Last month, the University of Southern California’s Hollywood, Health & Society Program published “Trigger Warning: Gun Guidelines for Media,” a series of recommendations for the entertainment industry on how it should portray firearms.
Although some of these guidelines offer helpful suggestions, particularly about how the media should deal with the topic of suicide, the publication is aimed largely at motivating Hollywood to stigmatize lawful gun ownership.
The guidelines are highly critical of any attempts to portray the benefits of gun ownership, particularly for victims of domestic violence. They include a section on the “myth” of “the good guy with a gun” and are awash with heavily disputed (and often easily dispelled) talking points manufactured by gun control advocates.
USC’s guidelines may push Hollywood to “change the narrative” on guns, but nothing can change the facts—the right to keep and bear arms is a critical component of the natural, unalienable right of self-defense. And peaceable citizens rely on it all the time.
Almost every major study has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times annually, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged. 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 months and years. You also may follow @DailyDGU on Twitter for daily highlights of recent defensive gun uses.)
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in May. You may explore more using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
- May 1, Beaumont, Texas: Police said several would-be robbers assaulted a delivery driver, shooting and critically wounding him. The driver, however, returned fire with his own gun to fend off his attackers. Police arrested one suspect three weeks later on charges of aggravated robbery and deadly conduct.
- May 5, Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Two armed intruders broke into a home, tasered the family’s dog, and held the homeowner’s son at gunpoint, police said. The homeowner retrieved a firearm and fired multiple rounds at both intruders, killing one and injuring the other. The surviving suspect is charged with a slew of felonies, including aggravated burglary and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
- May 8, Coarsegold, California: Police said a woman’s ex-boyfriend broke into her current residence and assaulted a male resident with a knife, stabbing him in the head and chest. The man retrieved his handgun and shot his assailant, wounding him. The ex-boyfriend is charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
- May 10, Las Vegas: A driver fatally shot an armed man who tried to carjack him while fleeing from police. Officers initially tried to stop the man based on reports that he was spray-painting graffiti, but he ran when confronted. Officers saw a gun in the man’s hand and pursued him, but briefly lost sight of him after he ran into traffic. The man pointed his gun at passing cars, stopping one driver’s vehicle at gunpoint before his intended victim shot him, police said.
- May 11, Glendale, Arizona: A homeowner shot and wounded a knife-wielding burglar who tried to stab him after being confronted while breaking in, police said. The homeowner told reporters that he believes the same burglar previously broke into his garage and stole several items, including a bike. The injured suspect was hospitalized and expected to recover.
- May 12, Nichols, South Carolina: Police said a homeowner exchanged gunfire with a drunk man who, angry at being asked to leave, threatened the homeowner with a gun. The homeowner punched the drunk man in the face, then ran behind his own truck for cover as the other man shot at him. He retrieved a loaded rifle from his truck and returned fire until the man drove away, police said. Officers later arrested the man for attempted murder.
- May 15, Houston: A woman’s ex-boyfriend shot her as she arrived for work at a day care center, then began firing at a man with her, police said. Both the man and the woman returned fire, wounding the ex-boyfriend. The woman was hospitalized in stable condition; her companion wasn’t hurt. The ex-boyfriend faces several criminal charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm.
- May 20, Kirkland, Washington: When a father began physically assaulting his son, a family friend living on the property tried to intervene, police said. The father threatened to burn down the friend’s trailer, retrieved a firearm, and fired several shots into the ground near where his son stood. The friend, fearing for everyone’s safety, grabbed his own gun and shot the father in the arm, wounding him. The father faces several felony charges.
- May 24, Philadelphia: A legally armed woman defended herself from a man who smashed her car window with a crowbar during a road rage incident, shooting the man once in the groin, police said. Critically injured, the attacker fled in his car, but officers found him several blocks away.
- May 24, Chicago: A retired police officer intervened as his neighbor was being carjacked by an armed man, exchanging gunfire with the carjacker until he fled, police said. The 78-year-old retired officer, who fired 12 rounds during the exchange, told reporters that he intentionally kept two rounds unfired in case other assailants appeared. He sustained a minor wound; his neighbor wasn’t injured.
- May 27, Memphis, Tennessee: Police said a store owner shot and wounded an armed man who tried to carjack a driver right outside the business, then threatened patrons and employees inside.
- May 29, Little Rock, Arkansas: A pregnant woman shot and wounded a man who attacked her husband as he packed up their car after a Memorial Day family outing, then began punching the woman in the face, police said. The husband, who suffered a broken rib, told reporters that he is thankful his wife was armed and able to protect the family. Neither of their two children, present at the time, were harmed.
USC’s “Trigger Warning” informs leaders in the entertainment industry that “your stories matter” because they can persuade [read: manipulate] viewers when it comes to their opinions on gun control.
Apparently, far less important are the types of real-life stories such as those highlighted above, where peaceable Americans successfully use their firearms to defend their lives and their livelihoods.
These stories don’t fit the gun control narrative, but they certainly matter, too.
And we will keep telling these stories, even if Hollywood won’t.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal