What follows is a list containing examples of everyday Americans doing exactly what the left decries as a fabrication of the mind — namely, using firearms to defend their own lives and the lives of others.
In January 2015, Politico magazine described the whole idea behind “defensive gun ownership” as a “tragic myth.” And in October 2015, The New York Times said the idea of average citizens drawing their guns to keep themselves safe is a “foolhardy notion.” More recently — on December 1, 2016 — the NYT suggested it is a “fantasy that citizens can stand up to gunmen by shooting it out.”
Do not tell that to the following 20 individuals who used guns defensively to defend their own lives and the lives of others during 2016:
- On January 4, a 65-year-old Manchester, New Hampshire, grandmother used a gun for self-defense after being followed home from the gas station around 11:30 pm. The grandmother was on her way home from work when she stopped at the station, and she noticed a car following her. When she pulled into her parking garage, the car pulled in behind her, and a tall male exited the vehicle then stood between the grandmother and the only path she had to her apartment. He allegedly demanded her purse then reached out to grab her arm. At that point, she shot him. WFEA Radio quoted the grandmother saying her gun is “always locked and loaded.”
- On January 22, a barber and a barbershop customer opened fire on two armed men who allegedly entered the Columbia, South Carolina, Next Up Barber and Beauty shop to rob customers. One of the permit holders was Master Barber Elmurray Bookman and the other was a customer sitting in a barber chair. Bookman told WLTX that one of the masked men asked the unidentified customer for money, and the customer told him it was over by another chair. When the men moved toward the other chair to retrieve the money, the customer opened fire and Bookman opened fire as well. The Columbia Police Department reported that one of the two masked men fled the business after being shot “multiple times.” Police discovered his body outside.
- On February 14, an Ontario, California, homeowner shot and killed an alleged intruder “during a short struggle” in the entryway of the home. The incident occurred about 5 a.m., and the Los Angeles Times reported that the homeowner’s wife called 911 to say “her husband opened fire on a man who was trying to forcibly enter their home.” When police arrived, they found the suspect — a 26-year-old Los Angeles man — dead in the home’s entryway.
- On February 22, a 71-year-old homeowner fired three rounds at an alleged home intruder, striking the suspect twice in the chest. The homeowner, Tony Pitts, is a disabled gentleman who lives in Hickory, North Carolina. WSOC TV reported that Pitts was lying in bed when he heard knocks at the front door. He did not answer because it was so late, but he was soon drawn out of bed by the sound of shattering glass. Pitts said, “I’m disabled and somebody kicks the door in, I got to do something.” He allegedly saw the suspect coming through the door and he fired three rounds, striking the would-be intruder twice and ending the incident. The suspect survived and was arrested.
- On March 8, a 65-year-old homeowner on a dialysis machine pulled a gun to prevent a would-be home invader from entering his apartment. Fox 35 quoted deputies who said the suspect allegedly “cut open a screen door and entered the [would-be] victim’s place through a patio.” At that point, the resident picked up his dialysis machine and his gun, walked over to the window, and tapped on the glass with gun. The resident said, “Just wanted to let him know, I’ve got a gun.” The would-be intruder got the message and fled the scene.
- On March 12, a concealed carry permit holder shot and killed a man who was allegedly swinging a hatchet at customers and a store clerk in a Seattle-area 7-Eleven. According to Q13 Fox, the “store clerk says the masked man entered the store and immediately started swinging a hatchet toward a customer — then he turned his sights on the clerk.” The clerk was struck in the stomach and suffered “minor injuries” before the attack was stopped by an armed customer who shot the suspect. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.
- On March 17, a man eating a sandwich in a Whataburger parking lot opened fire on two suspects who allegedly tried to rob him. The San Antonio Express reported that one of the suspects was killed and police confirmed that the deceased suspect “did have a pistol.”
- On March 31, an elderly man on oxygen opened fire on two suspects who allegedly invaded his home to steal narcotics. According to the Daily Journal, two men came to the elderly man’s home in Washington County, Missouri. One of the two was known to the elderly man, the second of the two was wearing a mask. The two men allegedly accosted the elderly man and threw him across the couch, and he landed very near the place where he keeps his gun. He was able to grab it and open fire, critically wounding one of the two suspects. Both suspects fled the scene after shots were fired.
- On April 20, a Stanton, Kentucky, man violated a protective order to confront his girlfriend and died when she opened fire with a shotgun. WKYT quoted Kentucky State Police who said 32-year-old “Steven Strange confronted 32-year-old Melissa Roberts inside her Stanton home.” Roberts responded by shooting Strange in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun. Roberts faced no charges for the shooting.
- On April 27, an 11-year-old homeschool student opened fire on a burglary suspect, striking him in the leg. The incident occurred in Talladega, Alabama. According to WVTM 13, the boy said the robbery suspect was “crying like a baby” after being shot.
