While votes still are being counted in the presidential election, one thing is perfectly clear—the stakes never have been higher for the Second Amendment.
Neither Democratic nominee Joe Biden nor his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, believe that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. In other words, according to them, the government may restrict law-abiding citizens’ ability to possess any firearm, and for any reason.
This is exactly what Harris argued in an amicus brief she signed onto in the foundational Second Amendment case of District of Columbia v. Heller. The filing with the Supreme Court argued that the Second Amendment does not prevent the government from issuing a complete ban on the possession of operable handguns inside the home.
It is hardly surprising, then, that as a senator Harris co-sponsored numerous bills that would strip law-abiding Americans of commonly owned semiautomatic firearms protected by the Second Amendment. She also recently said that mandatory buybacks—gun confiscation by another name—were a “good idea.”
Harris is not alone. Just last year, Biden himself told a town hall audience that he wouldn’t have come to the same conclusion as the Supreme Court majority in the Heller case.
Of course, the Supreme Court has affirmed—consistent with the first 150 years of constitutional scholarship on the issue—that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental, individual right. Not only is this right fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty in a theoretical sense, but in a real and concrete way it enables countless Americans to defend their lives, liberty, and property when the government fails to do so.
According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times a year. There’s good reason to believe that most of these defensive gun uses never are 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 so far in 2020 here.)
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in October. You may explore more examples by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database.
- Oct. 4, Miami, Florida: Armed robbers stormed into a woman’s home during an NBA Finals watch party, holding her family and friends—including her 7-year-old son—at gunpoint while demanding valuables. The woman, who was in the bathroom at the time, heard the commotion and retrieved her handgun from a bedroom nightstand. She confronted the robbers, and the family’s home surveillance system captured the ensuing shootout. Fortunately, the armed resistance prompted the robbers to flee before they could harm anyone.
- Oct. 7, Mount Hermon, Louisiana: Following an argument with his neighbor, an irate man grabbed his handgun, went to his neighbor’s house, and opened fire. The neighbor also was armed and returned fire in self-defense, possibly saving his own life. Police arrested his assailant on charges of second-degree attempted murder.
- Oct. 9, Hamtramck, Michigan: A would-be robber entered a jewelry store and stabbed the owner in the head. Despite serious injuries, the storeowner managed to shoot the robber four times in self-defense, foiling the robbery. Both were expected to recover, and the robber was in custody with criminal charges pending.
- Oct. 12, Memphis, Tennessee: Two men posing as bounty hunters were caught on a doorbell camera attempting to kick down the door of an apartment. The person inside fired in self-defense, preventing them from illegally entering. Local authorities were investigating.
- Oct. 14, Melbourne, Florida: A homeowner became alarmed when he saw two armed men step from a vehicle parked suspiciously in front of his house. When the men began walking toward the front door, the homeowner retrieved his firearm, fearing that he might have to defend himself and his property. As the two men approached in a menacing manner, he fired several warning shots into the ground, sending the men running back to their vehicle.
- Oct. 17, Marion, Maryland: A husband broke into his estranged wife’s home and fatally shot her before attacking another man who was living there. Despite his injuries, the man managed to grab his firearm and shoot his assailant in self-defense, preserving his own life. Police arrested the estranged husband, who faced charges, including first-degree murder, assault, and home invasion.
- Oct. 18, Youngstown, Ohio: A designated driver for a man and a woman witnessed a physical altercation between the two in which the man eventually produced a knife to attack the woman. The driver confronted the man, but the assailant overpowered him and held the knife to his throat. At this point, the woman drew her firearm, causing the man to drop the knife and run.
- Oct. 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A victim services advocate in Philadelphia was walking home when an armed robber accosted him. He drew his firearm and fatally shot his attacker in the chest in self-defense.
- Oct. 23, Lee County, Alabama: A man got into an argument at a small gathering at someone’s home, left, and returned with a gun. When he opened fire on those still there, several armed individuals returned fire, killing him before anyone else was harmed.
- Oct. 27, Camp Verde, Arizona: An adult man and a teenager approached a driver who was pumping gas and started a verbal altercation. The teen pulled out a gun and fired at the driver. Although wounded, he drew his own firearm and shot the teen. After both assailants fled, police found and arrested the wounded teen.
- Oct. 30, Memphis, Tennessee: A man was doing construction work on a residence when he noticed two thieves, both armed, stealing an air compressor from the porch. The man confronted the two as they tried to put it in their car. One thief pulled a gun and fired at the man, who told police that he dropped to the ground and returned fire, sending the two fleeing.
These examples of defensive gun use last month help demonstrate just how badly the Biden-Harris team misses the mark when it comes to the Second Amendment.
The right to keep and bear arms often becomes a matter of life and death for law-abiding Americans.
We are rendered less safe—and our rights less secure—when politicians make it harder for us to acquire and possess the firearms with which we can most capably defend our rights and liberties.
Unlike Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the rest of us don’t get full-time armed security teams courtesy of American taxpayers. Many times, we don’t even have the benefit of police who arrive in time to protect us.
We only have ourselves, and our right to keep and bear arms.