In a case called New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the Supreme Court in June struck down concealed carry permitting frameworks in several states that effectively prohibited ordinary Americans from carrying firearms in public for self-defense.
Since then, residents of those states have applied for concealed carry permits in droves, showing just how willing many of them always have been to exercise their Second Amendment rights when the government no longer prohibits it.
Take, for example, New Jersey, a state where only 870 applications for concealed carry permits were filed in 2021, when residents knew that almost no one would be granted such a permit. This year, the state administrative office in charge of permitting expects that 11,000 applications will be submitted by the end of December.
Similarly, Maryland State Police say that in the two weeks after the high court’s Bruen decision, they received over 7,000 concealed carry permit applications—up from just 1,000 during the same period in 2021.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who understands just how important the right to keep and bear arms is to the safety of Americans.
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 latest report on the subject by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just this year, a more comprehensive study concluded that roughly 1.6 million defensive gun uses occur in the United States every year.
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.)
The examples below represent only a fraction of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in October. You may explore more by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
- Oct. 3, Hartford, Connecticut: When two armed carjackers ambushed a driver and tried to steal his car at gunpoint, police said, the driver—a concealed carry permit holder—drew his own handgun and exchanged fire with the carjackers, killing one and wounding the other. Although injured, the driver was expected to recover. The surviving carjacking suspect was charged with several felonies, including first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, and criminal possession of a firearm.
- Oct. 4, Dunn, North Carolina: Police said a woman woke up at home to discover an intruder trying to steal several items—including her dog. She grabbed her handgun and, despite never having fired a gun before, successfully “shot [the intruder] out of the house.” Police said they later arrested the intruder, who was shot twice, and charged him with first- degree burglary.
- Oct. 7, Upper Southampton, Pennsylvania: Authorities said three men attacked a concealed carry permit holder as he walked to his vehicle outside a bar, repeatedly punching him in the face and knocking him down. The permit holder retrieved his firearm and shot at his assailants, fatally striking two and wounding the third before calling 911.
- Oct. 9, Church Road, Virginia: After a man fatally shot his father and two dogs during an argument, police said, an armed family friend intervened and held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived. Local law enforcement officials said his actions likely saved the lives of several others inside the home.
- Oct. 13, Chicago: A knife-wielding man attacked a woman as she entered a residential building, cutting her hands and thigh, police said. A second woman armed herself with a gun and intervened, shooting the assailant multiple times in the chest area. He was hospitalized in critical condition. His victim was treated at the same hospital.
- Oct. 14, Orlando, Florida: Police said the owner of a jewelry store confronted four would-be robbers, at least one armed, who stormed into his business and attempted a “smash and grab” robbery. The owner drew his own gun and shot at the intruders, fatally striking two and sending the other two running. The jeweler told reporters that many other store owners in the shopping mall also are concealed carry permit holders, explaining: “If you come to the Magic Mall and you want to commit a crime, there’s a really good chance you’re going to get shot.”
- Oct. 17, Gainesville, Georgia: Police said an armed good Samaritan shot and wounded a knife-wielding man who damaged several vehicles and threatened multiple people—including two female paramedics—during a mental health crisis. The good Samaritan and one paramedic were treated for minor injuries. The suspect, in critical condition, faced several serious criminal charges, including attempted murder.
- Oct. 21, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: A homeowner shot and wounded an intruder who kicked in his back door in the middle of the afternoon and then refused his order to leave, police said. The wounded intruder fled, but police found him nearby as he walked down a street carrying a large butcher knife. Police charged him with felony trespassing, attempted burglary, and making terroristic threats.
- Oct. 22, Las Vegas, Nevada: When a mentally disturbed man broke into a home, grabbed a kitchen knife, and threatened to kill everyone inside, the homeowner and his wife barricaded themselves in a second-floor bedroom. Police said the homeowner grabbed his gun and fired a warning shot, but the intruder continued trying to force his way inside. The homeowner fired the next round through the door, striking the man in the leg. Police arrested the intruder, who they said was the subject of several 911 calls that night and may have tried to break into other homes.
- Oct. 25, Edinburg, Texas: Police said a woman shot and wounded an intruder through the door of the bedroom in which she and her children were hiding. The intruder fled, but responding deputies found him about 100 yards from the home. He had entered the residence through a garage and continued trying to break down the bedroom door even after the woman warned him that she was armed and had called police.
- Oct. 27, Kokomo, Indiana: When a masked intruder tried to rob three apartment residents at gunpoint, police said, they fought back, knocking away the handgun as well as a second one the intruder reached for during the struggle. One resident retrieved his own firearm and held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived. No one inside the apartment was injured.
- Oct. 29, Hatchechubbee, Alabama: A woman fatally shot her estranged husband after he forced his way into her home, police said. The woman was in the process of having a restraining order reinstated against her husband after its recent expiration.
Given so many stories such as these, it’s little wonder why, Americans overwhelmingly choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights when given the opportunity to do so.
For too long, states such as New Jersey and Maryland have done everything in their power to limit the ability of law-abiding residents to defend themselves with firearms. Such states shouldn’t be shocked that so many residents now want the concealed carry permits that their states have denied them.
Americans want to defend themselves. They have a constitutional right to do so with firearms.
The best thing the government can do is to get out of their way.
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