The Natural Law of Self-Defense

Man’s right of self-defense did not begin with the adoption of the Second Amendment. It has nothing to do with guns or with the U.S. Constitution. In fact, it has no connection whatsoever to any man-made law or technology. Self-defense by any means is a natural human right that each person enjoys by virtue of his or her humanity. It is the right which guarantees all others.

One of the most provocative statements ever made on how comprehensive our individual right of self-defense is was made by the famed English philosopher John Locke in his Second Treatise on Government. Locke, whose political philosophy greatly influenced our American Founding Fathers, explained how the natural law works and why the individual is justified in defending himself with lethal force when necessary:

“THE state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man’s life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other’s power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the common law of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power.

“And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me. He that, in the state of nature, would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state, must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away every thing else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest; as he that, in the state of society, would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth, must be supposed to design to take away from them every thing else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.

“This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.

“. . . force, or a declared design of force, upon the person of another, where there is no common superior on earth to appeal to for relief, is the state of war: and it is the want of such an appeal gives a man the right of war even against an aggressor, tho’ he be in society and a fellow subject. Thus a thief, whom I cannot harm, but by appeal to the law, for having stolen all that I am worth, I may kill, when he sets on me to rob me but of my horse or coat; because the law, which was made for my preservation, where it cannot interpose to secure my life from present force, which, if lost, is capable of no reparation, permits me my own defence, and the right of war, a liberty to kill the aggressor, because the aggressor allows not time to appeal to our common judge, nor the decision of the law, for remedy in a case where the mischief may be irreparable. Want of a common judge with authority, puts all men in a state of nature: force without right, upon a man’s person, makes a state of war, both where there is, and is not, a common judge” (Locke, Second Treatise on Government, Chapter 3, Sections 17-19).

Elsewhere in his Treatise, Locke explained:

“In transgressing the law of nature, the offender declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common equity, which is that measure God has set to the actions of men, for their mutual security; and so he becomes dangerous to mankind, the tye, which is to secure them from injury and violence, being slighted and broken by him. Which being a trespass against the whole species, and the peace and safety of it, provided for by the law of nature, every man upon this score, by the right he hath to preserve mankind in general, may restrain, or where it is necessary, destroy things noxious to them, and so may bring such evil on any one, who hath transgressed that law, as may make him repent the doing of it, and thereby deter him, and by his example others, from doing the like mischief. And in the case, and upon this ground, MAN HATH A RIGHT TO PUNISH THE OFFENDER, AND BE EXECUTIONER OF THE LAW OF NATURE. . . .

“From these two distinct rights, the one of punishing the crime for restraint, and preventing the like offence, which right of punishing is in every body; the other of taking reparation, which belongs only to the injured party, comes it to pass that the magistrate, who by being magistrate hath the common right of punishing put into his hands, can often, where the public good demands not the execution of the law, remit the punishment of criminal offences by his own authority, but yet cannot remit the satisfaction due to any private man for the damage he has received. That, he who has suffered the damage has a right to demand in his own name, and he alone can remit: the damnified person has this power of appropriating to himself the goods or service of the offender, by right of self preservation, as every man has a power to punish the crime, to prevent its being committed again, by the right he has of preserving all mankind, and doing all reasonable things he can in order to that end: and thus it is, that every man, in the state of nature, has a power to kill a murderer, both to deter others from doing the like injury, which no reparation can compensate, by the example of the punishment that attends it from every body, and also to secure men from the attempts of a criminal, who having renounced reason, the common rule and measure God hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tyger, one of those wild savage beasts, with whom men can have no society nor security: and upon this is grounded that great law of nature, Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Locke, Second Treatise, Chapter 2, Sections 8 and 11).

Finally, Locke observed:

“Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom, and an uncontrouled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power, not only to preserve his property, that is, his life, liberty and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men; but to judge of, and punish the breaches of that law in others, as he is persuaded the offence deserves, even with death itself, in crimes where the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion, requires it” (Locke, Treatise, Chapter 7, Section 87).

Let’s recapitulate a few of the things we’ve learned from Mr. Locke. Locke explained that there exists a “fundamental law of nature” which gives the individual a right to “destroy that which threatens” him. When someone cuts the common ties, or laws, that bind a society together and protect its members, he becomes “noxious” and dangerous to the society. In fact, he enters into a “state of war” against those whose rights – whether their life, Liberty, and property – are threatened. Inasmuch as a person behaves like a “savage beast” and endangers those around him, he may be put down like a mad dog. This is not only common sense, but a right we each enjoy in the “state of nature.”

Some may argue, however, that we do not live in a “state of nature.” We can all admit that this is accurate. We live in a well-ordered society with laws, a police force, judges, systems of justice, mechanisms to redress grievances, and so forth. However, to deny our individual right of self-defense merely because we live in a society tramples on the very idea of natural rights and the most basic conception of Freedom.

Samuel Adams explained that we always retain our rights regardless of whether we enter into civil society. A person, if he chooses, may exist society at any time. When he does, he takes all his rights with him. We cannot, according to Mr. Adams, renounce our rights because they are endowments from Almighty God. He explained:

“All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.

“When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent. . . .

“The natural liberty of man, by entering into society, is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society, the best good of the whole.

“In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him. By entering into society he agrees to an arbiter or indifferent judge between him and his neighbors; but he no more renounces his original right than by taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent arbitrators. . . .

“The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule. . . .

“In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave” (Samuel Adams, “The Rights of the Colonists,” November 20, 1772).

Please note that Adams said people do not “renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights” when they agree to live in society with others. These prerogatives – to enjoy one’s natural rights and to defend them – always remain with the individual. It is “the greatest absurdity” to say we do not have a right to defend and preserve our other essential rights.

We allow police and others to defend us because, on paper, this system operates more efficiently. However, law enforcement personnel have no inherent right to police our neighborhoods. They have no intrinsic power to stop criminals just as courts have no inborn authority to punish criminals. Every power and authority a police officer posses comes directly from you, the individual. And this authority is merely on loan and can be reclaimed at any time – such as when no police are present or when public servants abuse the authority you have loaned them. The same is true with any and all powers claimed by government. They belong, of right, to individuals first and foremost.

Furthermore, there are many times in society when the individual does not have immediate access to society’s collective means of self-defense – whether law enforcement, the courts, or the nation’s armies – yet must immediately address a threat to his life, Liberty, or property. Such instances may include a woman walking down the road who needs to defend herself from sexual assault, a man defending his family from a home invader during the middle of the night, a store owner protecting his property and livelihood from arsonists or vandals, a person being carjacked by a criminal while driving to work, or a church-goer who suddenly find himself faced with a maniac attempting to shoot up his congregation. In these and myriad other scenarios, there is no possible way to reach out to society for help; there is no time to wait for the police to arrive, for the sheriff to investigate the matter, or for a jury to deliberate.

