This article originally appeared on The Daily Signal.
By: Amy Swearer & Isaac Bock
President Joe Biden may assure the American people that his progressive gun control efforts would not “in any way” impinge on the Second Amendment, but other far-left pundits are more honest about their agenda.
Bill Press, radio host and former co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” recently made headlines with an op-ed published by the cable outlet calling for repeal of the Second Amendment. In it, Press declares that the right to keep and bear arms has “nothing to do with self-defense,” originally was meant to authorize state militias, and is “anti-black” in its origins.
Press may be more forthcoming about what he wants, but there’s still not much that his analysis gets correct.
The right to keep and bear arms belongs to “the people,” not to the militia.
The phrase “the people” everywhere else in the Bill of Rights refers to individual citizens. The people may be called upon to employ their private arms in the collective defense of state or nation, and that collective defense should be “well-regulated” in the sense that the militia should be trained, organized, and efficient. But far from being “well-regulated,” the underlying individual right “shall not be infringed.”
Meanwhile, it is not the Second Amendment that was historically racist, but gun control laws that stripped certain segments of the population of any meaningful method of defending their rights. The fact that slaves were disarmed belies Press’ point—their oppressors knew all too well that armed slaves would defend their inalienable rights to life and liberty.
As the numbers prove, the Second Amendment continues to serve today as a bulwark of individual liberty, enabling Americans to protect themselves and others from criminals.
Almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times annually, according to the most recent report on the subject by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For this reason, The Daily Signal each month publishes an 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 2019, 2020, 2021, and so far in 2022.)
The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in May. You may explore more by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.)
- May 3, Tacoma, Washington: A hotel employee shot and wounded a man who threatened her and two other employees with a knife, police said. The man, who had a history of causing drunken disruptions on the property, was charged with three counts of felony assault.
- May 4, Elmore, Alabama: A woman shot a man in the jaw after he entered her home uninvited and tried to force himself on her. The woman, a former girlfriend, held him at gunpoint until police arrived. Investigators say the man previously had stalked the woman and videotaped her without her knowledge. They said he had a prybar, handcuffs, and knives in his possession. He faced charges of domestic violence, second-degree stalking, and attempted burglary.
- May 5, Lizella, Georgia: A 67-year-old woman was mowing her lawn when a naked man tackled her and tried to remove her clothes, police said. The woman’s husband tried to pull the man off her, but after being attacked himself, drew his firearm and fatally shot the assailant. “We’re all packing,” a neighbor told reporters, “… so if somebody comes in the house, we have ways to protect ourselves.”
- May 8, San Antonio, Texas: A homeowner shot and wounded an intruder who tried to break into his home in the middle of the night, police said. The intruder fled, but medical personnel found him nearby and treated him in an ambulance. The wounded man grew angry and escaped, but police eventually found and arrested him.
- May 11, Chicago: A man with a concealed carry permit was walking home when a woman pointed a gun at him, in what police say was an act of domestic violence. He drew his own firearm and shot the woman, wounding her in the shoulder. Police took her into custody after she was treated for the wound.
- May 13, Alexandria, Virginia: A driver was returning to his car at a gas station when four teenagers approached and tried to carjack him, police said. At least one of the teens had a firearm; another had brass knuckles. But the driver foiled their plans by drawing his own gun and firing, fatally striking one teen and wounding at least one other. Police later arrested the three surviving teens.
- May 15, McConnelsville, Ohio: Police say that a camper who shot and wounded another man in a state park acted in self-defense after being attacked with a hatchet. The man allegedly had become enraged after the camper, who was watching a lunar eclipse, declined to give him a ride. Despite being hit by several hatchet blows, the camper was able to draw his gun and fire several rounds, sending the man fleeing. Officers soon found and arrested the man, who was wounded, and charged him with felony assault.
- May 17, Lenoir City, Tennessee: A man tried to enter a home late at night before residents called police and he gave up the attempt. He then tried to force his way into a second home across the street, where he was fatally shot by the homeowner. Witnesses said the man had acted erratically and may have been under the influence of an unknown substance.
- May 20, Oakley, California: An elderly woman acted in lawful self-defense when she fatally shot a 51-year-old man in her driveway at 12:30 a.m., police said. The woman had an active restraining order for elder abuse against the man, who apparently assaulted her before she drew her firearm.
- May 22, Azalea Park, Florida: A 69-year-old woman fatally shot a strange man who refused to leave her property and threatened her, police said. The woman initially was successful in getting the man to leave the house. But he remained on the property and kept walking toward her, even after she fired a warning shot and told him she’d shoot him if he didn’t stop.
- May 25, Charleston, West Virginia: When a man with a rifle opened fire on dozens of attendees at a graduation party outside an apartment complex, a woman drew her handgun and fatally shot the gunman, police said. Because of her quick action, no one attending the party was injured.
- May 30, Fredericksburg, Virginia: A woman was making a bank deposit when she saw a man get into the driver’s seat of her nearby car, police said. The woman confronted the man, who got physical with her. She drew a gun and pointed it at him, prompting him to walk away as she called 911. Police arrested the man a short time later and charged him with carjacking.
Bill Press is wrong in his CNN commentary. Repealing the Second Amendment won’t make Americans safer. Far from it.
Without the right to keep and bear arms in self-defense, law-abiding Americans like those highlighted above would be more vulnerable than ever to criminals and would-be tyrants alike.
The history of disarming disfavored populations shows this all too well.
Armed people are harder to victimize.
You can read the original piece on The Daily Signal.
Amy Swearer is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
Isaac Bock is an intern with The Heritage Foundation and a member of its Young Leaders Program.