder inside the building, said Detroit police Sgt. Eren Stephens. The man began swinging an object at the retired police lieutenant, who pulled out a handgun and shot him in the abdomen, he said.
Reason #4: Minneapolis Good Neighbor Apprehends Robbery Suspect: Seeing an armed criminal rob a woman of her purse at gunpoint and pistol-whip her, a Minneapolis CCW holder pursued the robber in an attempt to capture him, which resulted in a confrontation in which the citizen had to shoot the robber, who later died of his wounds.
Reason #5: North Dakota Senior Citizen Stops Burglary With Gun: Hearing a loud noise and seeing an intruder in the house at 4:00am, a woman alerted her sleeping husband, who armed himself with a pistol and went to investigate. The 82-year old husband found the 26-year old burglar in the home, and held him at gunpoint until the police arrived. Both the burglar and would-be victims were unharmed and the criminal faces felony charges.
Reason #6: Temple University Student Fights Off Armed Robbers: A 21-year old Temple student and friend were accosted by a 15-year old armed robber and two accomplices about 2:00am near the university. When the armed assailant fired on the student in the course of the robbery, the student drew his legally-carried pistol and returned fire. The student sustained gunshot wounds to the stomach, and the robber was shot in the chest and leg. Philadelphia Police will place felony charges against the 15-year old assailant upon his release from the hospital.
Reason #7: Ohio Woman Shoots Ex-Boyfriend That Restraining Order Failed to Stop: An Ohio woman who feared that her ex-boyfriend and father of their two children was not going to be deterred by the restraining order requiring him to stay away armed herself with a pistol and was glad she did when the ex-boyfriend broke into her home and assaulted her with a crowbar. Fearing for her life, she shot and killed the intruder. Under Ohio’s newly-adopted Castle Doctrine, there is a presumption of self-defense in circumstances such as these.
Reason #8: Armed Naples Florida Clerk Foils Robbery and Kidnap Attempt: A 22 year-old clerk was changing shifts at a family-owned convenience store when an armed man entered and demanded money. He also grabbed a stroller holding one of the clerk’s two babies and tried to flee with the year-old child. That cost him his life, as the clerk pulled a gun kept behind the counter for protection and shot the would-be robber and kidnapper, wounding him and causing him to flee the store empty-handed. Tackled outside the store by an arriving employee who saw what had happened, the robber was held for police and later died of his injuries.
Reason #9: Released Inmate Shot Dead During Redding, CA Home Invasion: 37-year-old Jesse Theis was released early Thursday morning from the Shasta County Jail and before sun-up Friday, he invaded a Redding, CA home. The 66-year-old female homeowner fired warning shots when she heard someone trying to force entry into her home. When the invader tried a short time later to climb into her window, she shot him dead. Theis had been released due to a county prison policy designed to ease over-crowding by requiring the daily release of those inmates prison officials deemed “low-risk.”
Reason #10: Beaumont, TX Homeowner Fights Off Two Young Home Invaders: Two Texas youths picked the wrong house to try to invade. Both armed, the two forced their way into a Beaumont home about 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning and demanded money of the owner. While tussling with the armed intruders, the homeowner was able to get to his own gun, and fatally shot one of his attackers and drove off the second one. The dead robber was found in an adjacent field by responding police. No charges have been filed against the homeowner, who was acting in self-defense.
Reason #11: Armed Houston Dad Foils Attack on 14-Year-Old Daughter: Hearing a commotion shortly after his daughter had left for school early one morning, Richard Goodie left his house to see two men, one of them armed, accosting his daughter. Goodie’s warning shot failed to frighten off the assailants, one of whom put the daughter in a choke hold and a pistol to her head while threatening to kill the girl if her father did not back off. While the assailant was dragging the daughter away, some space opened up between the daughter and the bad guy, allowing the father to shoot the suspect in the stomach, ending the encounter and putting the second suspect to flight. No charges are expected against the father, who says he did what he had to do to save his daughter.