All of these instances share at least one thing in common; namely, that the victim’s rights are being violated. In the case of the woman, someone is trying to violate her body and free will or, in other words, her Liberty. In the case of the store owner, someone is trying to destroy his property. In the case of the church-goer, his and other innocent people’s right to life is threatened. In the case of the man defending his family or the person being carjacked, he doesn’t know the intention of the perpetrator is – kidnapping, murder, robbery, rape, etc., – and must act as if any of these is a distinct possibility.

Consider what John Locke said in the quote above: “He that, in the state of nature, would take away the freedom that belongs to any one . . . must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away every thing else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest.” We don’t know the intention of someone who is attacking, robbing, or otherwise assaulting us. All we know for certain is that a person is trampling our precious rights and clearly has no respect for us, the law, or morality.

A person who would violate any of your cherished rights automatically shows that he holds all your other rights in contempt. Such a person, theoretically, is capable of any thing – including taking your life. Since you do not know his intention, but simply know that he is willing to violate your rights, you must treat him as an existential threat to all of your Liberties. Remember, Locke explained:

“This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can.”

It is lawful, according to the law of nature, to kill one who attempts to violate your right to life, Liberty, or property. This is the most basic and fundamental principle in the book of Liberty. “In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him,” as Samuel Adams said. When a state of war and hostility is commenced against you by an assailant whose intentions are unknown, you become the “judge and sole judge” of your rights and have a just right to defend yourself, your life, your Freedom, your family, your dignity as a human being, and your property. I would even argue that you have a duty to defend your rights since they are gifts from Almighty God.

Self-defense is not a new concept – wherever there is Liberty, there exists the right to defend it and those who enjoy it. Self-defense is an eternal law recognized by enlightened people in all ages.. Anciently, the Roman statesman Cicero explained:

“[T]here exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right. When weapons reduce them to silence, the laws no longer expect one to await their pronouncements. For people who decide to wait for these will have to wait for justice, too – and meanwhile they must suffer injustice first. Indeed, even the wisdom of the law itself, by a sort of tacit implication, permits self-defense, because it does not actually forbid men to kill; what it does, instead, is to forbid the bearing of a weapon with the intention to kill. When, therefore, an inquiry passes beyond the mere question of the weapon and starts to consider the motive, a man who has used arms in self-defence is not regarded as having carried them with a homicidal aim” (Stephen P. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right, 13).

I repeat: Self-defense is part of the “natural law.” The natural law written in our hearts by the finger of God permits us to defend ourselves against “plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies.” Literally “every method” and means to defend ourselves when endangered is “morally right.” Not only is it morally correct to defend ourselves, our lives, and our property, but the Declaration of Independence and Constitution both support the idea and enshrine it in the regal robes of legality.

Let’s leave behind the realm of the hypothetical and discuss a real example. Two nights ago, in Hunter, Oklahoma, a man shot a woman who entered his property at 3 A.M. and attempted to steal a flag. The flag was the National Socialist flag bearing the swastika. Whether or not you think he should have been flying the flag is not on trial here. What is being discussed, however, is the actual situation – that is, an individual trespassing on someone’s property at 3 A.M., attempting a robbery, and being shot in the process of fleeing with stolen property.

Since the incident, the local “authorities” have confiscated the man’s fourteen firearms and have charged him with “shooting with the intent to kill and assault and battery with a deadly weapon.” They are holding him without bail despite the fact that he was compliant with police and has never caused any trouble. One anonymous individual, in fact, said the man was very nice and would mow neighbors’ lawns and smile and wave. In spite of all this, he is being treated as a murderer.

The woman, by the way, survived the incident and is being treated for her wounds. Amazingly, the district attorney has not yet decided whether to charge her with a crime despite the fact that no one denies she was trying to steal property from the man’s home! I doubt whether the criminals who previously stole the man’s flag’s were charged with theft or trespassing either.

If I was on the jury that will try this case, given the information we know at this point, my conscience would not allow me to convict the man of anything. I’m quite sure John Locke would also vote “not guilty.” It was he, after all, who said, that it is “lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life.” How can we refute his logic?

When you examine stories like this one from Oklahoma, don’t fall into the trap of asking whether the man should have fired his weapon. That’s not the point. That’s irrelevant, in fact. That is between him and his God. What you need to decide, rather, is whether or not the man had a right to defend himself and his property with force.

I contend that each of us has a natural right of self-defense which no earthly force, no government, no majority, no law, can ever erase. I hold it as sacrosanct that the laws of nature give me, the individual, a right to protect my life, my Liberty, and my property – and those of my family and innocent people – with lethal force whenever and wherever necessary. I further affirm that the benefit of the doubt should always be given to the victim of an illicit act, not to the criminal who was fortunately thwarted in his or her attempt to violate the victim’s sacred rights.

You may not care about swastika flags, but you should care very much about property rights. You may not agree with the personal viewpoints of the shooter in this case, but you should care about whether his right to defend his home and possessions is held inviolate. You may have sympathy for the woman who was shot, but you should never let your judgment become so clouded with emotion that you can’t label her a thief and a criminal. You will rarely go astray in your judgment if you always keep in mind the importance of our natural rights and our paramount right of self-defense. Self-defense, even when it means ending the life of an offender, is part of the “perfect freedom” with which man is born.

©Zack Strong 2020. All rights reserved.

Here Are Seven Times Americans Defended Their Property During Protests And Riots

Protests and riots across America, sparked by the death of George Floyd, have brought Americans to arm themselves and defend their property.

Here are seven examples of Americans defending their property:

1. St. Louis Couple Bear Arms As Protesters Trespass

The McCloskeys, whose home resides in a private community in Central West End St. Louis, stood outside the night of June 28 with an AR-15 and pistol facing 300 protesters. The private community’s gate was broken, with protesters marching toward St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home, demanding her resignation. The McCloskeys told KMOV4 that they were “in fear for our lives.” The couple is under investigation for “threat of deadly force” by the St. Louis circuit attorney.

2. Santa Monica Liquor Store Owner Defends Business

Looters in Santa Monica were dissuaded by the sight of the armed owner liquor store owner and his friends standing outside his store, Broadway Wine & Spirits according to CBSN Los Angeles. After hearing reports of looting and fires in the rest of the city the owner took action and potentially saved his business.

3. Cleveland Italian Bakery Resists Looters

As looters attempted to break into Corbo’s Bakery, they were warned by owner Joe Corbo and his two sons who armed themselves, FOX 8 reported May 31. “We weren’t there to hurt anybody or cause a problem, we were just protecting our business,” Co-owner Selena Corbo told Fox8. Protesters then moved on, but not without smashing one of the bakery’s windows.

4. Rooftop Koreans Of The 1992 LA Riots

In 1992, protesters in Los Angeles looted or burned hundreds of businesses in Koreatown. Countless business owners, seeing the absence of police, armed themselves and defended their stores, many from rooftops.

5. Philadelphia Gun Shop Owner Shoots Two Robbers, One Dead

Four men broke into the gun shop Firing Lane early June 2 and were met by gunfire on the second floor by the shop owner. Three shots were fired leaving one robber dead and the other wounded, investigators told FOX 29. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner called the owner’s actions “justified.”

