Americans legally bought more than 18.5 million firearms in 2021, down just slightly from 2020’s unprecedented surge in gun sales but still the second-highest year for sales on record.

The available data seems to confirm that millions of these sales were to first-time gun owners, and that the gun-owning community is becoming increasingly diverse demographically.

It’s easy to see why.

As 2022 begins, cities across the nation are experiencing unprecedented spikes in serious, violent crimes. Meanwhile, many public officials continue to push overly lenient and nonsensical prosecution policies that further endanger the public and embolden criminals.

Americans are becoming increasingly aware of just how important the right to keep and bear arms can be, especially when the government cannot be counted upon to protect them from violent threats.

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 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 other accounts here from 2019, 2020, and 2021.)

The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in December. 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.)

  • Dec. 4, Wichita, Kansas: A gunowner used his firearm to hold a man until police arrived after catching him trying to break into a vehicle. Officers cited the man, a parolee, for misdemeanor tampering with an automobile and took him to a hospital for treatment of an unrelated injury. Unfortunately, the man wasn’t formally arrested or booked. He now is accused of stabbing a woman to death just hours later.
  • Dec. 5, Dickson, Texas: After a man shot his son and daughter-in-law during a domestic dispute, armed neighbors held him at gunpoint until police arrived. The wounded relatives were expected to survive, and the couple’s children—home at the time—were uninjured, police said.
  • Dec. 6, Philadelphia: After armed robbers targeted predominantly Latino-owned businesses more than a dozen times in just three weeks, police said, one merchant turned the tables by shooting and wounding a 20-year-old man who tried to rob his corner store.
  • Dec. 8, Bolivar, Tennessee: When a man tried to rob a Domino’s Pizza outlet, police said, an armed employee drew his own gun and fatally shot the robber. An accomplice who fled had not been caught.
  • Dec. 11, Chicago: Surveillance video captured the moment two thieves broke into display cases at a store dealing in luxury cars and watches, only to be confronted by several armed employees who promptly chased them out. Although the thieves escaped with some luxury watches, police said, the store escaped the sort of ransacking seen at many other high-end businesses in Chicago’s famed Loop.
  • Dec. 12, Fairfax, Virginia: Police said a burglar armed with a knife entered a home through an unlocked door and refused to leave after residents confronted him. When the burglar lunged toward one resident with the knife, the resident—armed with a gun—fired a warning shot into the floor. The resident then held the burglar at gunpoint until police arrived.
  • Dec. 14, Lawrence, Indiana: Three muggers approached a pawn shop employee who was walking behind the store and tried to rob him at gunpoint. The employee drew his own gun and exchanged fire with the would-be robbers, wounding one before they all fled in a car. Police said they later arrested the wounded suspect, a 14-year-old boy left behind after the getaway car crashed.
  • Dec. 15, Lakeland, Florida: A homeowner shot an intruder who used a flowerpot to smash through a glass door. Police arrested the intruder, who had an extensive criminal history including 14 felony convictions. The homeowner “did exactly what he had a right to do,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press release. “I commend him for protecting himself and defending his home.”
  • Dec. 17, Garden Grove, California: Police said a man with a history of criminal violence, subject to an active restraining order for domestic violence, broke into an ex-girlfriend’s home and stabbed her new boyfriend several times. The boyfriend survived, but his assailant escaped. A week later, the ex-boyfriend returned, kicked in the woman’s door, and attacked the couple again. The new boyfriend, armed with a handgun, fatally shot the intruder, police said.
  • Dec. 18, Cairo, Georgia: An elderly woman, awakened by noise in the middle of the night, confronted several armed intruders who had broken in. At least one intruder opened fire and wounded the woman, but she shot back with her own gun, prompting the intruders to flee. Police later arrested seven suspects in the home invasion, including five under age 16.
  • Dec. 20, Johnson City, Tennessee: A man and woman, after arriving home, discovered an armed felon hiding behind their house. Police said the felon was wanted on several domestic violence charges and also the subject of a protection order issued for the woman. Assaulted by the trespasser, the man shot and wounded him. The felon faced additional charges, police said.
  • Dec. 22, Abbottstown, Pennsylvania: A disturbed man wearing nothing but a shirt broke into an elderly couple’s home and violently assaulted them, police said. The woman’s husband was able to grab a handgun from the bedroom and fatally shot the attacker as he beat her. The husband and wife suffered serious injuries, but were expected to recover.
  • Dec. 25, Laneville, Texas: Early Christmas morning, a visiting relative alerted a homeowner to a suspicious light under another house on the property. When the relative investigated, police said, he found a burglar inside and repeatedly ordered him to “get on the floor.” The burglar reached into a pocket and charged at the relative, who fatally shot him.
  • Dec. 29, Biloxi, Mississippi: Law enforcement officers responded to a call regarding gunshots and an unresponsive man outside an apartment complex. They determined that the man had forced his way inside his ex-girlfriend’s home, where a resident fatally shot him in self-defense.  

In this new year, let’s hope that even more Americans grow to appreciate their Second Amendment rights—while finding fewer occasions to exercise those rights against criminals.

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