Law enforcement officials in Chandler, Arizona are still investigating a fatal defensive shooting at an Amazon parking lot Wednesday, but published reports about the armed citizen’s actions all indicate that “authorities said that his actions may have prevented a larger shooting.”
It’s hardly the first time this year something like this has happened.
KPNX News did not identify the individual who fatally shot the alleged gunman, who wounded an Amazon employee, but did say he was a “contracted Amazon worker” using his personal firearm.
According to ABC News, the alleged gunman was identified as Jacob Murphy, who was not an Amazon employee. ABC said the armed contract worker was cooperating with the investigation.
A third report, by KOLD News, quoted Amazon worker Bryton Bobbie, who said his armed colleague is “a big cigar fan.”
“And we’re like, yeah, we need him the finest cigars. Or whatever he wants. He saved a lot of us,” Bobbie said.
It appears to be a growing phenomenon as increasing numbers of U.S. citizens are guying and carrying guns for their personal protection. The most recent estimate on concealed carry in this country from the Crime Prevention Research Center is just over 22 million. The report notes, “Six states now have over 1 million permit holders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Florida is the top states with 2.57 million permits.”
The report also says there are now 17 states where more than ten percent of adults are licensed to carry.
Some states have reported a decline, perhaps tied to the fact that those states have adopted permitless “constitutional carry” laws that allow citizens to carry without a permit or license.
The most high-profile shooting incidents this year happened in Indiana and West Virginia, where armed citizens fatally interrupted attempted mass shootings. In both cases, the perpetrators were killed.
In May, a man identified as Dennis Butler—identified by WRAL News as having an “extensive criminal history”—was confronted by people attending a graduation party in Charlston. He was speeding up and down the street and they asked him to stop. Instead, he left briefly and returned with a semiautomatic rifle, and opened fire. An unidentified woman who was legally carrying a handgun fatally shot Butler.
Charleston Police Lt. Tony Hazelett told reporters, “This lady was carrying a lawful firearm. A law abiding citizen who stopped the threat of probably 20 or 30 people getting killed. She engaged the threat and stopped it. She didn’t run from the threat, she engaged it. Preventing a mass casualty event here in Charleston.”
Less than two months later, a man identified as Jonathan Sapirman opened fire at the Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana. He killed three people and might have murdered more but for the actions of 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken, who drew his legally-carried Glock pistol and fired from a distance estimated at 40 yards. Dicken hit the killer with eight of ten rounds, killing him. Dicken was hailed as a hero.
The Gun Violence Archive website has a section devoted to defensive firearms use, offering links to dozens of incidents in which armed citizens fight back.
In 2007, Alan Gottlieb—founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation—co-authored America Fights Back—Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age, with career journalist Dave Workman. It was the first of seven collaborations, ending with Good Guys With Guns three years ago.
All of their books detailed scores of armed self-defense incidents, further reinforcing the notion that armed citizens can carry the day.
According to a recent report in The Guardian, “Americans bought an estimated 150m guns in the past decade, as a drumbeat of mass shootings and other violence has convinced more people that owning a gun for self-defense will make them safer.”
A Gallup survey in November 2021 said “Sharply more U.S. gun owners today than in the 2000s say they own a gun for protection against crime. Eighty-eight percent of gun owners cite crime protection as a reason they own a gun, compared with two-thirds giving this reason in 2000 and 2005 surveys.”
There is no indication of a slowdown in gun purchasing as 2023 looms.