6. Arizona Jewelry Store Resists Jewelry Thieves

In Scottsdale, Arizona a jewelry store was spared from looting and vandalism after the owner’s son and others stood at the store armed, 12 News reported May 31. Many other stores on Scottsdale’s 5th Avenue were looted. “We weren’t here to hurt anybody…after seeing exactly what happened to the Apple store, this isn’t protesting, this isn’t rioting, this is crime,” the owner’s son told 12 News.

7. Washington State Residents Prepare To Defend Small Town

Residents of Snohomish, Washington armed themselves waiting along the town’s main street after hearing rumors protesters were on their way, according to the Seattle Times. While no violent confrontations occurred, there was a “credible threat of civil unrest intent on causing damage to this amazing community,” the Marysville Police, which assisted in patrols, said on Twitter.

COLUMN  BY

SERGEI KELLEY

Contributor

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Gun Sales In 2020 Are Absolutely Crushing Records

2020 keeps seeing gun sale records beaten month after month, with an all-time high 3.9 million NICS firearm background checks being conducted in June alone, according to FBI statistics.

So far in 2020, three months have sported over 3 million NICS background checks, more than any previous month since the FBI began recording the statistics 22 years ago in 1998. March saw 3.7 million checks, May say 3.1 million, and June 3.9 million.

The sales come amid massive unrest across the country incited by the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin.

June saw the rise and fall of the so-called ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ in Seattle (CHAZ), in which protesters took over a six-block area in the downtown area that police were forced to abandon. Several news outlets reported that CHAZ had a peaceful atmosphere, but residents said otherwise, with violence frequently breaking out after sunset.

Conservative Pundit Meghan McCain argued the spike in gun sales was thanks to the violent riots coupled with protesters calling for the end of police.

COLUMN BY

ANDERS HAGSTROM

White House correspondent.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Armed Homeowners Confront Protesters

UPDATE: St. Louis man who went viral defending his property speaks out on ‘Tucker’.


Armed homeowners greeted protesters marching through private property in their upscale neighborhood in St. Louis. The couple, Patty and Mark McCloskey who are both personal injury lawyers, shouted at the protesters to keep moving while brandishing a handgun and an AR-15.

The protesters, which numbered about 300, had broken through the gate of the community and were on their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house to demand the mayor’s resignation after she read the names and addresses on a Facebook live broadcast of a number of residents who had written her letters telling her to defund the police department .

Ironically, revealing the names and addresses of political opponents – a tactic called doxing – has been a standard weapon used by Antifa, ISIS and other extremist groups over the years.

This time the tables were turned and the protesters were having none of it.

“Resign Lyda, take the cops with you!” the protesters chanted. However, their anger of having the names and addresses of those that agree with them exposed did not keep them from doxing the couple with the guns protecting their personal property in the neighborhood.

It is a sad commentary on the rule of the totalitarian mob that has taken over America that doxing has become a weapon of choice to threaten, intimidate and harass those with ideas that the mob doesn’t agree with.

Just the threat of doxing is now being used as a tool for censorship by the mainstream media. As reported by The Washington Free Beacon:

A prominent pseudonymous blogger has shut down his site after a New York Times reporter refused to conceal his identity in a forthcoming piece, putting his livelihood and life in danger.

Psychiatrist Scott Alexander (his first and middle, but not last, name) has worked for years to cultivate a small but thriving intellectual community through his blog Slate Star Codex. That came to a halt Monday evening, however, when Alexander deleted the blog, replacing it with a post entitled “NYT Is Threatening My Safety By Revealing My Real Name, So I Am Deleting The Blog.”

The blog drew about 20,000 visits a day and covered topics ranging from psychiatry, philosophy, political commentary and fiction. In a scandal apparently too big for The New York Times, the blog posted opinions from across the spectrum.

Average posts garnered between 100 to 1,000 comments each.

While The New York Times writer insisted that the paper’s guidelines forced him to disclose the blogger’s real name, the Times “has granted anonymity or pseudonymity to an Apple news executive, a left-wing podcaster, and even other subjects” of the writer’s story, according to the Free Beacon.

A devotee of the blog describes the loss “on the scale of, let’s say, John Stuart Mill or Mark Twain burning their manuscripts.”

Intent on erasing all dissent from their views, the cancel culture has adopted  plays from the game book of classic totalitarian regimes.

Not surprisingly, how did the confrontation in St. Louis end? While the homeowners stood their ground, the mayor bowed to the mob and issued a groveling apology:

We may nominally still have First Amendment rights in America, but unless we stand up for them and have the backup by our elected leaders, those rights will sadly be in name only — or we will degenerate to a society where they will have to be defended like they were in St. Louis by the McCloskey’s and in previous generations in the Wild West.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Clarion Project column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

In These 11 Incidents, Gun Owners Defended Life and Property

The last week of May proved just how quickly the seemingly stable peace of our world can devolve into chaos and near-anarchy. Many of us, already concerned that police departments were stretched thin by COVID-19, watched in horror as law enforcement seemed to lose control of protests in major cities.

For several nights, police officers scarcely could keep their own precincts from being overrun, much less respond to calls for help from terrified civilians.

In many instances, civilians were forced to take matters into their own hands, relying on nothing more than their Second Amendment rights to protect their lives and livelihoods from violent rioters who sought to co-opt peaceful protests for their own benefit.

It should come as little surprise that Americans would be willing to protect their communities in this way. In fact, in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times a year.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

For this reason, The Daily Signal has published a monthly series highlighting some of the news stories of defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place. (Read accounts from 2019 and 2020).

The 11 examples below of lawful defensive uses of guns represent only a small part of the many stories we found in May. You can explore more examples in The Heritage Foundation’s Defensive Gun Use Database, an interactive map that allows users to find recent defensive gun uses from all over the country quickly and easily.

  • May 2, Pensacola, Florida: A concealed-carry permit holder drew his handgun in self-defense after a group approached and threatened him while he was trying to leave the beach. He attempted to get into his car and flee, but the group prevented him from doing so, police said. That’s when the permit holder began to fear for his life, pulled out his firearm, and told the group to let him go. They apparently complied.
  • May 3, Madison County, Alabama: A woman who fatally shot her former fiancé acted in self-defense when the man attacked her, police said. The woman had called 911 just before midnight to report that the man—who had a long history of domestic violence convictions—had showed up at her home. By the time police arrived, the woman already had relied on her firearm to defend her life.
  • May 5, Port Arthur, Texas: A man out catching crabs fatally shot a would-be robber who had pointed a rifle at him and a woman with him, demanding money. Minutes earlier, police said, the assailant had robbed a grocery store and fled in a stolen car. The crabber retrieved a handgun from his truck, and after an exchange of gunfire, shot his assailant in self-defense.
  • May 8, Casselton, North Dakota: A man acted in lawful self-defense when he shot and killed an acquaintance who began choking him during an argument, police said. The man immediately called 911 and placed his gun in a safe while waiting for law enforcement.
  • May 12, Buffalo, South Carolina: A woman, fearing for her safety because of a violent ex-husband, had invited an armed friend to stay at her apartment and protect her and her two children. When the ex-husband kicked open the front door and opened fire on the woman, the armed friend shot and killed him before anyone else could be harmed. Police said they had been searching for the ex-husband for several days because he was wanted on charges of domestic violence and assault.
  • May 16, Houston, Texas: A man shot and wounded his brother when, under the influence of narcotics, he assaulted their mother. The man initially tried to calm down the brother, who was damaging the residence. He shot his brother when he began hitting their mother with large chunks of concrete.
  • May 20, Fulshear, Texas: A homeowner used his handgun to defend himself when an intoxicated man kicked in his front door and aggressively confronted him. Neither the gun owner nor his family members were harmed.
  • May 22, Eureka, California: When several people got into an altercation outside a man’s home at 2:40 a.m., the homeowner went out onto his porch and asked them to leave the area. Some of those involved became hostile and tried to force their way onto the homeowner’s property. He tried unsuccessfully to deter his attackers with pepper spray. When they continued to enter his home and assault him, the homeowner retrieved a handgun and fired in self-defense, killing one attacker and wounding another.
  • May 25, Mesquite, Nevada: A father shot and killed his son after the son attacked his mother with a knife. Police said the son’s mental state recently had deteriorated and he may have been intoxicated when he pulled the knife on his mother. Officers determined that the father’s actions were justified and that, had he survived, the son would have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
  • May 26, Panama City, Florida:  An elderly homeowner, standing outside his house, was approached aggressively by a man who had been acting erratically while walking down the street. The homeowner retreated inside, but the man pursued him, smashing a glass door and entering the home. The homeowner told police that he grabbed a handgun and fatally shot the man when he assaulted his wife.
  • May 31, Cleveland, Ohio: As peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd devolved into violent riots, owners of Corbo’s Bakery took the defense of their livelihood into their own hands. Video from bystanders captured the moment that the bakery’s owners, armed with shotguns, forced back looters who smashed front windows with rocks. The bakery, shut down for almost two months due to COVID-19 restrictions, had been scheduled to reopen June 1. The owners’ actions spared the bakery from the destruction experienced by many other businesses in downtown Cleveland.

Of course, as gun owners our impulse should be to avoid confrontation and rely on law enforcement when it’s possible to do so.

But as these stories clearly show, police officers are not always there to protect our homes or our communities when we need them the most.

Although we know the battle over our Second Amendment rights is far from over, May provided an eye-opening reality check for many Americans.

COMMENTARY BY

Amy Swearer is a senior legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

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This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Candidate Biden Suggests Police be Trained to Shoot ‘an Unarmed Person’ in the Leg

Unscripted Joe Biden, as we have all come to realize, is must-watch TV. When the presumptive Democrat Presidential candidate speaks off-the-cuff, his message regularly goes off the rails. We all anticipate Biden will say something oddconfusing, or even incomprehensible during interviews and live appearances, but we are often still shocked by what comes out of his mouth.

Even scripted Biden can be a curious misadventure.

On Monday, June 1, he upped the ante by not just saying something strange, but something potentially dangerous.

While addressing a crowd at the Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del., Biden suggested that law enforcement training could include “teaching a cop when there’s an unarmed person, coming at him with a knife or something, to shoot him in the leg instead of the heart.”

First, it’s certainly odd to characterize someone as an “unarmed person” if they are “coming at (you) with a knife.”

Biden is very vocal about his desire to ban most semi-automatic rifles. Perhaps he is unaware that rifles of any kind are used less frequently in homicides than knives or blunt objects.

We have long known that Biden simply does not like guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, as he appears to not trust them to be responsible or remain law-abiding. But who knew that mistrust also applied to law enforcement? It’s certainly an odd position for someone who has been protected by armed government agents for decades.

And what about that suggestion to abandon over a century of firearms training to, when faced with a deadly threat, “coming at him…to shoot him in the leg…”?

Targeting center mass, is done to best ensure all rounds fired hit their intended target for the safety of all innocent parties involved and to stop the threat.

Sadly, candidate Biden seems to get much of his firearms education from Hollywood, where big-screen heroes regularly shoot with unachievable accuracy. If Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name character could fire his single action revolver from the hip, while on a horse, with pinpoint precision, surely those with more modern firearms and training could easily match this feat.

Much like Biden’s ideas about biometric firearms, though, life is not going to imitate art when it comes to the defensive use of firearms.

Even if it could, it still would not be advisable. The reality is that any time a gun is fired at another person, a lethal outcome is possible. A leg wound from being shot can be just as fatal as a wound to the body. A gun should therefore never be used in any circumstance other than one that would justify lethal force.

This rule reserves the use of a firearm for the most serious of encounters. Biden’s “leg shot” rule ironically could lead to more uses of firearms under the flawed assumption that the injured subject would eventually recover.

“Shooting at a person is deadly force regardless of what part of their body you aim at,” said Jason Johnson, the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, as reported in the Washington Free Beacon.

He went on to explain, “[Police are] trained to shoot center mass but there is no option to shoot somewhere else and have it not considered deadly force.”

Firearms training has been refined for decades, and when it comes to using lethal force to stop a violent threat, targeting the body is proven to be the best way to ensure striking the intended target, ending a lethal threat, and minimizing the chance of misses that endanger innocent third parties.

But this dangerous suggestion from Biden is nothing new, when it comes to the use of firearms. We could call it Chapter Two in his book of what not to do with a gun if you are concerned for your safety.

Chapter One involved the use of shotguns, and included two bits of advice that would likely land anyone who follows them in jail. First, in February 2013, Biden told women who wish to defend their home and loved ones from intruders to walk outside with a double barreled shotgun, and fire two blasts. He followed that up later in the same month by telling anyone who wants “to keep someone away from (their) house, just fire the shotgun through the door.”

These suggestions are as preposterous, and dangerous, as telling anyone to “shoot [an attacker] in the leg.” Perhaps the best advice when it comes to defensive use of firearms would be to NEVER listen to Joe Biden.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Florida Alert! Young Americans for Liberty Force Nikki Fried to Reopen Concealed Weapons License applications in Florida

Young American for Liberty declared VICTORY today after forcing Florida Agriculture Commissioner to back down. Their Press Release follows:

Victory! YAL forces Nikki Fried to reopen Concealed Weapons License applications in Florida

Tallahassee, FL — Under pressure from YAL President Cliff Maloney, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried has finally reopened the Sunshine State’s online application process for concealed weapons licenses.

The controversy began on March 23, 2020, when Fried — Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat — completely froze the online application process for concealed weapons licenses, citing concerns that Floridians won’t be able to obtain fingerprinting and might become “frustrated.” Then, in May, Maloney filed suit against Fried, arguing that Fried’s preference for her own agenda over the Constitutional rights of Floridians cannot be tolerated.

“Nikki Fried tried to use COVID-19 as an opportunity to advance her authoritarian, gun-grabbing agenda. She lost and the people of Florida won,” said Maloney. “Let this victory serve as a reminder that our right to self defense is non-negotiable and that millions of law abiding gun-owners will not sit idly by while tyrants attempt to silence us.”

View the Official Press Release Here

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Lawsuits Begin Over Trudeau’s “Assault Weapon” Ban

As we informed our readers earlier, Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, took advantage of the suspension of Parliament to declare a ban on what he described as “military grade assault weapons.” The implementing regulations (“Orders in Council”) apply to over 1,500 models and “variants” of guns that have been used for decades for lawful hunting, competitive shooting, and other recreational uses.

The law took effect on May 1, the day of the announcement, but includes a two-year “amnesty” during which a mandatory government confiscation program (inaccurately called a “buyback”) will be implemented. The details of this program are unknown, as are those of a “grandfathering” option referred to by Mr. Trudeau. With very narrow exceptions, it is now illegal for gun owners to buy, sell, transport, import, or use these “prohibited” firearms.

Gun owners and firearm advocacy groups responded to the ban immediately. The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) met with officials from the federal Department of Justice, the RCMP, Public Safety Canada, and others in briefings on the new law.

The CSSA reports that not only is it dishonest for the government to maintain that that ban is intended for “weapons that were not designed for hunting or for target shooting,” but that:

[a]n examination of the new regulations showed a clear lack of understanding of the subject matter and that little care was taken in the preparation of these documents. Officials from these departments were unable to provide a working definition of the firearms that were placed on the “banned” list and displayed a shocking ignorance of current laws. They were unable to answer simple question about how the current ban would dovetail with the prohibitions contained in … legislation passed eleven months ago.

The CSSA and the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA) have since published two legal opinions by Edward L. Burlew, a Canadian firearms law expert. The first concludes that the law prohibits 10- and 12-gauge shotguns with a screw-in choke tube under a provision that generally bans firearms with a “bore diameter of 20 mm or greater.” The second reviews the problematic application of a clause that bans firearms “capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 joules.” Questions have also been raised regarding the impact of the maximum bore provision on firearms brought to Canada by visiting hunters, and on tools used in construction and for industrial cleaning.

The uncertainty is compounded by the failure of the government to provide information on the mandatory “buyback” program, and by the subsequent deletion of references to grandfathering on an RCMP website.

Lawsuits challenging the regulations as illegal and unconstitutional are already underway. John Hipwell, the founder of Wolverine Supplies Ltd., a gun store, has retained Mr. Burlew in one such challenge, with a GoFundMe account being set up recently to cover the necessary legal fees.

In addition to individual gun owners, there is some indication that the Province of Saskatchewan may be considering its own court action, with the Justice Minister, Don Morgan, expressing concern over the ban’s impact on lawful gun owners, and hunting and outfitting businesses in his province.

NRA-ILA was able to reach Edward Burlew for his insights on this unprecedented government ban. “The Order in Council bypassed democratic Parliamentary procedures – with the stroke of a pen, over 100,000 lawful Canadian firearm owners became criminals.” Mr. Burlew explains that the Liberal government not only capitalized on the pandemic-related suspension of Parliament to go after law-abiding gun owners, it empowered the police to interpret the scope of the law. The list of banned guns is not fixed at what appears in the May 1 regulation because, “as the RCMP Forensic Lab adds their opinion of Variants,” the banned gun list has grown to include “over 1,000 new prohibited guns not directly listed in the Order in Council. These are opinions of nameless bureaucrats who are expanding the list by hundreds of manufacturer models daily.” These ongoing additions mean “no one is sure of the guns on the list,” so innocent Canadian gun owners who unwittingly take one of these firearms out of the home face possible prosecution, seizure of their property, and jail time.

Resident gun owners are not the only ones at risk – there are devastating repercussions across the gun community and firearm businesses in Canada and beyond. According to Mr. Burlew, manufacturers and distributors in the United States and elsewhere “have stopped shipping guns because of fear they will be deemed prohibited en route and seized by Customs. Hunters have the same fear and are reluctant to book hunting trips with outfitters. Canadian gun dealers are facing over a hundred million dollar loss because their inventory is now worthless. Dealers are closing shop.”

Litigation is notoriously expensive and time-consuming. Even so, the gun community has so far rallied to the cause, and the lawyers involved in the legal challenges “have agreed to co-operate to share resources and present a united front against this government confiscation.”

There is a valuable lesson here for America’s gun owners, against casual complacency and a misplaced faith in the status quo. “The government,” warns Mr. Burlew, “relied on there not being any right to own a firearm in Canada. Ownership is a privilege, and that has been taken more easily than it was earned by the over 100,000 Canadian gun owners affected.”

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Mexico Demands Explanation for Obama-era Gun-walking Scandal

Nearly a decade has passed since the public first learned of the botched Obama-era gunwalking scandal Operation Fast and Furious. These days, Barack Obama spends his time collecting money from a lucrative Netflix contract, shuffling between lavish homes in Washington, D.C. and on Martha’s Vineyard, and occasionally offering his tepid support for presumptive democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Former Attorney General Eric Holder enjoys a profitable position as a “rainmaker” at high-powered D.C. law firm Covington. Meanwhile, those who lost loved ones to the Obama Department of Justice’s misguided gun trafficking scheme are still searching for answers and accountability.

On Friday May 8, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador​shared his intent to demand that the U.S. provide Mexico with further information on Operation Fast and Furious. According to Reuters, the failed operation has once again come to the forefront of Mexican politics “amid a debate over historic U.S.-Mexico cooperation on security.” Speaking of the gunwalking scheme at a news conference, Obrador said, ​”How could this be? A government that invades in this way, that flagrantly violates sovereignty, international laws​.”

The following Monday, Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced in a video message that the country had sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. Embassy seeking information on Operation Fast and Furious. The minister made clear who he wanted information on. Reuters reported that “In the video, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard cited former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as saying Mexican authorities knew about the 2009-2011 scheme known as ‘Fast and Furious’​” and that “It was the first time Ebrard or President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had made direct reference by name to a key U.S. figure connected to the program since the issue resurfaced in Mexico a week ago.”

Operation Fast and Furious was largely run out of the Tucson and Phoenix ATF field offices. Agents would allow suspected illegal purchases of firearms by gun traffickers to take place and then track the guns with the purported goal of uncovering the workings of a larger criminal organization for which these individuals were purchasing firearms. In some cases, concerned FFLs were instructed by ATF to go forward with suspicious transactions. Rather than interdicting these firearms, ATF permitted the guns to flow into Mexico.

On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death in a gunfight with armed criminals near the Mexican border. Following the incident, firearms used by the criminals were traced to Operation Fast and Furious. Subsequently, whistleblower ATF Agent John Dodson, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), intrepid gun rights supporters, and CBS journalist Sharyl Attkisson helped bring the truth of what happened to the public. Illustrating the opacity of the Obama DOJ, the DOJ inspector general was forced to open an investigation into whether the government had retaliated against Dodson after he came forward with information on the botched gunwalking scheme.

