As always with the Defensive Gun Use Report, we go past gun statistics to show real word examples of everyday citizens using guns in self defense.
Some quick ground rules and limitations regarding what we do and do not cover in the report for those of you reading for the first time:
We can only cover stories the stories we find
Despite the fact that they happen every day, Defensive Gun Use stories are often hard to find. They typically get only local coverage, sometimes as little as a small blurb in the local paper. If you see a Defensive Gun Use story and would like to help make this report as comprehensive as possible, send it to us through the Contact Us form below, through Gmail (email@example.com), or through Twitter or Facebook.
We only include clear cut self defense cases
Yes, we leave some stories off because they are ambiguous or simply don't have enough information to call them defensive gun uses. It's that whole, they barely get covered issue.
On to the report!
The past month has been marked with more gun news than any month in I can remember. From the Clackamas Mall Shooter in Portland, the gunman at the Mayan 14 theater in San Antonio, and the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown to the push for gun control measures that have no bearing on these attacks it's been quite the month.
Predictably, the tragedies brought out both the best and the worst in people. The initial reaction was to ask what could be done to stop similar attacks and the national conversation turned to a variety of options with gun control and mental health taking front stage. What could have been a real dialogue about these issues was quickly hijacked to push an agenda that had no connection to the events of those attacks.
While it's not popular to say, gun control worked in all three of the tragedies. In each case the guns were stolen, not legally owned - showing yet again that gun control laws only affect the law abiding. Now the push for a revised Assault Weapons Ban is in full force including a law limiting magazines to 10 rounds of ammunition. Nobody could ever need more than 10 rounds, right? I mean, who was ever attacked by multiple armed people at once?
Christmas Eve (Nevada) Police report "a multitude of gunfire" as four home invaders attack a couple and their newborn.
December 3rd (California) A homeowner fights back as three armed men attempt a home invasion robbery.
December 23rd (California) During a sleepover for his daughters friends, a homeowner fights back against multiple armed intruders.
December 4th (North Carolina) Confronted by two armed robbers, store manager fights back.
December 6th (California) An elderly man is attacked by three youths vandalizing his property.
December 15th (Ohio) Homeowner fights back against four intruders. One intruder is killed in the gunfight.
December 14th (Georgia) Four home invaders attack... only three leave as man defends family.
December 19th (Texas) A couple comes home, attacked by intruders waiting inside.
December 18th (Georgia) One of two home invaders dies jumping out of a window to escape an armed resident.
December 3rd (Texas) God Bless Texas: Neighbor stops, handcuffs robbers at gunpoint.
Shortly after gun control advocates started to politicize tragedy, NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre put forth a response. While the speech left many people feeling there was a lost opportunity and had some members of the press corps mocking the NRA and gun owners on an open mic, there was one line that certainly held true - and it was a quote from Colonel Jeff Cooper:
The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun
One of the details that was... umm... passed over by the news networks was that of the three "mass shooting" incidents in December (Portland, San Antonio, and Newtown) two of them were stopped very early on by- wait for it - good guys with guns.
Good Guy With A Gun #1: The gunman at the Clackamas Town Center mall near Portland was confronted by a concealed carrier. As countless law enforcement officers and experts have said, the concealed carrier did everything he could have and caused the gunman to stop his rampage and take his own life. And contrary to the image of concealed carriers currently being portrayed in the press as "wanna-be Rambos", Nick did this without taking a shot because there were innocent people behind the gunman. Sometimes it really does just take a good guy with a gun.
Good Guy With A Gun #2: A gunman in San Antonio was upset about having been dumped. He then opened fire in a restaurant and followed people across the parking lot into the Mayan 14 movie theater. Working security at the theater that day was off-duty Sheriff's Deputy Sergeant Lisa Castellano. When Lisa heard the gunshots she did what heroes do - ran towards the gunfire. She saw the shooter with his gun drawn and shot him four times ending his rampage.
Neither of those stories got mainstream media coverage - I'll leave the reasons why for everyone to determine on their own. What I will say is that both situations show that Colonel Cooper was correct, no matter how politically incorrect it is these days.
Good Guys (and Gals) With Guns: Portland's Nick Meli and San Antonio's Sergeant Lisa Castellano
One of the more disturbing parts of gun control legislation is how nobody mentions that gun control takes the weakest and most vulnerable in our society - the elderly, people with disabilities , pregnant women, etc - and removes their one chance of protecting themselves. Ultimately, guns are an equalizer - they put everyone that has one on an equal footing. I guess it doesn't really matter - I mean, no one in that situation ever gets attacked or has to defend themselves, right?
December 5th (Arizona) A pregnant woman, home alone, confronts two would-be home invaders. Would-be intruder limps away.
December 5th (North Carolina) Home sick from school, a boy sees an intruder trying to break into the house and shoots at him. Robber leaves.
December 5th (Georgia) 77-year-old grandmother opens fire after man breaks window and tries to come into her house. Robber leaves.
December 26th (Texas) Home alone with her two children, woman is attacked as ex-boyfriend breaks in. She uses her handgun to stop the beating and defend herself and her children.
Self defense isn't like the movies - it's not funny, pretty, or cool looking and sadly, the hero doesn't always win as we found out in several stories this month. While the image put forth of gun owners as cowboys looking for a fight, most gun owners are acutely aware that avoiding a fight is better than getting into one. Carrying a gun does not guarantee your safety, it guarantees you a chance at safety:
December 2nd (Texas) A store clerk stops robbers once. They returned and attacked him again while he waited for police to arrive. Yes, he was attacked a second time while waiting for police.
Christmas Day (Kentucky) Two men asked a 61-year-old for some gasoline. When he returned to them with gasoline, they opened fire. Wounded multiple times, he shoots back.
December 22nd (Florida) A man was killed while protecting his friends from two armed robbers.
We found a total of 84* Defensive Gun Uses this month, with 30 states showing at least 1 DGU for the month. Texas leads the way again with 16 - the question is whether it's because it happens more in Texas or because they report DGU's better there. Rounding out the top 5 this month were California, Florida, Georgia, and Ohio. We found more than 30 cases of multiple attackers this month however we didn't want to flood the DGU with just those stories.
We can't stress enough is that these are only the stories we are able to find in the news. If you hear of stories local to you or anywhere, send them to us so that we can continue to expand the database.
You can search all of the reports on our site (use the search feature if you are only interested in a specific state). We are working on a searchable database for DGU events that will combine all of the reports and have some great tools. Since we are not a sponsored site at this time, this will take a little while to get in place so please bear with us.
Favorite stories of the month:
Gramps... it has to be gramps. A 79-year-old man heard his granddaughter having a fight with an friend of hers. Suddenly she fled the house and the friend chased her. Then he started beating her. As grandpa went to break up the fight, the girls friend threatened him with a stun gun and continued attacking her. Grandpa drew his gun and fired - killing the attacker and saving his granddaughter.
"Hurry up now, my husband's fixin to shoot him". A Texas couple woke up to a man in their bedroom. As the homeowner held the criminal at gunpoint... the criminal called 911.
For the November Defensive Gun Use Report, just click here.
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* Originally the report showed 82 DGU's. We've since added to the report due to very late news stories