In a recent opinion piece in The Kansas City Star, sociology professor and military veteran Doug McGaw argues that the Second Amendment is “a relic of the 18th century” that needs to be repealed.
Although McGaw certainly is entitled to his opinion, his “argument” boils down to little more than a litany of common gun control talking points, all of which are readily refuted.
McGaw argues, for example, that the Second Amendment’s mention of a “well-regulated militia” refers to the National Guard. (It does not. Moreover, the right to keep and bear arms belongs broadly to “the people” and “shall not be infringed.”)
He insists that the Framers of the Constitution never anticipated modern advancements in firearms technology. (They did. They also intentionally protected “arms” as a concept instead of listing specific types of arms that existed in their own time).
Throughout the piece, McGaw dismisses any notion that the right to keep and bear arms has a role in securing the rights of peaceable Americans today. He not only thumbs his nose at the premise that “good guys with guns” are a solution to “bad guys with guns,” but flippantly suggests that there is little difference between the two.
“I assume that the good guys will be the ones in the white hats?” McGaw asks. “Otherwise, who can tell which is the good guy?”
This is silly, of course. It’s abundantly clear that the right to armed self-defense is just as important today as it was in 1791, when the Second Amendment was ratified.
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 defensive gun uses.)
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in July. You may explore more using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
- July 4, Las Vegas: An armed resident shot and killed an intruder who broke into his home during the middle of the day, police said.
- July 6, Chicago: Police said a homeowner called 911 after discovering that an unknown woman had climbed onto his roof via a construction site next door. A man and his wife called police three times to report the suspicious person, but it took officers 20 minutes to respond. The man told police he was forced to shoot and wound the trespasser before officers got there.
- July 8, Nashville, Tennessee: Police said an armed man was shot and killed when he attempted to rob a gas station early in the morning. The gunman jumped over a counter to confront a clerk, who produced his own gun and fired several rounds. The robber was dead when police arrived.
- July 12, Dothan, Alabama: A man with a knife approached his ex-girlfriend and a male acquaintance as they sat in their vehicle at a stoplight. The acquaintance ordered the man to back away, then shot and wounded him when he refused, police said. In 2020, a judge had ordered the man to “stay away from a woman who feared him,” but it wasn’t clear whether this was the same woman.
- July 15, Waco, Texas: A hotel guest heard women screaming for help during an altercation with a man in a hallway and tried to intervene, police said. The man became angry and attacked the other man who was trying to help, prompting the good Samaritan to draw his firearm and fatally shoot the assailant.
- July 16, Philadelphia: A woman returned to her apartment to find four intruders inside, police said. She shot and wounded two of them, who were arrested and charged with burglary. The other two intruders fled.
- July 18, Washington, D.C.: Police said two armed carjackers approached a man near his vehicle and demanded it at gunpoint. The victim, a concealed carry permit holder, shot one assailant. Police arrested the wounded carjacker, who faces serious criminal charges, including for felony weapons offenses. The second carjacker had not been identified or located.
- July 19, Neptune, Florida: After an intruder forced his way into an elderly couple’s home, he came face to face with the homeowner, who was armed and held him at gunpoint until police arrived. Police said the intruder apparently had been released from prison after doing time for attempted sexual battery in 2018. He faces felony burglary charges.
- July 22, Marion, Indiana: Two of a trio of assailants began shooting at a man who was changing a tire, police said. The man took cover behind his car, drew his own gun, and returned fire. A neighbor saw what was happening, armed himself, and fired one round at the assailants. The three fled, but police arrested one after he sought medical treatment for a gunshot wound. The other two were identified and subject to arrest under new warrants.
- July 23, Carmichael, California: Police said an apartment resident used his gun to protect himself and his family from an armed man with a violent past who, wrongly believing his ex-girlfriend was inside, fired several rounds into the unit and tried to kick in the door. The resident returned fire, wounding the attacker. The intruder “is the bad guy here, let’s not hide from that,” a spokesman for the county sheriff’s office bluntly told reporters. “That resident is a hero.”
- July 26, Fayetteville, North Carolina: During an argument with employees inside a mall food court, a man pulled a gun and fired at least one shot before being disarmed by an employee, police said. The man tried to flee but was stopped by an Army combat veteran, who held him at gunpoint until police arrived.
- July 27, Cassopolis, Michigan: An armed customer with a valid concealed carry permit shot and wounded a knife-wielding robber who threatened a gas station clerk, police said.
- July 29, Houston: Police said a woman shot and critically wounded her romantic partner after he cornered her in a closet and threatened her with a gun as she tried to pack her things and leave after an argument.
As these examples help demonstrate, more often than not it’s pretty easy to distinguish the “good guy with a gun” from the “bad guy with a gun.”
They don’t need different colored hats. It’s simply a matter of common sense—who was using a gun to harm the innocent, and who was using a gun to defend the innocent or ensure those who harm them are brought to justice?
With all due respect to McGaw, human nature hasn’t changed since 1791. And neither, therefore, has the utility of the right to keep and bear arms in self-defense.
The Second Amendment isn’t an outdated relic of another century, but an ever-necessary tool in an ever-present battle against those who would undermine the natural rights of others.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal