There have been at least 12 instances over the last two months across the country of armed individuals thwarting attacks and crime by firing a gun or just simply displaying it to a suspect.
“I would always protect my employees, my customers, myself. This instance, fortunately, I was here by myself, so I only had to worry about that. I took care of it and that was that,” Craig Cope, an 80-year-old liquor store owner in California, told CBS LA in August of thwarting an armed robbery.
The liquor store owner was one of at least 12 people across the country between August and September who stopped a crime by turning the tables on a suspect and opening fire or displaying their firearm. In Cope’s case, he stopped a would-be robber by firing his shotgun.
That same month, a gas station clerk in Washington state shot and killed a would-be robber. At the end of September, another gas station clerk shot dead an armed robber in San Antonio. Additionally, a convenience store clerk in Florida stopped an attempted armed robbery last month just by displaying his own weapon.
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A concealed-carry permit holder in Chicago ended an apparent armed carjacking in August when he returned fire and left the suspect in critical condition. A California homeowner shot and killed an intruder to protect her husband who was fighting with the intruder last month. An Oklahoma man shot and killed a burglary suspect at his Tulsa condo at the beginning of September.
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Instances of armed individuals stopping crimes comes at a time when states such as New York have cracked down on guns. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation last month banning people from carrying firearms in Times Square, as well as at most hospitals, restaurants, transit systems, parks, schools, theaters and other areas deemed to be “sensitive locations.”
“This whole concept that a good guy with a gun will stop the bad guys with a gun, it doesn’t hold up. And the data bears this out, so that theory is over,” Hochul declared in September while discussing the new gun laws.
Philadelphia made similar moves, with Mayor Jim Kenney signing an executive order last week banning guns at city recreational facilities such as fields, playgrounds and pools in an attempt to curb violent crime.
“It is unconscionable that anyone would bring deadly weapons where our city’s children gather to play,” said Mayor Kenney. “We will not tolerate the endangerment of children and families while they are in the care of our treasured community spaces, and we must do everything we can to protect the public, as well as the dedicated staff that make these facilities run.”
Gun control advocacy groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety have celebrated such laws as among the recent “massive wins” for gun control this year.
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“The gun safety movement is larger and stronger than ever and, as a result, we’re making historic progress not only in Congress, but in states across the country,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said on an Everytown post about gun control initiatives such as states strengthening background checks and prohibiting guns in areas deemed sensitive.
President and founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center John Lott, however, argued that creating gun-free zones in cities will leave law-abiding citizens more vulnerable and predicts the courts will strike down the executive order.
“There have been no problems in Philadelphia with concealed handgun permit holders that justifies the mayor’s gun-free zones. In banning guns, the people who will obey the ban are the law-abiding permit holders,” Lott told Fox News Digital
“The ban actually serves as a magnet for criminals as they know their victims will be defenseless in those areas. But it is even worse because law-abiding people will now be defenseless going to or from those gun-free zones. Concealed handgun permits have been soaring in Philadelphia because crime is out of control and the city can’t protect people.”
The Philadelphia executive order was motivated by the death of Tiffany Fletcher, a mom of three who was caught in the crosshairs of a gang gun battle. Lott noted that none of the gang members were concealed carry permit holders.
Lott also directed Fox News Digital to an article he wrote in September 2021 detailing armed Americans using guns to stop crimes and even mass shootings often fly under the radar, even though data show they are more common than gun crimes.
“Americans who look only at the daily headlines would be surprised to learn that, according to academic estimates, defensive gun uses — including instances when guns are simply shown to deter a crime — are four to five times more common than gun crimes, and far more frequent than the roughly 20,000 murders or fewer each year, with or without a gun. But even when they prevent mass public shootings, defensive uses rarely get national news coverage,” he wrote for Real Clear Investigations.
The examples of guns being used for self-defense and to stop crimes have continued this year.
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In Oregon last month, a homeowner was woken early on a Sunday morning to an intruder and opened fire. The alleged home invader was declared dead at the scene. Another armed suspect in West Palm Beach, Florida, who declared he would “shoot up the crowd” at a family gathering in August, was shot dead when an armed bystander fired his gun, WPEC reported.
Security detail for an Illinois mayor was able to stop an attempted armed robbery of an elderly man outside a Chicago Apple store last month when the security officer opened fire on the suspect.
In Mississippi, a popcorn store owner ended an armed robbery after opening fire on the suspect in September. In California, a jewelry store owner in Huntington Beach stopped an attempted armed robbery at the start of September when he fired at the suspects in self-defense, according to police.
The 12 instances of armed individuals thwarting criminal activity with guns only represent instances that were reported by the media. There were likely more examples of guns being fired or displayed to stop crimes between August and September, as many instances go unreported to the police that can ultimately be reported by the media.
“National surveys find that firearms are rarely fired when used to stop a violent attack,” Professor Gary Mauser of Canada’s Simon Fraser University told Real Clear Investigations last year. “Such cases are unlikely to be reported to the police, and even less likely to found in media stories. Relying upon media stories would greatly underestimate the true number of defensive gun uses.”
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