Word of the failed operation struck a nerve with gun rights advocates. Around the same time as the operation was taking place, American gun rights were being blamed by the Obama Administration for Mexico’s crime problem.

In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded Americans, stating, “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”​In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that same month, Clinton endorsed a ban on commonly owned semi-automatics firearms. Mitchell brought up the problem of Mexican violence and a potential “assault weapons” ban, to which Clinton responded “I think these assault weapons, these military style weapons don’t belong on any one’s street.”

By its conclusion, the failed operation involved as many as 2,000 firearms. The firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico. As of 2016, Operation Fast and Furious firearms were linked to at least 69 killings. That same year, CBS news reported that one of the firearms was found at the hideout of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman.

In 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 255-67 to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to hand over requested documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.

Mexico’s request for further information on Operation Fast and Furious is understandable, given the Obama administration’s extensive efforts to conceal the details of the gunwalking scheme.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

11 More Cases in Which Responsible Gun Owners Saved Lives

In recent weeks, several instances involving the reckless use of firearms dominated national headlines. In one case, a Georgia man tragically lost his life when armed civilians crossed the line between defensive necessity and vigilantism.

But such headlines tell only one side of the story. Every day, many law-abiding and responsible Americans use their firearms lawfully to defend their lives, liberty, and property.

In fact, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in 2013, almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in lawful self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times a year.

These instances of proper defensive gun use provide an important but often unreported counterbalance to the national conversation.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>>


For this reason, The Daily Signal has been publishing a monthly series highlighting some of the news stories of defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place. (Read accounts from 2019 and 2020).

The lawful defensive uses of guns below represent only a small part of the many stories we found last month. You can explore more examples by using The Heritage Foundation’s Defensive Gun Use Database, an interactive map that allows users to find recent defensive gun uses from all over the country quickly and easily.

  • April 2, Wolf Creek, Oregon: A homeowner was forced to defend himself with his firearm after confronting a man who was firing guns on the homeowner’s property. The intruder—who previously had been convicted of attacking a family member with a samurai sword during an argument—threatened the homeowner. Police said the homeowner acted in lawful self-defense when he shot and killed the man.
  • April 4, Chicago, Illinois: A doorbell camera captured a homeowner’s incredible defense against two armed, masked men who brazenly tried to rob the residence in broad daylight. The video shows that when the homeowner answers the door, two would-be robbers force their way inside. A struggle ensues off-camera, and the homeowner is next seen chasing down and fighting with one of the intruders on his front lawn. When the homeowner returned inside, police said, he found the second intruder pointing a gun at his wife and children. The homeowner retrieved his own gun from a safe, then shot and killed the assailant in defense of his family.
  • April 8, Asheboro, North Carolina: A homeowner, leaving for work, discovered that two of his vehicles had been ransacked during the night. As he went back inside to alert others in the house, he heard noises inside the garage and grabbed his firearm to investigate, police said. The homeowner discovered an intruder sitting in the front seat of one of his cars. He held the burglar at gunpoint until police arrived.
  • April 11, Fredericksburg, Texas: A woman came to her fiancé’s defense by shooting and killing an intruder who had brutally assaulted him in the couple’s home, police said. The woman begged the intruder to stop as he beat her fiancé and put him in a chokehold, but to no avail. As her fiancé began to lose consciousness, the woman retrieved a handgun and fatally shot the intruder.
  • April 17, Gaffney, South Carolina: When a homeowner asked a man to leave his property, he became irate, pulled out a handgun, and threatened the homeowner. The homeowner retreated, grabbed a rifle from inside the house, and again told the man to leave. The intruder then opened fire on the homeowner and five others, including a small child, police said. He fled when the homeowner defended himself and his household with the rifle. Police later arrested and charged a suspect.
  • April 18, Fairfield, Connecticut: A homeowner, awakened by his barking dogs in the early morning, was confronted by a machete-wielding intruder. He fled when he realized the homeowner was armed, police said.
  • April 20, Sacramento, California: A robbery suspect led multiple law enforcement officers on a chase through two counties, at times driving the wrong way and endangering other motorists. The suspect eventually crashed the car and ran through a residential neighborhood. Police said he approached an elderly homeowner sitting on his back patio and the homeowner, fearing for his life, shot and wounded him.
  • April 22, Las Vegas, Nevada: Local prosecutors determined that a concealed-carry permit holder acted in lawful self-defense when he shot and killed a man who fired a gun at him. The permit holder and a woman were eating fast food in a parking lot when the man, apparently angry over a failed gun purchase earlier in the day, randomly chose to vent his frustrations on them. Police said the man began shooting at the permit holder, who hid behind a trash can and returned fire with at least 11 rounds.
  • April 24, Lexington, Kentucky: A man who was the subject of active arrest warrants for robbery and domestic violence broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home and opened fire on those inside, police said. An armed resident returned fire, killing the ex-boyfriend and ending the threat long before police could have arrived.
  • April 24, Des Arc, Arkansas: Two inmates at a county jail attacked their guards, stole their keys, and escaped. Authorities captured one inmate within minutes, but the other—in jail on capital murder charges—was on the run for more than eight hours, police said. When the escapee finally was captured, it wasn’t by law enforcement but by armed citizens who found him hiding in an abandoned car.
  • April 29, Yoder, Colorado: A couple relied on the Second Amendment to defend themselves from four armed attackers who police believe mistook the couple’s legal hemp farm for an illegal marijuana operation. Hundreds of rounds reportedly were fired in a shootout, and the four intruders eventually fled.

It’s true that gun owners sometimes overstep the lawful bounds of the Second Amendment, and the failure to act responsibly with firearms can have devastating consequences.

But it’s equally true that, for countless Americans, the lawful defensive use of firearms has been the only thing standing between them and the devastating consequences of crime.

Whether it’s a woman rescuing her fiancé from certain death, or armed citizens unexpectedly helping to end a cross-county manhunt, it’s clear that the right to keep and bear arms plays a vital role in promoting public safety and protecting individual rights.

COMMENTARY BY

Amy Swearer is a senior legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Streak Continues: April Gun Sales Sets NICS Record

April 2020 set another record for background checks conducted through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS). The FBI NICS office conducted 2,911,128 background checks last month – a nearly 25% increase from the previous April, which had been the previous record high for the month of April.

April 2020 is now the fourth-busiest month in the history of the NICS office. Moreover, the week of April 13th through the 19th is the 9th busiest week in NICS history.

The more than 2.9 million checks run last month included: 984,872 checks related to the transfer of a handgun; 508,122 checks related to the transfer of a long gun; 68,746 checks related to “other” transfers; and, 34,779 checks related to multiple transfers in one transaction. There were also 311,568 permit checks and an additional 888,385 permit rechecks.

To be blunt: Americans set another record for background checks last month because we are a nation of law-abiding gun owners intent on keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. Nearly three-million background checks to purchase a firearm or obtain a permit were conducted in just the thirty days of April. That is not a small group of “super gun owners” stockpiling thousands of firearms or some small subset of the general population.

Gun owners include all, from every race, gender, and creed. We – the gun owning community – reflect the overall population because we are a significant part of the overall population.

