After mass public shootings in Colorado and Virginia last month, President Joe Biden appeared to call for a ban on all semiautomatic firearms.
Biden told reporters: “The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.”
It’s certainly possible that the president misspoke, and accidentally conflated all semiautomatic firearms with so-called assault weapons—although such a gaffe would be laden with irony, given that so-called assault weapons are functionally identical to other semiautomatic firearms in the first place.
Regardless of whether Biden meant to call for a ban on all semiautomatic firearms or just those with pistol grips or collapsing stocks, his words continue to evidence a disdain for the underlying rationale of the Second Amendment—the inalienable right of self-defense.
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 November. You may explore more by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
- Nov. 1, Wyoming, Michigan: Three masked individuals entered a store to conduct a “takeover robbery” against a lone clerk, attempting to physically overwhelm him by sheer force of numbers. Police said the clerk turned the tables, drawing his legally owned handgun and shooting one of the would-be robbers in the chest. The three ran away, but the wounded robber—only 15—was taken into custody after a passerby found him and called 911, police said.
- Nov. 2, St. Louis: An armed repairman came to a woman’s rescue after a neighbor opened fire on her. Police said the repairman sprinted down the street to confront the gunman, then dragged the injured woman behind a car for safety and rendered first aid. His actions caused the gunman to retreat inside his home, where he was arrested after a stand-off with law enforcement.
- Nov. 6, Warner Robbins, Georgia: A man waiting for an oil change intervened to stop a kidnapping, following a child’s distressed cries into some woods, police said. He discovered someone on top of the child, choking him. The good Samaritan drew his firearm, grabbed the child away, and detained the kidnapper at gunpoint until police arrived. The assailant was charged with aggravated assault and cruelty to a child.
- Nov. 9, Oakton, Virginia: Police said a homeowner acted in self-defense when he fatally shot a man who started a fight with him in his own yard, hit him over the head with a large rock, and followed him inside while carrying the rock. The homeowner’s wife and two young children were house at the time, but they apparently weren’t injured.
- Nov. 9, Chandler, Arizona: The hunt for a suspect in a fatal shooting ended several blocks away from the crime scene after an armed resident detained him at gunpoint, police said. After the resident saw the man near a shed in his backyard, the man began to assault him and another resident when confronted. The resident then armed himself and was able to hold the suspect until police arrived.
- Nov. 12, Seattle: Police said an armed ride-share driver assisted a young woman in her harrowing escape from a violent sex trafficker, offering the woman shelter in his car and then engaging in a rolling shootout with her pursuer while calling 911. The man’s actions not only saved the woman’s life, but ultimately helped to take down a multistate trafficking enterprise investigators said.
- Nov. 14, Franklin, Ohio: Just hours after returning home from a hospital stay, a partially blind man shot and wounded an intruder who admitted to targeting the home because he believed the resident was still hospitalized, police said. Officers found the intruder hiding in a nearby shed with a wound to his rear end. The man, who has a lengthy criminal history, was the subject of an active warrant for an unrelated incident of domestic violence.
- Nov. 17, Covert, New York: An armed resident helped end a manhunt for a burglar who broke into two homes and may have stolen a handgun, police said. The armed resident confronted the suspect as he tried to break into a third home and detained him at gunpoint. Officers said they recovered a gun stolen by the suspect, who was on parole for a string of burglaries he was convicted of committing in 2014.
- Nov. 20, Philadelphia: When a man tried to rob a dollar store, the armed manager drew his own firearm and shot the robber multiple times in the chest, leg, and groin, police said. The manager was not hurt. Based on the address provided in news reports, it appears this was the second time in just six months that an armed manager successfully thwarted a robber at this store; it is not clear, though, whether both incidents involved the same manager.
- Nov. 23, Chicago: Four carjackers tried to steal a woman’s car at gunpoint, but had the tables turned on them, police said. The woman—who had a concealed carry permit—drew her own gun and opened fire, striking one assailant in the head and leaving him in critical condition. One of the other carjackers shot her in the arm as she tried to run away, but she was expected to recover.
- Nov. 28, College Park, Georgia: A food bank manager quickly ended a police chase for an armed car thief, investigators said. The thief fled from officers after crashing a stolen car, but the manager held the suspect at gunpoint behind the food bank until the officers could catch up. Police said the suspect and his accomplice, also arrested, destroyed a nearby bus stop in the crash.
As these defensive gun uses show, a “redeeming social value” clearly exists when ordinary, law-abiding Americans can exercise their right to keep and bear arms. That redeeming value doesn’t change just because a firearm has a pistol grip or barrel shroud.
Americans are not made safer when there more barriers are placed between them and their Second Amendment rights. They’re made safer when they have the practical ability to defend themselves and others when it matters most.
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