Gun control advocates have spent the past two years losing their minds over the Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, a case that affirmed citizens’ right to publicly carry a firearm for self-defense.

One of the commonly repeated criticisms of Bruen has been that the high court’s ruling is dangerous because allowing ordinary peaceable citizens to carry concealed handguns in public would increase rates of gun violence.

In a strange twist of events, some of those same gun control advocates now admit—unintentionally and with no sense of irony—that violent crime rates are actually on the decline in those restrictive gun control states forced by Bruen to recognize the right to bear arms in public.

Giffords, a prominent gun control advocacy organization, previously condemned the Bruendecision as “extremist,” arguing that it would “drastically affect the safety of a large swath of the U.S. population” by “escalating gun violence, leading ever more people to feel unsafe in their own communities.”

Two years later, while retweeting an article that criticizes conservatives for asserting that President Joe Biden’s failed border policies are partially responsible for an increase in crime rates (even though significant evidence suggests that this claim is false), Giffords now highlights a claim that crime rates are actually falling.

Gun control advocates can’t seem to get their story straight. Crime rates often appear to increase or decrease depending on whichever is most useful to the gun control narrative.

The truth is that lawful gun owners—and concealed carry permit holders, in particular—have never been the driving force behind criminal gun violence. At the same time, the right to keep and bear arms in self-defense offers ordinary Americans significant protection against threats to life, liberty, and property.

Almost every major study 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. In 2021, the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the issue concluded that roughly 1.6 million defensive gun uses occur in the United States every year.

For this reason, The Daily Signal publishes a monthly 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 past years)

The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in February. You may explore more using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.)

  • Feb. 5, Jackson, Mississippi: After arguing over text messages with a contractor for a water utility, police said, a man drove up to the house where the contractor was working and opened fire. The contractor and a member of his crew returned fire, striking the assailant three times. While fleeing, the wounded attacker soon crashed his getaway vehicle. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, police said.
  • Feb. 5, Marysville, Washington: Three armed men in a stolen car approached a homeowner as he pulled into his driveway, police said. The homeowner, also armed, engaged his assailants in a shootout, apparently hitting at least one, until they ran away. After an hourslong manhunt involving drones and K-9 units, police detained one suspect with a gunshot wound. Neither the homeowner nor anyone else in the neighborhood was injured, police said.
  • Feb. 6, Philadelphia: A gunman began shooting at a mechanic outside an auto shop, wounding a 12-year-old boy, police said. The boy’s father, who was getting his car fixed and wasn’t the gunman’s intended target, drew his own handgun and fired back to defend himself and his son until the gunman fled. The mechanic was seriously wounded, police said. The boy, who suffered a grazing wound to the head, was treated and released from a hospital.
  • Feb. 10, Tipp City, Ohio: An armed resident fatally shot two pit bulls who wandered onto his property and attacked his own dog, police said. The resident initially tried to scare off the pit bulls by yelling and firing a warning shot from his rifle. As the two pit bulls became more aggressive, however, he used his handgun to protect himself and his dog.
  • Feb. 11, Surprise, Arizona: After an argument broke out between customers waiting in a Taco Bell drive-through, a man got out of his car and threatened the occupants of another vehicle with a gun. A passenger in that car, also armed, fatally shot the gun-wielding assailant, police said.
  • Feb. 13, Houston: A man sleeping in the back seat of his truck used his AR-15 to shoot and kill an armed burglar who broke into the vehicle and tried to rob him, police said. The assailant had already burglarized other vehicles in the same parking lot, investigators said.
  • Feb. 19, Swansea, Massachusetts: A courier depositing money at a bank drop box was accosted by two armed robbers who forced him to the ground and tied his hands behind his back, police said. The robbers tried to disarm the courier, a concealed carry permit holder who had a holstered gun on his hip. When the courier resisted, the robbers pepper-sprayed him. But he was eventually able to free one hand, draw his gun, and fire three rounds at the robbers, causing them to flee in a stolen U-Haul van. A suspect was later arrested and charged with several offenses, including armed robbery with a firearm, police said.
  • Feb. 21, Memphis, Tennessee: A woman shot and wounded the father of her children after he smashed a window, forced his way into her home, and assaulted her, police said. The two had gotten into an argument earlier that day over alleged infidelity, and the woman put his belongings outside for him. When the man arrived, he became confrontational and then violent, police said. The woman fled the house but he followed, prompting her to shoot him once in the leg before asking a neighbor to call police.
  • Feb. 22, Palm Beach, Florida: During a road-rage incident, a man pointed his handgun at another driver who had two children in his car, police said. Fearing for his and his children’s lives, the other driver pulled out his own gun and fired it at the assailant in self-defense. The assailant was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, police said.
  • Feb. 27, Nashville, Tennessee: A rideshare driver fatally shot a passenger who became agitated during the ride, then pulled a gun on him and started making threats. The rideshare driver first called 911 by using an “SOS alert” on his smartwatch, which was also connected to his wireless headphones. That call was eventually disconnected because the dispatcher didn’t pick up on the driver’s “quiet hints” about the situation. The driver made a second call about 15 minutes later, after he had apparently been able to access his own gun and shoot the would-be kidnapper.
  • Feb. 28, Atlanta: Police said an armed man confronted his ex-girlfriend and her family outside her home, then fired shots into the air. After he refused to leave, the ex-girlfriend’s mom shot and wounded the man, who was detained by law enforcement.

Even during the “safest” times, we will never live in a society where violent crime ceases to exist, or where law enforcement can protect the innocent from every harm.

The right to keep and bear arms always will remain essential to a free state, and law-abiding Americans always will be the first line of defense for themselves and their loved ones against threats to their life, liberty, and property.

Gun control activists’ reactions to the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision never were based in reality. They were emotion-driven responses designed to evoke irrational fear in people who didn’t know any better.

We’re glad they’re finally willing to admit they got it wrong.

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