Armed citizens made a difference in 2017

Armed citizens made a difference more than once in 2017. (Dave Workman)

After 2017, don’t let anyone say armed citizens don’t make a difference.

While the news typically concentrates on gun-related crimes – including this week’s car smash burglary of a Bellevue, Washington gun store in which dozens of handguns were taken – law-abiding gun owners made a difference more than once during 2017, and the odds are that armed citizens will do it again in 2018.

The Bellevue burglary was caught on camera. Thieves used a stolen car to ram through the doors of the shop, and then used it to get away. This is the kind of crime that seems to be on the upswing over the past few years, and it underscores the failure of gun control extremists to understand that one more law will keep guns out of the wrong hands, as people responding to the story at KING 5 News’ Facebook page have made clear.

But that’s bad news. The good news is that good guys with guns intervened when it counted.

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The most notable of these cases was the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where an armed citizen, who also happens to be a firearms instructor, opened fire on church shooter Devin Patrick Kelley, bringing to an end his rampage that claimed 26 victims.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms summed it up by noting that good guy Stephen Willeford used a much-demonized semi-auto modern sporting rifle to confront Kelley.

“Isn’t it ironic,” Gottlieb said at the time, “that a private citizen, who the anti-gunners would prefer to be defenseless, used a rifle that gun control extremists have tried to ban with the claim that such guns do not belong in civilian hands?”

Months earlier, in May, an armed citizen in Arlington, Texas fatally shot what the Dallas Morning News called an “incoherent gunman” at a sports bar. The dead man, identified as 48-year-old James Jones, had just gunned down Cesar Perez, the manager of Zona Caliente.

The armed citizen shot Jones, who was armed with two guns and two knives, the newspaper said. Authorities called the armed Good Samaritan a hero for saving the lives of other patrons.

In September, a 22-year-old good guy attending church in Antioch, Tennessee intervened when a man identified as Emanuel Kidega Samson came through the doors and started shooting. But Robert C. Engle, 22, immediately got physical with Samson and before it was over, the gunman had been shot in the chest with his own gun, and Engle had retrieved his gun to hold Samson until police arrived.

By some estimates, there are more than 16.3 million active concealed carry permits and licenses in the United States. They’re a law-abiding group, according to author/researcher John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. Three states – Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida – each have more than 1 million carry licenses in circulation. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is aimed at letting those citizens go armed across all 50 states, but the gun prohibition lobby is engaged in a hysteria-laden crusade to stop that legislation in the U.S. Senate.

That may become one of the biggest early legislative battles in 2018.


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