President Joe Biden last week withdrew his nomination of prominent gun control activist David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Biden’s move came after months of bipartisan concern over Chipman’s advocacy of severely restrictive gun control measures, his controversial statements appearing to mock new gun owners, and allegations of racist conduct during his time as an ATF agent.
Many gun control advocacy groups lamented Biden’s decision, but the withdrawal of Chipman’s nomination is a big step toward ensuring that the Second Amendment is protected from anti-gun bureaucrats who treat it as an antiquated, second-class right.
The reality is that the right to keep and bear arms is vital in a free republic where the government can’t or won’t always be there to enforce citizens’ individual rights against criminals.
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, according to a 2013 report 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 accounts here from 2019, 2020, and so far this year.)
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in August. 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.)
- Aug. 1, Johnstown, Pennsylvania: After hearing a loud bang, an armed homeowner discovered four intruders in his basement. He chased them from his home, firing a round over their heads as they fled to a car. Police arrested two of the suspected intruders after a car chase and arrested a third suspect several days later after data from his parole-mandated GPS monitor implicated him.
- Aug. 4, Hermitage, Tennessee: Following a series of vehicle break-ins at his apartment complex, an armed resident became suspicious of a man he saw pulling on car door handles while wearing a ballistic vest. The resident held the suspected thief at gunpoint until officers arrived. Police said they subsequently discovered numerous stolen items on the suspect, including a handgun, and charged him with several felonies.
- Aug. 5, Green Bay, Wisconsin: While responding to a call about an attempted home invasion, police officers received a second call from a residence roughly a block away informing them that a resident had shot and wounded an intruder. The suspect was expected to face criminal charges. Police were trying to determine whether the two home invasions were related.
- Aug. 11, San Antonio, Texas: A neighborhood resident shot and killed a woman during a bizarre confrontation in which she opened fire on concerned bystanders. Police said the woman had crashed her vehicle into a parked car, prompting several residents of nearby homes to check on her welfare. As they rushed to her aid, though, the woman began shooting indiscriminately, killing one person and wounding two others. The armed resident fired back, fatally wounding the shooter and ending the violent threat to the neighborhood.
- Aug. 13, Webster Groves, Missouri: An intruder who broke into a residence through a back door was met by a homeowner armed with a shotgun. When the intruder refused to comply with the homeowner’s demands that he leave, police said, the homeowner fatally shot him. Prosecutors declined to charge the homeowner, telling reporters that this was a clear case of a person lawfully protecting his home and family from an intruder.
- Aug. 15, Port Allen, Louisiana: An argument among several people in a grocery store spilled into the parking lot, where it took a violent turn as one woman pulled out a firearm. Police said one of the woman’s targets also was armed and shot her in self-defense, wounding her. Police arrested the original assailant and an accomplice, but did not charge the person who fired in self-defense.
- Aug. 20, Toledo, Ohio: A woman fatally shot a man who was trying to burglarize her home as she and her children slept. Police said the man already had made it through the front door at the time he was shot, and that “more than one occupant of the house fired at the intruder.”
- Aug. 23, Orem, Utah: A suicidal man who was renting a room in a married couple’s residence used a knife to stab a fellow tenant three times. He then attacked the homeowners as well, but the couple was able to retrieve a handgun and hold him at gunpoint until police arrived. Both the husband and the other tenant underwent surgery for knife wounds; the wife received minor injuries.
- Aug. 26, Newport Beach, California: A security system captured the sounds of a homeowner fatally shooting an intruder who had broken down his front door in the middle of the night. Police said they believe the intruder, who lived at a nearby “sober living” home, was mentally ill or intoxicated. A neighbor told reporters that the intruder had been hanging around for roughly 20 minutes before he approached the front door and broke it down.
- Aug. 29, Indianapolis, Indiana: When a woman refused to allow her mentally ill nephew to enter her home, police said, he became enraged, threw his aunt to the ground, and violently assaulted her. A second nephew emerged with a firearm and fatally shot his cousin. The aunt told reporters that the family was devastated, but that “I was probably going to be dead” had the armed nephew not come to her rescue.
- Aug. 31, Syracuse, New York: Police credited a property manager with saving several lives after he used a lawfully owned handgun to fatally wound a man who opened fire on a crowd outside a building.
Government officials—especially unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats—ought not to be in the business of restricting Americans’ enumerated rights and mocking those who choose to exercise those rights for the first time.
Broadly imposed and highly restrictive gun control measures such as those supported by Chipman would not make a single innocent person in the circumstances above any safer from violent threats to their lives and liberties.
But Chipman’s preferred policies and government-sanctioned scorn for their gun ownership may well have acted as barriers to the one thing that actually kept them safe—the lawful exercise of their Second Amendment rights.
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