April continued the 2020 trend of record-setting months for the NICS office. January was (at the time) the sixth-busiest month ever and the busiest January by far. February saw even more checks than January, making it the third busiest month ever (at the time) and easily set the February record. March reset the all-time record with more than 3.7 million checks.

This is not an emerging trend. December 2019 saw more than 2.9 million NICS checks and was the second-busiest December ever. Before that, each of these months in 2019 had set the record for that respective month: April, May, June, August, September, October, and November. Of course, April 2020 and May 2020 shattered those respective records.

There were more NICS checks run in 2019 than in any other year, and there were more run in 2018 than any prior year except 2016. The four busiest years for the NICS offices have been the last four years. So far this year, there have been 32% more NICS checks run than there were in the same time period in 2019.

We suspect that we may see more NICS records broken this year. The anti-gun billionaires see these numbers, as do their “volunteers” and their bought-and-sold puppets. Do you think that Mike Bloomberg is going to take this as a sign that the American people support 2nd Amendment rights?

This is a man who spent more than a billion dollars on a shortsighted bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination that only lasted three months. Bloomberg and his allies – as well as those that depend on his funding for their campaigns – will double down as they try to eliminate gun rights in the United States.

We respect the millions of Americans who have decided to become law-abiding gun owners in 2020, but their rights may be revoked if they do not vote this November.

Protecting our rights will take every one of us. Every single American that applied for a permit and/or purchased a firearm this year must do everything they can to help us protect our rights.

Volunteer. Spread the word. Get your family and friends registered to vote. Vote and make your friends and family vote, too.


NRA is always looking for volunteers. See how you can help today.


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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: NRA Endorses ‘Big Dan’ Rodimer for US Congress

LAS VEGAS/PRNewswire/ — Nevada Congressional candidate “Big Dan” Rodimer is proud to announce that he has received the official endorsement of the National Rifle Association in his run for the 3rd District. The NRA officially gave Rodimer an AQ rating, the highest rating possible for a candidate who has not previously held office.

In response to the endorsement, Rodimer stated, “I am very honored and proud to have the endorsement of the National Rifle Association in my run for Congress. The NRA is America’s longest-serving civil rights organization, with tens of thousands of members right here in Nevada and in the 3rd Congressional District. The NRA knows that I will fight to defend our 2nd Amendment Rights against gun-grabbers like Dan Schwartz and Susie Lee. Thank you to the NRA and all of their members here in Nevada.”

The NRA endorsement comes as a major boost to the Rodimer campaign since his primary opponent, former Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz, has openly spoken out in favor of Bloomberg-style, anti-2nd Amendment proposals, including a ban on alleged “assault rifles” in Nevada.

Big Dan Rodimer has made it clear time and again that he is the pro-2nd Amendment candidate in the race for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. Rodimer has often described gun rights as “human rights” and proudly possesses a CCW permit.

Since announcing his campaign for Congress last year, Rodimer has received endorsements from House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, the Nevada Right to Life and National Right to Life organizations, former Nevada Attorney General and current Nevada Trump Campaign Co-Chairman Adam Laxalt and highly successful Las Vegas businessman and reality TV star from the hit show “Pawn Stars”, Rick Harrison, among many others.

In February, Rodimer was placed on National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) Young Guns “Contender” status, the highest-ranking status of any congressional candidate in Nevada, signifying continued strength and momentum of his campaign, and opening the door for continued support from across the country. Every other Republican candidate in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District has either refused to fill out the NRA survey or received an “F” rating.

You can learn more about Big Dan Rodimer click here. For regular updates on the campaign of Big Dan Rodimer for Congress, you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Virginia Anti-gun Activist Unveils 2021 Gun Control Agenda

On April 10, disgraced Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed five pieces of anti-gun legislation into law. Those measures criminalize the private sale of firearms, ration handgun sales to one a month, create a “red flag” gun confiscation scheme, punish property crime victims who fail to hastily report a firearm as stolen, and restrict how Virginia parents may store and introduce their children to firearms. Northam sent two pieces of anti-gun legislation back, including legislation that erodes the Right-to-Carry and the state firearms preemption statute, to the general assembly with governor’s amendments. The General Assembly enacted both items of legislation on April 22.

As bad as this session was for Virginia gun owners, it could have been much worse. The General Assembly did not pass the proposed legislation that would have banned, and in some cases confiscated, commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines and accessories that Northam demanded. Moreover, moderate members of the Senate Democratic caucus helped to limit the background check legislation to sales, leaving gun owners free to loan and gift firearms to their friends and family without government intrusion.

The worst case scenario was avoided thanks to the herculean efforts of NRA members and other gun rights activists across the Commonwealth. Between the sanctuary county movement that now covers the vast majority of the state, NRA members contacting their lawmakers and meeting with them in person, and the massive gun rights rally on January 20 in Richmond, Virginia gun owners have become the model for how a passionate grassroots movement can influence government policy.

That same passion will be needed going forward.

On April 19, podcast Transition Virginia, which describes itself as “an edgy, political news-commentary podcast on the transition of power in Virginia from a red to blue​,” released an episode featuring Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran and Lori Haas of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). Virginia gun rights advocates may remember Haas as a vocal cheerleader for Attorney General Mark Herring’s 2015 attempt to remove reciprocity for 25 states Right-to-Carry permits. Haas opposed the compromise legislation with then-Governor Terry McAuliffe that reversed Herring’s maneuver by granting reciprocity to all state Right-to-Carry permits. Longtime gun rights supporters will know that CSGV is the handgun prohibition organization that until 1990 was known as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.

On the podcast, Haas laid out gun control activists’ plans for the 2021 legislative session. Haas told the interviewer, “We’ll be back… a couple people joked with me [Secretary Moran] one of them, ‘Lori we’ve got seven bills what are we going to do next year?’ Oh I’ve got a big list for you secretary.” Haas made clear that a renewed push to ban commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines was at the top of gun control advocates’ agenda, claiming that such items “have no place in civil society.” Haas also noted that her group is already working with legislators to pass a ban next year.

For his part, Moran claimed that commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms are not protected under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The secretary also approvingly pointed to Maryland’s ban on commonly-owned firearms.

Banning commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms or their magazines is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that governments cannot ban these firearms as they are “in common use” for lawful purposes.

Taken alone, Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in Heller is enough to dispose of Moran’s comments. In the decision, Justice Scalia made clear that the types of firearms protected by the Second Amendment include those “in common use at the time” for “lawful purposes like self-defense.”

The firearms industry has estimated that Americans own more than 17.5 million semi-automatic rifles. The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the U.S. and therefore indisputably “in common use” and protected by the Second Amendment.

All doubt as to whether the Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald preclude bans on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms was settled in 2015. That year, Justice Scalia joined Justice Thomas in a dissent from the denial of certiorari in Friedman v. Highland Park, a case concerning a local ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms.

Justice Thomas explained,

Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles. The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.