Reason #12: NC Woman Defends Family Members: A North Carolina family was returning to their vehicle at 1 a.m. after some Black Friday shopping at a Myrtle Beach, SC Walmart when they were set upon by armed robbers. One of the robbers shot a woman in the foot, even though she had surrendered her purse on their demand. The woman’s son attempted to protect his mother, and was shot at and pistol-whipped for his efforts. The woman’s sister, hearing shots fired as she entered her vehicle, picked up her own loaded pistol from the vehicle’s console and confronted the robbers. Not wanting to shoot directly at the robbers for fear of hitting her family or bystanders, she fired two shots over the heads of each robber, scaring them off. Her family credits the legally-armed woman with saving the lives of her sister and nephew.
Reason #13: Ohio Woman Fights Off Sex Offender: An Ohio woman had her concealed pistol permit for three years, but wasn’t sure whether she could actually use the gun if needed. She found out recently that she could when a 23-year-old sex offender accosted her at a bank and forced his way into her car while making sexually suggestive remarks. The woman was able to reach her pistol in her car console but couldn’t bring it to bear against her attacker while struggling with him in the confined space of her vehicle. Her warnings of having a gun had no effect on the assailant, so she stuck the gun out the open passenger door and fired one shot in the air, scaring him off. Police apprehended him a short time later in the same area. The woman now knows she is capable of defending herself, and urges other women to take heart from her experience and prepare to defend themselves. Police said her use of the gun was appropriate, and was exactly the reason law-abiding people get carry permits.
Reason #14: A Wisconsin Crime Stopped by Legally Armed Citizen: Undeterred by the presence of unarmed security guards, two armed robbers entered a Milwaukee convenience store. The attempted robbery was successfully foiled when a store customer pulled his legally-carried pistol and shot one robber who was armed with a shotgun. The customer held both robbers at gunpoint while waiting for police to arrive. This is the first known instance of a legally-armed citizen stopping a crime following the recent passage of Wisconsin’s shall-issue carry law. The legally-armed citizen is not expected to face charges. Ironically, the convenience store door bears a small sign declaring, “Weapons of any kind are prohibited.”
Reason #15: A Tennessee Man Stops Burglar: A Knoxville man got out of his shower to investigate strange noises in his house. Arming himself with a 12-gauge shotgun, he found a 21-year-old local man had broken into his home. Two rounds from the shotgun put the burglar to flight with a wound to his backside. An accomplice drove the burglar away from the crime scene and reportedly pushed him out of the car at a McDonald’s restaurant. The burglar will face felony charges upon his release from the hospital. Police reported that evidence of the break-in was consistent with the homeowner’s version of events. The defending homeowner is not expected to be prosecuted.
Reason #16: A South Carolinian Kills Armed Restaurant Robber: Two masked robbers entered a Spartanburg Waffle House Restaurant, ordering the employees into a back room and the customers to lay down on the floor. Not content to take matters lying down, a customer confronted the two robbers with his legally-carried pistol and ordered them to disarm and await police. Instead, one of the robbers pointed his pistol at the customer, who promptly shot him dead. The second robber was later apprehended after fleeing the scene. Police say the armed customer acted lawfully in self-defense.
Reason #17: A Pregnant California Mom Flights Off Two Intruders: Seeing two strange men entering her home in Fortuna, a young pregnant woman pointed a pistol at them and ordered them out. When they refused to leave, she fired on the men, missing them, but scared them off. Needless to say, she is thankful she had a gun.
Reason #18: An Oklahoma Man Foils Daylight Home Invasion: Alerted by his dog barking at 7:45 a.m., a Midwest City man grabbed his handgun to investigate two loud kicks to his front door. Leaving his bedroom, he encountered an armed man in his living room. One shot from the homeowner’s pistol felled the intruder, who later died in hospital of the single wound to his chest. The burglar had a criminal history that included illegal possession of a firearm. Police say the defensive shooting appears to be justified.
Reason #19: A Pennsylvania Cyclist Ends Teen Robbery Spree: Several teenage robbers accosted a Reading, PA senior citizen while he enjoyed a morning bike ride in a public park. Two of the youths knocked him from his bike and demanded money while beating him. The 65-year-old biker pulled his legally carried pistol and shot two robbers, killing one. Police have determined that this was the third robbery the teens committed that morning while they were skipping school. The local district attorney ruled the shootings justified, and that the cyclist had no choice but to shoot in self-defense.
