(courtesy era-ila.org)

According to wikipedia.org, “low end estimates [for defensive gun use] are in the range of 55,000 to 80,000 incidents per year.” While my math skills rival my ability to order plumbing supplies in Lithuanian sign language, the lowest of the low estimates of annual DGU’s yields 150.68 per day. So now you know why the mainstream media doesn’t cover them: they’re as common as muck (as the Brits are wont to say). “Thanks for calling the Defensive Gun Use team at The New York Times. Please leave your name and number at the beep . . . We’re sorry, that mailbox is full and can’t take any messages at this time. Goodbye.” In fact . . .

a large number of DGU’s go unreported. We can only guess the reason. (The smart money’s on the armed defenders’ pathological fear of spending hours filling out forms in a police station that smells of stale urine, endless boredom and desperation; trying to not get arrested on a brandishing charge so as not to lose the weapon used – and every other firearm in their possession. And their right to keep and bear arms. Forever.) One thing’s clear: there are lots of DGU’s.

The DGU’s that do get reported have a hook, what’s called a “news peg.” When a teenager aims an Airsoft AR at a pair of home invaders and they scarper (to stick with British idioms), that’s news. If the boy or other armed defender gets beaten up, shot or knifed by the perps, even better! (Shouldn’t have had a gun!) If the bad guys get shot with a gun and, preferably, die, sure, OK, yes, the press will cover it. If it bleeds it leads.

If you’re in the North or California and it’s a local story – gotta be a local story – it’s a tragedy! The crooks were just turning their life around. A uniformed police officer will also make some helpful comment about locking doors or avoiding strangers and remind the general public to call 911 if they’re ever in a similar situation. If you’re in the South or what I like to call America, the news package will somehow manage to tell the tale without a hint of triumphalism. Because that would create vigilantes, or betray the (liberal) journalist’s code of conduct.

All that said, the age of miracles is not past! Every now and then this gun blogger, who reads more “gun violence” stories than he’s had hot dinners (again with the Britishisms), comes across a story of a defensive gun use where NO ONE WAS SHOT. Or injured! It’s the proverbial dog bites man story. But it does happen, especially on the slow news days leading up to Christmas (when criminals go shopping for your shopping). Like this [via the kansan.com]:

Newton, Kan.

A burglar was nearly shot in a Newton home over the weekend — entering the home through an unlocked door on the main floor while a family was watching television in the basement of the home at about 8:55 p.m. Dec. 19 on Spring Lake Drive.

The family was downstairs when they heard someone walking around upstairs. One person went upstairs to confront who was there. A scuffle ensued and the homeowner brought out a handgun.

“As soon as he saw the gun, he was gone,” said Lt. Scott Powell with the Newton Police Department.

The burglar was nearly shot I tell you! Nearly shot! There was almost blood everywhere! But . . . there wasn’t. Just one of 150 Americans defending themselves with a gun that day (statistically speaking) where no shots were fired, no blood spilled. Oh well, at least the homeowner reported the incident to the police – who were aware of the danger before it happened.

This burglar very well could be a serial burglar Newton Police first warned the community about at the end of October. The burglar enters homes through unlocked doors and steals cash if it can be found.

“This victim can identify him because he was face-to-face with him,” Powell said. “We do not know for certain, but we believe this is the same guy.”

Oh great. Tell the bad guy that he was ID’ed, just in case he thought he might return and silence the witness one way or the other. Another reason not to report a DGU to the police? Then again, I guess we can assume the homeowner is still armed, this incident taking place in Kansas and all. If this had gone down in New Jersey….

Governor Chris Christie would personally intervene to make sure that the Garden State polizei didn’t hassle the homeowner for his firearms identification card, make sure the gun used wasn’t prohibited by law and check the firearm against the State’s registry – just in case the homeowner was breaking the law when exercised his natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

If this happened in the street in NJ, and the armed self-defender didn’t have a carry permit for the weapon, an otherwise law-abiding citizen used a gun to save his life from criminal attack, Governor Christie would surely do his best to help. I’m thinking a pardon sometime after the citizen had been sentenced to five or more years in jail). At best. In my dreams.

Here in the gunblogosphere, writers do their best to chronicle successful defensive gun uses. TTAG has its Defensive Gun Use of the Day. Guns Save Lives and Concealed Nation do stellar work. As do many other blogs and yes, on occasion, even local news outlets. The NRA has its Armed Citizen. But I think they, we should do more.

