Whatever else people remember about 2022, it almost certainly will be recalled as a year in which armed self-defense by private citizens noticeably increased, and in a couple of instances, their actions were hailed as “heroic” because they stopped likely mass shootings, according to a report at TheGunMag.com.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), just over 22 million U.S. citizens are licensed to carry, which represents a 2.3 percent increase over the number of active licenses/permits in the 2021 estimate. The Center notes in its report the increase “occurred despite 24 Constitutional Carry states that no longer provide data on all those legally carrying a concealed handgun because people in those states no longer need a permit to carry. A 25th state, Alabama, has also adopted Constitutional Carry, but its law doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2023.” That’s this coming Sunday.
Two high-profile incidents this year brought the subject of licensed concealed carry into the national spotlight, but the media seemed to overlook at least one of the incidents.
On May 25 in Charleston, West Virginia, a legally-armed armed woman fatally shot a man identified as Dennis Butler after he opened fire on a crowd of about 40 people. This was one day after the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The Associated Press covered the Charleston incident, but it did not get any discernible attention from other major news sources, according to a fact check.
The woman, who was not identified, was credited with preventing a mass-casualty shooting by local police.
Two months later, a case that did make national headlines occurred at Indiana’s Greenwood Park Mall. The July 17 incident involved 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken, who was legally armed and at the time had been shopping with his girlfriend. Late that afternoon, a man identified as Jonathan Sapirman, 20, opened fire in the Food Court area of the mall, immediately killing three people.
However, his rampage was brought to a sudden and terminal end when Dicken drew his Glock pistol and fired ten shots, hitting the killer with eight of those rounds from a distance of about 40 yards. According to various accounts, he had no formal training but had been taught to shoot by his grandfather.
The young hero was honored for his actions, which happened in a place where firearms are typically prohibited by policy.
Earlier this week in Detroit, a legally-armed tow truck driver fatally shot a would-be armed robber who made what is generically termed “a fatal error in the victim selection process.” The unidentified the operator was apparently ambushed by the suspect, who reportedly was supposed to be meeting him to sell a junk car. Authorities are still investigating.
In August, a Milwaukee, Wis., woman fatally shot an intruder who reportedly broke into her home while she was in the shower. She responded quickly to screams from her children, grabbed a gun and fired several times as the unidentified man was being attacked by her two dogs. According to one report, a neighbor called the woman a “hero.”
Also in August, a Pennsylvania woman shot her boyfriend in self-defense when he attacked her. The man was wounded in the leg, and he was the one facing charges. The woman is licensed to carry, according to WNEP News.
Yet another August incident involving an armed female occurred in Pasadena, Texas when a man attacked two women outside of a laboratory business, according to KHOU News. In this case, the attacker started yelling at one woman and hitting her car window. She managed to drive out of the parking lot through a closed electric gate, but the man got into his car and followed, hitting several other vehicles in the process.
A second woman, who was armed, intervened. When the man attacked her, she shot him twice, killing him.
These incidents are just a handful of the cases during the past 12 months in which legally-armed citizens used firearms in self-defense, or to defend others. They also demonstrate that women are definitely part of the equation.
According to CPRC founder and President John Lott, the FBI has been “vastly undercounting” the number of times legally-armed citizens have stopped mass shootings, in a report posted by the Washington Examiner. As noted by veteran reporter Paul Bedard, the independent report suggests the number of armed citizen interventions could account for as many as 34 percent of mass shooting stops during the years 2014-2021.
Depending upon the state, or even the county, increasing numbers of women are getting licenses to carry. The phenomenon has taken on new importance in the wake of “defund-the-police” efforts in several municipalities. Instead of being victims waiting for police to respond to calls for help—which could take several minutes to much longer, depending upon the location and available manpower—people are taking responsibility for their own safety.
If the trend continues into 2023—and there is no indication it won’t—efforts to disarm or at least discourage citizens from carrying for personal protection will meet with increasing resistance. Rights groups including the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America will remain busy fighting such attempts.