Reason #20: A Texas Mother Defends Home and Child: A Fort Worth mother came home from picking up her young son at school to find an unwelcome surprise: a man in the act of burglarizing her home. Taking up her legally-owned pistol, she shot the intruder in the leg and put him to flight. She then chased him at gunpoint out of her house and down a nearby street, where she lost him. Responding police found the wounded intruder hiding in a creek not far from the scene. Charges are pending the suspect’s release from hospital.
Reason #21: An Armed Colorado Physician Rescues 50 Bystanders from Hostage Situation: When an armed Colorado Springs man entered his facility and took two female employees hostage, a doctor with a carry permit took up his pistol from its storage place in the office and covered an exit while 50 people escaped from the building and the potentially deadly situation. Police arrived a short time later and entered into negotiations with the gunman, attempting a peaceful resolution. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as police later shot and killed the gunman after negotiations ended in a confrontation. The two hostages were unharmed. The 50 people able to escape the building were thankful that the physician was armed as well as willing and able to use the weapon in their defense.
Reason #21: An Early-Morning North Carolina Home Invader Shot and Killed by Armed Woman: A Gastonia woman will not face charges for shooting and killing a 28-year-old home invader. The 911 tape of the homeowner’s call to police detailed the incident, which happened at 1:15 a.m. The woman heard people outside her home, and then glass breaking as they forced their way into her home. She was holed up in her bedroom with a pistol while speaking with the 911 dispatcher. When the intruder entered her bedroom, she fired one shot. When the intruder kept on coming at her, she fired again, killing him.
Reason #21: An Alert, Armed Texas Neighbor Ends Burglary: Hearing odd noises next door, a concerned Longview resident took up his legally-owned pistol and investigated. Looking into his neighbor’s unoccupied home, he saw two strange men inside, one with a handgun. In the ensuing brief gunfight, one of the burglars was wounded in the ankle and was captured by police. The other burglar fled. The armed neighbor will not face charges.
Reason #22: A Michigan CCW Holder Stops Knife Assault: A wanted parole violator armed himself with a knife and tried unsuccessfully to rob a man in a car in the parking lot of a Royal Oak convenience store. Scared off by someone shouting at him from a nearby vehicle, the knife-wielding bad guy turned on a young couple with a baby and demanded money. Hearing the commotion, a carry permit holder in the parking lot drew his weapon and confronted the would-be robber, ordering him to drop the knife. The robber reluctantly complied, and the armed citizen successfully held him at gunpoint for police. Investigators praised the armed citizen for his quick action.
Reason #23: A South Carolina Convenience Store Owner Stops Armed Robber: A Conway, SC convenience store owner was leaving his closed store for his car one night when he was accosted by a man brandishing a gun and demanding money. The owner pulled his own legally-carried pistol, and in the ensuing exchange of gunfire, the 29-year-old robber, who had a long criminal record, was killed. The robber’s female get-away driver was arrested and charged with attempted murder and attempted armed robbery. Authorities ruled the shooting by the store owner justified.
Reason #24: A 15-Year Old Georgia Boy Stops Home Invasion, Kills Burglar: Two men broke into a Martinez, GA apartment and attacked the tenant. Hearing the commotion and seeing his father under attack, the 15-year-old son took up his .22 rifle and shot the attackers, killing one and putting the second to flight. No charges will be filed against the boy, who was defending his home and family.
Reason #25: A California Senior Citizen Shoots and Routs Home Invaders: California Senior Citizen Shoots and Routs Home Invaders: A 62-year-old former Marine heard a loud noise as two men broke into the Modesto, California home he shared with his stepson. Seeing the burglars accosting the stepson, the homeowner retrieved a .357 Magnum revolver and fired on the intruders twice, striking one in the leg and putting both to flight. The injured burglar will face criminal charges on his release from hospital. His accomplice remains at large. The homeowner will not face charges for the shooting.
Law abiding citizens should not have to justify our God-given and Constitutionally-protected rights to not only protect themselves, loved ones and/or innocent bystanders from violent crime. Our rights to bear arms still are our rights –despite the existence of those who abuse them.