Since 1987, the United States has recognized March as Women’s History Month to celebrate the vital role of women in American history. Unfortunately, far too often we find that the armed women of history are overlooked or completely forgotten, and the vital role of the Second Amendment in the lives of American women is ignored.
Women long have availed themselves of the right to keep and bear arms in defense of life, liberty, and property—from Harriet Tubman, the famed “conductor” of the underground railroad who was known to carry loaded pistols, to Mary “Stagecoach Mary” Fields, the first black woman to be a mail carrier, who notoriously kept a .38 revolver in her apron to fend off bandits and wild animals alike.
Tubman and Fields haven’t been alone.
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 the most recent report on the subject 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, 2021, and so far in 2022.)
To honor Women’s History Month, we decided to highlight 10 incidents from last month in which the Second Amendment made all the difference for women, either because they were armed or because another armed person came to their defense.
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in March. 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.)
- March 1, Atlanta: Five teens—at least two armed—tried to carjack a woman as she sat in her vehicle, police said. The woman drew her own gun and exchanged fire with the would-be carjackers, who fled. Although she was injured, her car was not stolen. Police said they arrested the teens just hours later, after a police chase in which they crashed a car stolen during a second carjacking.
- March 4, Longview, Texas: A woman armed with a rifle shot and wounded a man who forced his way inside her home, police said. The woman had told the man—who neighbors say had a history of criminally trespassing in area homes—to get off her porch. But he refused and tried to smash in her sliding glass door with his fist, according to police, who arrested the wounded man. The county sheriff praised the woman’s actions as “an excellent example of the importance of our Second Amendment.”
- March 5, Lincolnton, North Carolina: Police said a woman’s estranged husband showed up at the residence where she was staying, forced his way inside, and threatened her and the male homeowner. During the altercation, the homeowner retrieved a firearm from a bedroom and shot the intruder in self-defense before running to a neighbor’s home to call 911. Police charged the wounded husband with multiple crimes.
- March 9, Nashville, Tennessee: After her boyfriend physically assaulted her earlier in the day, a woman returned to their shared home to gather her belongings and retrieve her three young children, police said. A female friend accompanied her for support. When they arrived, the boyfriend argued with the woman, then assaulted her again. She saw that he was armed, so she drew her own gun and exchanged fire with him in self-defense. The woman, her friend, and the boyfriend were all injured, but the three children weren’t harmed, police said. The boyfriend faces several felony charges, including being a felon in unlawful possession of a firearm.
- March 10, Dayton, Ohio: A woman’s ex-boyfriend ignored a protective order against him, scaled the roof of her home in the middle of the night, and tried to climb through her bedroom window, police said. When the woman heard the intruder, she grabbed a firearm to protect herself and her daughter and shot the man in the arm as he descended into her bedroom. She told police she realized it was her ex-boyfriend as he ran from the house. He was arrested later that day after calling paramedics for his gunshot wound, and faces several criminal charges.
- March 16, Reading, Pennsylvania: A woman and her boyfriend were about to get into their car at a local park when a man approached them and fired two rounds, police said. The woman drew her own gun and shot back, giving her wounded boyfriend time to take cover behind their car. Police later arrested their assailant and charged him with attempted homicide and unlawfully possessing a gun as a felon.
- March 22, Orlando, Florida: A female veteran working as an Uber driver arrived at a customer’s pick-up location and saw him physically assaulting his girlfriend, police said. The driver decided to give them a ride despite the man’s violent actions because she didn’t want to leave the girlfriend alone with her assailant. When the couple got into the car, the man passed out drunk in the back seat while the Uber driver spoke with the girlfriend. When the man woke up and assaulted both his girlfriend and the driver, police said, the driver stopped the car and demanded that he get out. The driver shot and wounded the man after he shoved his girlfriend to the ground and advanced on the driver in a threatening manner.
- March 23, Paradise, Nevada: A woman was with her boyfriend and three children when an ex-boyfriend broke into their home, police said. The woman armed herself and called 911, and the ex-boyfriend left. However, he returned a short time later armed with his own gun, which he pointed at the current boyfriend’s head. The woman fired one shot, striking him in the head and killing him, police said. No one else was harmed.
- March 24, Lansing, Michigan: When a man with two prior convictions for domestic violence began assaulting a woman inside her home, police said, her son came to her defense, shooting and wounding her attacker. Police arrested him at a nearby hospital. The woman was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
- March 25, Montgomery, Alabama: When a woman called police after being assaulted by her husband, officers advised her to pursue a protective order against him. The woman was on her way to the police station with her two adult sons when the husband rammed his car into hers, drove them off the road, and approached them while brandishing a handgun. One son, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, told his brother and mother to run when his father opened fire. Despite being shot five times, the son was able to draw his own gun and fatally shoot his father before anyone else was harmed. He was hospitalized in critical condition, but expected to survive.
Some gun control advocates like to claim that the Second Amendment was written by and for men, and that it leaves women to suffer as victims of gun violence.
But these claims ignore the countless cases such as the ones above, where the right to keep and bear arms was used by women or for the sake of protecting women—often from male aggressors against whom an unarmed woman would have been effectively helpless.
Women’s History Month may be over, but the importance of the Second Amendment in the lives of American women continues every day of the year.
No matter the month, the constitutional right to keep and bear arms remains in force, with no asterisk or small print excluding women.
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