- On April 28, an 80-year-old woman shot and killed a man who allegedly stabbed her husband and invaded their home. The incident occurred in Sultan, Washington, around 8:30 pm. The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office told Fox 8 that the 25-year-old intruder entered the home and stabbed the husband “multiple times in the abdomen.” The wife shot the intruder, who died on scene. The husband was in stable condition.
- On June 25, a mother in Portland, Oregon, opened fire on a suspect she discovered in one of her children’s bedrooms. The incident occurred around 2 a.m., and CBS News reported that the mother “shot the man… with her personal handgun after a confrontation.” The children were not harmed.
- On June 27, a concealed carry permit holder stopped an attempted mass shooting outside Playoffz nightclub in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. According to WISTV, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office says it was about 3:30 a.m. when “32-year-old Jody Ray Thompson pulled out a gun after getting into an argument with another man.” He reportedly “fired several rounds toward a crowd that had gathered out in front of the club.” Thompson shot and wounded three people when he opened fire. The individual who would have been his fourth target, an unnamed concealed permit holder, ended the incident by pulling his own gun and shooting Thompson.
- On July 12, a Flagler County, Florida, homeowner shot and killed one of two alleged armed men who had “unlawfully” entered his home. The Daytona Beach News-Journal quoted the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) report that said, “Five adults and a 2-year-old were inside the home when the incident unfolded.” One of the residents, 21-year-old Darien Corbett, said that “he and his roommates were vacuuming a new rug” when he heard someone trying to kick in the front door. Corbett retrieved his handgun and opened the door, only to find himself staring down the barrel of a gun. Corbett “closed [his] eyes and shot twice,” striking one of the suspects. The wounded suspect died at the scene.
- On July 12, a robbery suspect with an AK-47 entered a DeSoto, Texas, Waffle House and was shot and critically wounded by a concealed carry permit holder. The Dallas Morning News reported that the permit holder “called out” to distract the robber and prevent him from targeting the permit holder’s wife. The robber then turned toward the permit holder, pointing the AK-47 at him, and the permit holder “shot the robber several times.” The alleged robber — 26-year-old Antione Devon Cooper — was taken to a hospital and placed on life support. No charges were filed against the concealed permit holder.
- On August 2, a 15-year-old in Coos County, Oregon, used a shotgun to stop and alleged home invader. The incident occurred just after 8:20 a.m. According to KCBY, the burglar entered the home and began rummaging around for things to steal. As he did, the 15-year-old made his way toward a shotgun and armed himself. The teen was then “in fear of his safety and shot the burglar in the leg with the shotgun.” The suspect was hospitalized in serious “but not life-threatening” condition.
- On September 15, a woman in Gwinnett County, Georgia, opened fire on three home invasion suspects who allegedly kicked in her door around 4 a.m. WSBTV reported that the woman and a man were in bed when they heard the sound of people kicking their way into the home. The woman grabbed her gun, confronted the invasion suspects, and gunfire was exchanged. Police said 28-year-old Antonia Leeks was shot and killed in the gun battle. The other two suspects fled the scene.
- On November 14, a customer in Porfirio’s II Pizza used a Glock handgun to shoot and kill one robbery suspect while leaving a second suspect in “serious condition.” Levittown Now quoted police, saying, “Two employees were inside Porfirio’s II Pizza and the customer was standing inside when the two robbers, both of whom were armed with handguns, entered the shop around 10 p.m.” The suspects ordered everyone to the ground and allegedly “began pistol-whipping the customer.” The customer then pulled his Glock and opened fire, striking both suspects. The armed citizen was not seriously injured.
- On November 14, an armed passerby intervened and saved a sheriff’s deputy who was under attack on the side of the road. According to WZVN, a Lee County sheriff’s deputy tried to pull a suspect over shortly after 9:30 a.m. in Estero, Florida. The suspect accelerated — “reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour” — and the deputy gave chase. At an off-ramp near Corkscrew Road the suspect got out of his car, walked back to the deputy’s car, and began to beat him. An armed passerby intervened and ordered the suspect to stop, but he refused. The deputy could be heard yelling, “Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him.” The passerby fired three shots, and the suspect collapsed on top of the deputy. The deputy was treated at a hospital and released.
- On December 26, a Mableton, Georgia, gun store owner shot and killed one of two suspects who allegedly tried to rob his business. According to Action News 5, store owner Jimmy Groover said that “two men wearing masks came in with guns drawn, demanding that he get on the floor, while shouting they were going to kill him.” But Groover was wearing a handgun on his hip and, according to Fox 13 Memphis, “Police said [Groover] pulled out his gun and fired, hitting one of the gunmen.” Police arrived to find shattered glass and the body of one of the suspects on the floor. The second suspect escaped.
It is important to note that this list of armed citizens using guns for self-defense could have been many, many times longer than 20 examples, but we chose to keep the list concise that it might serve as a convenient reminder that “self-defense gun ownership” is not a “tragic myth.” In fact, owning a gun for self-defense is part of American heritage and culture, and it allows the vulnerable to quickly level the playing field when under attack.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.