A sweeping gun ban isn’t all Haas and her gun prohibitionist allies are seeking to accomplish in 2021. Haas also told the podcast that gun control advocates are working on measures to restrict both concealed and open carry, so-called “safe storage” legislation, and a bill to enact an onerous firearm permit to purchase regime. In a decidedly regressive move, Haas even shared her interest in attacking Virginia’s restoration of rights procedure, whereby former criminals who have paid their debt to society are able to regain their civil rights.

Moran and Haas’s interview makes clear that the enemies of freedom are not satisfied with the gun controls enacted in Virginia this year. Therefore, the commonwealth’s gun rights activists must remain vigilant in order to combat this perpetual threat to freedom. Virginians should start by informing their friends, loved ones, and other like-minded individuals of the continuing threat gun owners face in the commonwealth. This year gun owners proved that a determined grassroots effort can preserve freedom. Virginian gun rights supporters must continue to exhibit the same tenacity and determination in the years to come.

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Loading a New Database of Defensive Gun Use

For well over a year, The Daily Signal has published a monthly series highlighting lawful gun owners who used their firearms to protect their liberties, lives, or livelihoods.

Although these articles recount just a dozen or so stories each month, the incidents are selected from hundreds of other, similar examples.

Those defensive gun uses are worth highlighting, too. That’s why The Heritage Foundation is introducing its Defensive Gun Use Database, an interactive map featuring all of the news accounts from police reports that we couldn’t fit into installments of the monthly series.

What’s the Defensive Gun Use Database?

The database features an interactive map that allows users to locate instances of defensive gun use in their own states and cities.


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Clicking on a specific dot on the map provides the user with an instant breakdown of important information about the incident of defensive gun use that the dot represents.

For example, users can see the date and location of the defensive gun use, what type of firearm was involved, and the context in which the gun was used—including to defend against a home invasion, armed robbery, or domestic violence).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost all major studies on defensive gun use have found that Americans use their firearms defensively between 500,000 and 3 million times each year. Researchers have good reason to believe, however, that most defensive gun uses aren’t reported to law enforcement, much less picked up by local or national media outlets.

For this reason, the Defensive Gun Use Database isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of all such incidents occurring in the United States. Such a database would be nearly impossible to compile.

Instead, this database features only cases that could be discovered and verified through public sources, and where the evidence indicates no wrongdoing on the part of the gun owner.

Why Is This Database Important?

Despite the limitations on data, the Defensive Gun Use Database is an incredibly important tool because these confirmed cases help prove that the “good guy with a gun” is not a myth. Rather, lawful gun owners clearly play an integral role in promoting public safety and protecting individual rights.

As the database proves, every single day lawful gun owners use their firearms to defend themselves and others against criminals when the government simply could not get there in time.

These gun owners are not vigilantes who went looking for trouble. They did not intentionally place themselves in dangerous situations. Many of them even fail to fit the caricature of “typical gun owner.”

They are young mothers defending their children from home invaders.

They are disabled individuals whose firepower enabled them to stand toe-to-toe with criminals who thought they had the advantage.

They are abused women who protected themselves from violent ex-lovers who came to exact revenge.

They are elderly men outnumbered by would-be thieves who believed they picked an easy target.

They’re our mothers, daughters, brothers, and sons. They’re our neighbors, friends, and co-workers. They’re working jobs and living lives in our neighborhoods.

In short, the Defensive Gun Use Database and map provide powerful answers to the common question: “Why would any rational, law-abiding American ever need to own a gun or carry it in public?”

What Can We Expect in the Future?

First, The Daily Signal will continue to publish our monthly series of articles on defensive gun uses. The database will not replace the series, but instead will provide an opportunity for readers to dive deeper into stories we don’t highlight.

Second, the database will keep growing as we update it to include new or newly verified instances of defensive gun use. We also hope to expand the database to include defensive gun uses that occurred in years predating our series.

Finally, our goal is to create a mechanism for readers to send us reports about instances we may have missed or that occurred to them and can be verified independently.

The public rollout of Heritage’s Defensive Gun Use Database is just the beginning.

COMMENTARY BY

Amy Swearer is a senior legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

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Gun Control Advocate Assures Americans: There’s No Need to Buy Guns ‘Cause “the Zombies” Aren’t Coming

The FBI performed a record-breaking 3.7 million firearm-related background checks last month. According to an April news release from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), March 2020 estimates of firearm sales show an increase of over 85% from March 2019 – single handgun sales jumped by 91%, and single long-gun sales increased by over 73%.

In an interview with Cheddar news earlier this month, David Chipman, a “senior policy advisor” for the anti-gun group Giffords, was asked about his “biggest concerns” regarding the “coronavirus gun sales spike.” (If the name rings a bell, Mr. Chipman, formerly a “senior advisor” with Bloomberg’s pre-Everytown group MAIG and an ex-ATF agent, has, among other things, advocated that AR-15 rifles should be regulated “just like” fully automatic machine guns.)

During the interview, he claimed that first-time gun owners may think “in their [own] mind they might be competent.” However, they were really “putting themselves and their families in danger” based on whether these guns were being “stored safely” and properly in the home. Sitting in what appeared to be his own kitchen, Chipman advised “those people who were first-time gun owners” to “secure that gun locked and unloaded and hide it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you’ve stored in a cabinet and only bring that out if the zombies start to appear, and I don’t think they are.”

Of course, following this advice means that the firearm isn’t readily available for defensive use should the need arise. (Hiding firearms among the kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer or in the flour bin also isn’t consistent with the Giffords philosophy of mandating that all unattended firearms be kept unloaded, with a lock in place, and secured in a gun safe or other locked container.)

The real issue – apart from why anyone would take the advice of someone who thinks beef jerky comes in cans – is Chipman’s apparent incredulity at the need to keep guns in the home for self-defense. Even with law enforcement stretched thin due to sick or quarantined officers, and hundreds of inmates being released from jails and prisons (hereherehere and here), this former ATF SWAT team member assures us all that there’s nothing to fear because, well, “the zombies” aren’t coming.

Chipman, quoted elsewhere, had expanded on his jerky-zombie theme. “If we can imagine how horrible this crisis is … the people who hoarded the guns might decide six months from now – once they see no zombies around but they’ve run out of tuna and beef jerky – that they need the money to buy food.” The “horrible” part, apparently, is not just running out of food, but the more disturbing possibility of the private sales of these firearms.

In contrast to the weird pointers on how to store guns in the kitchen, the NRA has launched new online gun safety courses to address “the growing number of first-time gun buyers during the coronavirus outbreak.” Joe DeBergalis, executive director of NRA General Operations, says “[t]hese courses will provide an option for first-time gun owners who don’t have the ability to take an NRA certified instructor-led class at their local shooting range at this time. While there is no replacement for in-person, instructor-led training, our new online classes do provide the basics of firearm safety training for those self-isolating at home.”

The zombies aren’t coming, but regardless of how gun control advocates depict this recent, unprecedented affirmation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, law-abiding Americans – now as ever – are putting their money on the Second Amendment to keep themselves and their families safe.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.