The NRA – or TTAG-financed NRA or someone – should scour the country for DGUs. They should produce an endless series of short YouTube videos on the victors. The People of the Gun and open-minded Americans should have ongoing proof that (as the man says) guns save life. Who knew? Make that “Who knows?”

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26 Responses to Random Thoughts About a Defensive Gun Use WHERE NO ONE WAS SHOT!

  1. Unless somebody i care is seriously hurt, or there is serious loss of property, I’ll never call the cops. I’d rather leave the criminals roaming the streets than myself be interrogated, searched, coerced for admission and squeezed for information, and all my guns taken away “cuz your house is breached and we’ll keep all the guns until you install Level4 panels in the walls”

    • Bad idea actually, there’s a basic legal principal that go’s “he who calls 911 first gets to be the victim” if you don’t report the incident the suspect can call in and report you as a crazy man with a gun. Now it’s your word against his, and he’s the one who called the cops.

  2. There are only 3 reasons why things dont show up on evening news: never happened, always happens, censorship. Dunno which one DGU falls into

  3. in some places even putting up resistance is illegal, defendiing yourself is deemed criminal vigilante justice. that might be why so few dgu’s get reported. where i live if u fight back chances are they might arrest you!!

  4. I believe the NRA has been documenting DGU’s in “The Armed Citizen” column for decades. Maybe they are already “scouring the country” and have a database that could be shared/accessed? Have you asked? I haven’t, but plan to.

    • On Sirius/XM Patriot channel (125) every night at 12 Eastern, 9 Pacific, Cam & Co. NRA News has a three hour gun-related program. Each night, following the 23:00 (Pacific) news break, he has a segment where he chronicles 1) the Deal of the Day – some career criminal who gets a sweetheart plea deal, often one of a series, from the judicial system and then goes on to rob and murder some more, 2) A report of a Defensive Gun Use by a legal armed citizen, and 3) A report on the Good Guy of the Day – some citizen who stepped in and helped, often heroically, just because it was the right thing to do – not always involving a firearm.

  5. I have been on the mailing list for DUF digest that chronicles defensive uses of firearms daily. He usualy drops in a very brief comment and he also sends out mailers for local and national firearms related news and legislation. I don’t remember how long I have been receiving them but I have got one nearly every day for over a year and there is always multiple defensive gun uses that he finds every day. The time he puts into it is pretty impressive but I don’t see his stuff mentioned much so check out his website and sign up for the email if you are interested in the subject. Besides the three emailed he generates almost daily I haven’t received any annoying spam from him, just the stories. Check it out. http://www.spw-duf.info

  6. ” A burglar was nearly shot in a Newton home over the weekend — entering the home through an unlocked door on the main floor while a family was watching television in the basement

    …A scuffle ensued and the homeowner brought out a handgun.

    “As soon as he saw the gun, he was gone,” said Lt. Scott Powell with the Newton Police Department.”…

    If this happened in the street in NJ … Governor Christie would surely do his best to help. I’m thinking a pardon sometime after the citizen had been sentenced to five or more years in jail.”

    The point is, use a gun lawfully to protect yourself, and you are at risk of all kinds of consequences, whether convicted of anything or not. *This* is why lawful gun owners are so against the thickets of law and regulation, proposed as “common sense” gun control. The effect – and many believe the intent – is to disarm you by other means.

    If the folks advocating for gun control would like to actually succeed, they first have to earn the trust of the people they would regulate. I’ll wait.

  7. I can only speak for myself and my experience. I’ve been unlucky enough all my life to live in places where permits were not issued unless you knew somebody or were wealthy. Combine that with the jobs I’ve worked being nights and weekends in some less than stellar areas and I’ve felt compelled to carry a gun illegally just for self preservation.

    I’ve been involved in several DGU’s over the years. Some not requiring shots and 2 that did. The one shots fired dgu that got the police involved ended with a completely off the record wink and attaboy from the responding cops that ended with me being let go and keeping my firearm. This is actually the first time I’ve ever told anybody about this one.

    Bad guy got stuffed in a cruiser and the cops had enough on him to let me dissappear into the night. Win, win.

    I’ve been cut so much slack by the cops in several states that I wonder sometimes how I made it without at least losing my gun rights. Just lucky, I suppose.

    None of my dgu’s have been reported on thru official channels . And that’s the way I like it. That one time it wasn’t me calling 911 and when the first cop showed up I figured I was going to jail. These days I try real hard to not get on any radar.

    • “I’ve been cut so much slack by the cops in several states that I wonder sometimes how I made it without at least losing my gun rights.”

      For your sake, I hope you never need to find out…

    • Living in NYC for the first half of my life, I understand all too well what you’re saying. Although I have lived a life of great personal rectitude and am as beyond reproach as Caesar’s wife, there is a remote and minuscule possibility that I may have availed myself of my Second Amendment right in NYC without benefit of clergy (so to speak).

    • Thank you for sharing your story, which I think is not all that unique but many people are afraid to speak out.

      Some family friends of mine owned stores in NYC in the 70s and they told me of many robberies and dgu’s. All ended with the cops informing the wounded perp that they had found him on the street like that before taking him away. Times have certainly changed since then and I doubt officers would be so reasonable today.

  8. There used to be a meth house, which has since been demolished, in the lot behind my house. These guys always used to burn out next to my house at four in the a.m. driving down the easement to access their rental. One day I got into it with one of them, next thing know 3 guys, two of which were over 300 lbs easy, the other guy, a friend of their’s who had recently gotten out of the joint, looked like a solid 200lbs, shaved head, the whole business. As the three approached my property line, I simply lifted up my shirt, flashed the handle of my 1911 and said, “Not today guys.” Their eyes got big, then they stepped off and left without a word. Later when I was doing yard work, I saw the shaved head dude and called him over to talk to me. I told I had no problem, with anything they may choose to do in private, including meth, as long as they could handle it like adults, but they couldn’t, they were destroying the rental they had, burning out my driveway, bring police attention to the whole block and leaving needles on the ground in a trail commonly used by school kids. He said he “didn’t know about any drugs,” he was clean and in parole. I reiterated, I could care less about the drugs as long as they are handling shit like an adult. He realized why I was worked up, wound up shaking hands and saying cool. I’m still here, the meth house is demolished, nobody got hurt, nobody went to jail.

  9. I’m clueless on how you can quantify this. I know the less I call the annoying local po-leece the better – let alone the news media. I’ve never been involved in any gun situation but have in threat of violence/baseball bat to the head and actual physical combat…and I didn;t need publicity.

    • “I know the less I call the annoying local po-leece the better – let alone the news media.”

      I’m with you on that.

      If there’s one thing I’ve picked up by reading TTAG, it’s that one better think long and hard before calling law enforcement.

      Once that card has been played, *anything* can happen, including life-changing consequences you never would have realized were possible.

  10. “If you’re in the North or California and it’s a local story…” Then it is usually some guy getting shot in a gas station parking lot in Durham at 2am. The police never know the motive! Maybe drug deals gone bad?

  11. “…if you live in the north or California…”

    “If you live in the south or what I call America…”

    You just discounted Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas. Possibly more area than all of Dixie.

  12. This is the reason I got DGU insurance from US Law Shield. If I ever need it, God willing I won’t, then I am covered. Now they cover you for use of any self defense implement. Bat, feet, knife, pet wolverine, whatever. Best $14 bucks a month I ever spent. Plus I personally know someone who has had to use the insurance. He was cleared and it didn’t cost him a dime.

  13. (The smart money’s on the armed defenders’ pathological fear of spending hours filling out forms in a police station that smells of stale urine, endless boredom and desperation; trying to not get arrested on a brandishing charge so as not to lose the weapon used – and every other firearm in their possession. And their right to keep and bear arms. Forever.)
    Which is why I did not report the incident with the three thugs and my 870 to the local small town cops who were very anti-gun. BTW, I did later move out of that wonderful community when the local politicians had section 8 housing built and filled them with people of trash.

  14. “If this had gone down in New Jersey….
    Governor Chris Christie would personally intervene [in a too little, too late attempt to burnish his 2A bona fides] just in case [there was a GOP presidential primary campaign approaching.]”

    That one just needed a little editing for clarity.

  15. This TTAG article cites 55,000 to 80,000 yearly occurrences of defensive gun use in the U.S. sourced from Wikipedia. The weight of the evidence suggests that these figures are ridiculously low. To my knowledge, the largest and most rigorous study of defensive gun use in the U.S. was published in 1995 by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz from Florida State University. It was titled: “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” and was published by the Northwestern University School of Law’s “Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.” Kleck & Gertz estimated 2,000,000 yearly defensive uses of firearms in the U.S. Fourteen other peer-reviewed studies have placed the occurrence of DGUs between 800,000 and 2,500,000 episodes per year. I believe the defensive use of firearms in the U.S. is 10 to 35 times more common than this article’s premise.

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