The number of justifiable homicides by armed citizens has been creeping upward over the past several years, and according to an article at the Crime Prevention Research Center website, 2017 closed out with nearly two dozen incidents in which gun-toting private citizens stopped attacks.
Contrary to how this might be portrayed by gun prohibitionists and anti-self-defense activists, it is not the Wild West out there with a growing number of legally-armed citizens. With more than 16 million Americans estimated to be licensed to carry across the 50 states, it is inevitable that some of these individuals will be involved in confrontations with criminals. According to the FBI data, in 2016 – the most recent year for which data is available – 331 bad guys bit the dust at the hands of honest citizens, and 276 of those individuals died from gunshot wounds.
In those cases, 197 people used handguns defensively and another 12 killed criminals with rifles. Shotguns were used in 10 confrontations and in 57 cases, the FBI does not specify what type of gun was involved.
Law enforcement justifiable homicides outnumbered those involving private citizens, at 435 in 2016. Of those, 429 suspects were killed with firearms, the FBI data shows.
(Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report 2016)
Defensive firearm uses by private citizens frequently involve situations that occur in a home or business. Sometimes, the armed citizen is forced to fire in self-defense while away from home, like the Washington man who fatally shot an axe-wielding attacker in a convenience store south of Seattle in early 2016.
The growing number of legally-armed citizens has not resulted in a tidal wave of killings, either. In most defensive firearm uses, a shot is never fired. The mere sight of a gun in the hands of a good guy is often enough to discourage hostilities. Other times, shots are fired that miss, or the criminal suspects are not fatally shot, but only wounded and they end up in court rather than a coroner’s office.
Earlier this week, Liberty Park Press reported the year-end concealed pistol license number in Washington State. Arizona is another state where concealed carry has continued to rise, with more than 25,000 new permits issued in the Grand Canyon State last year, bringing the total number to 325,895, according to that state’s Department of Public Safety.
Critics of concealed carry never seem to understand their own hypocrisy when trying to justify their public disarmament efforts by arguing that “If it saves just one life.”
The statistics suggest that in at least 276 cases from 2016, having a gun saved many lives and permanently stopped criminals. At this point, self-defense advocates would ask what is wrong with that?