Just one month into 2022, it became clear that the new year hasn’t brought relief from the unprecedented spikes in violent crime in many cities since the summer of 2020.

Take Philadelphia, for example. With 140 carjackings reported through the first five weeks of 2022, the city is well on pace to surpass last year’s total of 757 carjackings.

Portland, Oregon, meanwhile, experienced more homicides and shootings in January 2022 than in January 2021—doubly concerning, since 2021 was by far the most violent year in Portland’s history.

These cities are far from alone.

Yet, progressive prosecutors in many of them seem to be doing their best to ensure that even the most violent criminals receive minimal punishment. Worse, cities such as San Jose, California, choose to lay the blame for criminal gun violence at the feet of lawful gun owners, imposing useless insurance mandates and unconstitutional taxes.

Now more than ever, it’s necessary to highlight the importance—and prevalence—of armed citizens who rely on their Second Amendment rights when the government can’t or won’t be there to protect life, liberty, or property from violent criminals.

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 January. 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.)

  • Jan. 3, Philadelphia: Police said an armed Lyft driver with a concealed carry permit defended himself and his female passenger from two would-be carjackers who threatened them with a shotgun after intentionally causing a fender bender. The driver shot and critically injured both assailants, and neither he nor his passenger was harmed, police said. Astonishingly, this was just the first of five times in January that armed Philadelphians successfully defended themselves against carjackers.
  • Jan. 5, Weddington, North Carolina: When a man broke into a relative’s residence and threatened him with violence, the homeowner shot and wounded the intruder. The man, who already had been arrested twice before for breaking into the same home, was charged with several felonies.
  • Jan. 9, Jackson, Michigan: A 69-year-old man and his adult son met with a potential buyer for a video game system, police said, only to be threatened at gunpoint when the “sale” turned into an attempted robbery. The man drew his own handgun and exchanged fire with the robber, who fled. Shot twice, the man was hospitalized in stable condition; his son wasn’t injured.
  • Jan. 11, Providence, Rhode Island: Surveillance cameras caught the moment a convenience store clerk fired shots at a would-be robber who threatened him with a knife. Police said the robber fled, but not before he stabbed and injured a customer who tried to stop him from leaving.
  • Jan. 13, Philadelphia: After a good Samaritan intervened to help a woman who was being harassed on a commuter train, police said, the harasser followed him off the train and attacked him with a knife. However, the good Samaritan had a concealed carry permit and happened to be armed that day. He shot and wounded his assailant.
  • Jan. 16, Albuquerque, New Mexico: Police said a man initially thought to be the victim of a hit-and-run actually was a burglar who died of gunshot wounds during a break-in. A nearby resident had called 911 earlier that night to report shooting at an unknown man trying to steal his tools, but the intruder fled before police arrived.  
  • Jan. 19, Racine, Wisconsin: A man out on bail for other offenses used a crowbar and sledgehammer to break into a home early one morning and confront the residents, falsely claiming to be a police officer with a search warrant. The intruder demanded to see the terrified residents’ son, who was in jail at the time. One resident grabbed a firearm and shot the intruder, who fled. Police said they arrested him at a nearby hospital and he faced felony charges of bail jumping, burglary, and impersonating a peace officer.
  • Jan. 21, Fairfield, Alabama: When two armed robbers entered a local drug store and demanded money, police said, the clerk drew his own gun and exchanged fire until they fled. No one was wounded. Police say the robbers were picked up by an accomplice in a black sedan.
  • Jan. 24, Coldwater, Mississippi: Police said a man opened fire on a house that he knew was occupied, then forced his way inside and continued shooting at residents. One resident retrieved a firearm and fatally shot the gunman before anyone else was harmed.
  • Jan. 27, Fort Worth, Texas: An armed carjacker opened fire on a driver, wounding him. But the driver was able to draw his own gun and shoot back, potentially saving his life and sending the carjacker fleeing. The  car was recovered a short time later after the carjacker, wounded and in serious condition, stopped to ask for help.  
  • Jan. 30, Rainier, Oregon: When an armed intruder broke into a residence, the homeowner pulled out his firearm, shooting at the invader and hitting him at least once. Police said the suspect, who was hospitalized, likely would be charged with home-invasion robbery.

These cases and the many others we found last month underscore the importance of the right to keep and bear arms for ordinary Americans.

The ability to defend one’s life, liberty, and property from criminals is particularly important during times like these, when many law enforcement agencies are struggling to keep up with rising crime rates and many public officials refuse to meaningfully enforce the law.  

As the year progresses, policymakers should strive to acknowledge and support this fundamental right, rather than undermining it with more unnecessary restrictions on lawful gun ownership.

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