U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man in West Palm Beach, Fla., who allegedly threatened to open fire on a crowd Aug. 7 is just the latest in a number of incidents in which a legally-armed private citizen appears to have prevented a tragedy.
Gun prohibitionists have remained silent in the wake of the shooting, where—according to the Palm Beach Post—a “brawl between two women escalated into a fight involving about 20 people.” The suspect reportedly “grabbed a short-barreled rifle from his car and threatened to fire into the crowd.”
At that point, an unidentified 32-year-old man who has an active concealed carry license, drew and fired.
The story got all the way to the Pacific Northwest, where KOMO News (the ABC affiliate in Seattle) reported the would-be gunman announced plans to “shoot up the crowd.”
According to WPBF, the armed citizen remained on the scene and cooperated with responding officers. The 22-year-old died at the scene.
This was the latest incident in a growing number of shootings this summer involving armed private citizens firing in self-defense or in defense of a larger crowd of unarmed people.
The most high-profile of these incidents so far has been the shooting of a would-be mass killer at the Greenwood Park shopping mall in Indiana. There, a legally-armed 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken fatally shot 20-year-old Douglas Sapirman, who had fired 24 rounds from an AR-15-style rifle into a crowded food court. Dicken fired ten rounds with a 9mm pistol, hitting Sapirman from a distance estimated at 40 yards, stopping what could have been a massacre.
While Dicken was hailed as a hero by local authorities, the story seemed to disappear from the headlines after a few days. Many in the firearms community suggest it’s because stories about good guys with guns do not fit the anti-gun “narrative.”
As July came to a close, the 80-year-owner of a Norco, Calif., liquor store fired a shotgun blast at a rifle-toting would-be robber, seriously wounding him in an incident caught on the store’s security camera. The segment went viral, making Craig Cope a national icon, but again, his notoriety seemed to quickly fade, as stories about good guys with guns often do.
In Middletown, Ohio, an Amazon delivery driver “is not facing any charges after he shot a knife-wielding man on Sunday,” according to WXIX News. The report says the unidentified driver was approached by a suspect identified as Christopher Roberts, who was allegedly armed with a knife. The driver shot Roberts in the leg.
Responding Middletown officers found the suspect and took him to a local medical center for treatment. After being treated, WXIX reported, he walked out of the hospital and again had to be rounded up by police, who took him to a different hospital.
Middletown Police Chief David Birk told reporters it was obvious the Amazon driver was in fear. When the suspect walked away from the first hospital, it “kind of helped clarify the situation that the Amazon delivery driver was just defending himself,” the chief reportedly explained.
Go to Google and look up “self-defense shooting.” You will see at last 2,410,000 references listed, with the most recent incidents first, and then going back in time. Self-defense is hardly a recent phenomenon, but the fact that more such cases seem to be showing up—albeit temporarily—in news reports suggests more armed citizens are fighting back against what seems to be out-of-control violent crime.
Right around Oct. 1, the Crime Prevention Research Center should be releasing it updated data on the number of active concealed carry licenses and permits in the U.S. Last year, the number was above 21.5 million, and that number should be higher this year. In addition, consider the number of people legally carrying without permits in 25 states that now have “Constitutional Carry” laws.
It is incumbent upon armed citizens to know their state’s self-defense/use-of-force statutes. One cannot resort to deadly force over minor offenses, but in clear cases of imminent and unavoidable death or grave bodily harm—such as an armed robber aiming a rifle at a liquor store owner, or someone opening fire in a shopping mall—the threshold has obviously been passed.
People buying guns for personal protection should always seek competent instruction.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.