Any week now, the Supreme Court will render its decision in the pivotal Second Amendment case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, where a majority seems poised to strike down New York laws that effectively prohibit law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms in public for self-defense.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, recently lamented the likely outcome of the case, telling reporters that city residents should be “very concerned” and noting that his administration “did our job of getting the guns off the streets.”
Respectfully, Mr. Mayor, your city’s soaring violent crime rates prove that you haven’t succeeded in getting guns off the streets. In fact, New York’s entire legal framework succeeds only in rendering law-abiding New Yorkers defenseless in the face of criminals who continue to illegally carry firearms and use them to commit heinous acts.
This reality was made painfully obvious during recent mass public shootings in New York state, including one Saturday in Buffalo where the perpetrator’s manifesto explained in detail how New York’s strict gun laws “put him at ease” by ensuring that his victims, even if armed, would have a more limited capacity to fight back.
The right to keep and bear arms plays a pivotal role in protecting law-abiding Americans when the government cannot or will not be there at the moment those Americans are victimized.
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.)
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in April. 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.)
- April 1, St. Paul: A man fatally shot his daughter’s ex-boyfriend after he kicked in the family’s front door in the middle of the night and threatened her, police said. The former boyfriend had a long history of domestic violence, including three prior convictions for domestic assault dating to 2006. He was facing additional domestic violence charges—all related to alleged physical assaults against the man and his daughter—and had active warrants out for his arrest.
- April 5, Somerset, Kentucky: A man was assaulting his girlfriend inside their home when a juvenile came to the woman’s defense, retrieved a handgun, and fatally shot her assailant, local officials said.
- April 7, Brownsboro, Texas: A would-be burglar who broke into a house by smashing through glass in the front door found himself face-to-face with the homeowner, who—armed with an AR-15—held him at gunpoint until police arrived. The burglar was arrested, but police said they were unable to locate a second, female suspect believed to be his accomplice.
- April 8, Melbourne, Florida: A man sitting in his truck outside a friend’s house was confronted by an acquaintance who, angry about an earlier argument, opened fire on him, police said. The man grabbed his own handgun and shot back. When the handgun jammed, the man—still under fire—grabbed an AR-15 from his backseat. During the ensuing shootout, he got out of the truck to use it as cover. He eventually retrieved a second AR-15 from his trunk and maintained his defensive fire until his assailant ran away. Police were able to find, arrest, and charge the man with several felonies. No one was injured during the shootout, police said.
- April 11, Las Vegas: A teenager was arguing with someone on a residential street when a neighbor, who was walking his dog, tried to intervene, police said. The teenager pointed a gun at the man and threatened him, but he was legally carrying his own gun and fatally shot the teen. Police said the man acted in lawful self-defense, wasn’t arrested, and won’t face charges.
- April 14, Charleston, South Carolina: A man called police to say that another driver had shot at him, but his story quickly fell apart when other witnesses reported that he was, in fact, the aggressor in a violent road rage incident. Officers arrested the man, who is accused of tailgating a female driver, throwing a soda can at her car, and then threatening her with a gun before firing several rounds at her. She grabbed her own gun from the glovebox and shot back in self-defense, police said.
- April 17, Philadelphia: Two armed men with fake badges impersonated police officers, forced their way inside a home, and attempted to zip-tie a resident’s hands, police said. The resident quickly realized that the men were not real cops, drew his own gun, and fatally shot one of them. The second intruder, who fled, was not immediately captured. The resident encouraged fellow Philadelphians who can legally own guns to buy one to protect themselves from violent crime.
- April 21, Brentwood, Tennessee: When a woman’s estranged husband violated a protection order and showed up at her apartment without permission, she called her father and brother for help, police said. When they arrived, the husband lunged at them, so the brother shot him three times, wounding him. Police said the husband would be charged with stalking and violating a protection order when he is released from a hospital.
- April 25, Cleveland: A man held a store employee at gunpoint and grabbed cash from an open register, police said. As he turned around to flee, another employee tried to follow him out, so he shot at her. This employee, however, was armed. She returned fire, striking the robber in the leg. Responding officers couldn’t find the injured robber, but recovered his abandoned backpack with the gun still inside.
- April 27, Princeton, West Virginia: A homeowner discovered a man breaking into his vehicle in the middle of the night, then held him at gunpoint until police arrived. Responding officers found several items in the man’s possession that had been stolen from area residents, including the backpack in which the man had placed the other items.
- April 29, Miami: An employee at a demolition and trash hauling company confronted a man who was trying to steal a catalytic converter from a car in the company lot, police said. Instead of fleeing, the would-be thief ran at the employee while wielding a saw, so the employee drew his firearm and shot him. The wounded thief dropped the catalytic converter and fled, but police later found him and his stolen getaway car.
It’s clear that, try as they might, law enforcement officers simply cannot be there to defend most citizens from violent crime at the moment they are victimized. The Second Amendment enables these innocent Americans to have more of a fighting chance against criminals who would harm them.
And what’s more, the data is clear that concealed carry permit holders are, as a class, one of the most law-abiding segments of the population.
Mr. Mayor, New York has nothing to fear from a future where its law-abiding citizens are allowed to defend themselves in public with firearms.
New York’s violent criminals, on the other hand? They should feel a little more afraid.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal