Second Amendment Isn’t About Deer in Kevlar Vests, Mr. President, as These 11 Incidents Show

COMMENTARY Firearms

Second Amendment Isn’t About Deer in Kevlar Vests, Mr. President, as These 11 Incidents Show

Sep 27, 2022 6 min read

Commentary By

Amy Swearer @AmySwearer

Legal Fellow, Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

Holden Edwards

Fall 2022 member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation

A woman (not pictured) fatally shot an intruder who broke into her home while she was taking a shower. RichLegg / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

President Joe Biden’s most recent speech on gun control showed, once again, that he has little respect for gun owners or the Second Amendment.

The examples below represent only a fraction of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in August.

As these examples show, the main priority of most lawful gun owners isn’t to score an eight-point buck or become an Olympic marksman.

President Joe Biden’s most recent speech on gun control showed, once again, that he has little respect for gun owners or the Second Amendment. Consider, for example, where Biden mocked (and not for the first time) gun owners as being afraid of “deer in Kevlar vests” simply because they want to defend themselves and their families with the same guns that law enforcement officers use to protect the president and his family.

It was just one unserious moment among many in a completely unserious speech in which Biden also reminded gun owners that they should just comply with gun control because, after all, he could just carpet-bomb them into submission.

Unfortunately, the president never will be able to talk seriously about the Second Amendment until he understands one fundamental reality about the right to keep and bear arms—it is not about hunting or sport shooting.

It’s about the natural right of self-defense, ensuring that individuals and communities have the practical means to forcibly resist those who would infringe on their other inalienable rights—whether that infringement comes from a criminal, tyrannical government, or an invading army.

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 August. You may explore more by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. 

  • Aug. 2, Auburn, Washington: A gas station clerk fatally shot a 19-year-old who tried to rob the store at gunpoint, police said. The gas station is no stranger to high-profile crimes. In 2018, two teenage boys made headlines for stealing from the store after another clerk had a medical emergency and collapsed; one teen actually stole a dollar bill out of the unconscious clerk’s hand.
  • Aug. 3, Indianapolis: A homeowner’s daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend were sitting in a car just outside the house when a teenager with a gun and several others tried to rob them. An armed individual intervened and shot at the robbers, fatally wounding the teen, police said, although it wasn’t clear whether the armed person was one of the two victims or the homeowner himself. The other robbers fled, police said.
  • Aug. 7, Middletown, Ohio: Police said that they wouldn’t charge an Amazon delivery driver who shot and wounded a man who attacked him with a knife while high on drugs. Unfortunately, even though the driver acted in lawful self-defense and told reporters that he’d be dead if he hadn’t been carrying his firearm, Amazon “deactivated” the father of three as a delivery driver.
  • Aug. 7, West Palm Beach, Florida: A concealed carry permit holder fatally shot a gunman who brandished a short-barreled shotgun at a family gathering and threatened to “shoot the crowd up,” police said. The gunman refused to drop his firearm even after several people confronted him, police said, so the permit holder shot him.
  • Aug. 12, Jessup, Pennsylvania: A woman shot and wounded her husband after he shook her and threw her to the ground during an argument, bruising her head and ribs, police said. The argument began after the man came home from a friend’s house and his wife tried to deescalate the situation before it turned physical. Police arrested the husband, who was charged with assault and harassment.
  • Aug. 15, Milwaukee: A woman fatally shot an intruder who broke into her home while she was taking a shower. The woman’s two teenage children began screaming, so she raced to her bedroom to grab her gun. She found the intruder in a hallway being attacked by her two dogs, then shot him multiple times because “he wouldn’t stop coming” at her, police said. The woman says she bought the gun 10 years ago to protect herself and her children after finding a stranger under her son’s bed.
  • Aug. 16, Lexington, South Carolina: Local police determined that a man was justified in fatally shooting his wife’s brother after he broke into his home wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a rifle, handcuffs, and a metal chain. The man sustained non-life-threatening injuries during an exchange of gunfire; his wife was not injured. The gunman previously had made threats against the couple, police said.
  • Aug. 20, Ontario, Oregon: A man had been working in a shed when he walked into his kitchen and was confronted by an armed intruder, who turned out to be a fugitive on Idaho’s “most wanted” list. Police said the intruder demanded that the man make him a sandwich. After complying, the man asked to check on his wife, who had been reading in another room. The intruder acquiesced, and the man went to his bedroom and returned with a shotgun. The man shot and wounded the intruder after a brief physical altercation, police said.
  • Aug. 22, Chicago: A concealed carry permit holder shot and wounded a would-be carjacker who opened fire on him as he walked to his car late at night. The permit holder was not injured.
  • Aug. 28, Detroit: Witnesses told police that when a 19-year-old gunman who already had killed three people—seemingly at random—shot and wounded a fourth victim, an armed bystander intervened. He drew his own gun and shot at the gunman until he fled. The bystander’s actions almost certainly saved the life of the fourth victim, an elderly man walking his dog.
  • Aug. 31, Pasadena, Texas: A woman fatally shot a man who harassed and threatened her co-worker in a parking lot outside their workplace, then assaulted her when she tried to intervene. The woman lawfully possessed her handgun, police said, and neither she nor her co-worker was injured.

As these examples show, the main priority of most lawful gun owners isn’t to score an eight-point buck or become an Olympic marksman. It’s to ensure that if someone should threaten them, their livelihoods, or those around them, God forbid, these gun owners are capable of adequately defending themselves.

It’s time for the president to retire his old trope about “deer in Kevlar vests” and show himself much more willing to treat the Second Amendment—and those Americans who exercise the rights protected under it—with significantly more respect.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal