Defensive Gun Uses on the Rise in Philadelphia

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Here’s another one we can file under “Stories Progressives Would Rather You Didn’t See.”

According to a new report, the number of defensive gun uses in Philadelphia has increased as more responsible citizens are arming themselves. This development flies in the face of a common argument peddled by anti-gunner progressives: There is no such thing as a good guy with a gun. The question is, how much longer will the anti-gun lobby be able to deceive the American people?

The Philadelphia Inquirer report listed a series of examples of Philadelphia residents using their firearms to defend themselves:

In May, a South Philadelphia man stepped out of his house for a smoke when police said a gun-wielding man rode up on a bicycle and demanded money. The homeowner dropped his cigarette, pulled out his licensed gun and fatally shot the would-be robber in the head.

In March, an assistant manager at a Dollar General store in North Philadelphia used his legal gun to shoot a man who police said burst into the store in a ski mask, demanded money and threatened to kill the cashier. “I’m opening up the register for you, sir,” said the manager, who instead pulled his own handgun and shot the robber in the head, killing him.

The same month, a customer with a carry permit inside Max Food Market in the Yorktown section fatally shot a gunman who tried to rob him while he was playing a video poker machine. “You have to defend yourself,” said Maximo Torres Rodriquez, the store’s owner. “You have to do it.

The three would-be assailants died from their injuries and in all three cases authorities brought no charges against the shooters. These sorts of deadly clashes in which the intended victims survive and assailants die are rare in Philadelphia, but are becoming more common as a growing number of people have legally armed themselves amid rising numbers of carjackings, shootings and homicides.

The report noted that “[j]ustified homicides jumped 67% from 2020 to 2021 – from 12 to 12 according to the Philadelphia Police Department.”

The author also explained that “[a]nother six have been ruled justified by the department but are awaiting the District Attorney’s office to sign off” and that “in 2019, there were 10 justified killings, six in 2018 and eight in 2017.”

In 2022, there have been at least eight instances in which a victim has shot an assailant to death in self-defense so far. “The total number of shootings and the climate of gun violence has gotten more severe,” District Attorney Larry Krasner explained. “So I would expect that there would be more situations involving self-defense.”

Of course, this trend “worries some analysts and gun-control advocates, who say civilians who buy guns for protection may be putting themselves and others at more risk, not less,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

I bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Of course, we know the real reasons why these folks are concerned about the uptick in defensive gun uses, but I’ll get to that later.

Junwan Perkins-Owens, a 22-year-old former employee of Dollar General is another who was forced to shoot a robber in self-defense. He said he feared for his life when the would-be robber brandished a fake gun. He wasn’t charged with a crime, but the company fired him for having a gun on its property. The young man told the Inquirer that he had been shot previously in front of a convenience store in 2019, which prompted him to buy a firearm.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but victims are tired of being victims,” he said during the interview. “People are actually standing up for themselves and are making robbers think twice about taking hard-earned money from everybody else.”

There has been a significant increase in gun ownership in Philadelphia over the past two years. The Inquirer reported:

The number of handguns purchased in the city more than doubled to nearly 50,000 in the two-year period ending in 2021. Just 22,000 were bought during the years 2018 and 2019. Permits to carry guns on the streets have grown even faster, soaring to 52,000 last year, up from 7,500 in 2020, according to State police figures.

Opinions on the matter are mixed. Stanley Crawford, cofounder of activist organization Families of Unsolved Murder Victims Project indicated he was troubled by the increase in legal gun ownership, but acknowledged that it could deter violent criminals. “For these younger brothers running around here catching weak, unarmed people, the message is they aren’t going to be able to run up on everybody and maim and shoot and kill,” he said.

On the other hand, Jamal Johnson, an antiviolence activist who favors stricter gun control laws, was not enthused about the new trend. “Whether they have permits or not, everyone is quick with the gun now,” he said, pointing to another incident in which two men with legally-owned firearms started a mass shooting incident that killed three and injured 11.

“Guns are becoming too prevalent, whether they’re in the hands of licensed or unlicensed people,” Johnson continued. “We’re becoming the Wild, Wild West, and soon everyone is going to have a gun, killing people ― justified or not.”

However, the report notes that one of the individuals involved in the incident should not have been given a permit and was granted one in error. The report then erroneously argues:

Numerous studies have found that guns legally purchased are used far less for self-defense and are more likely to be used in unintentional and criminal shootings and in suicides. In 2019, there were nearly two and a half times as many suicides (47,511) as there were criminal homicides (19,141), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The author also notes a 2015 study showing that “national government surveys involving more than 14,000 people and found that people were more likely to be injured after threatening attackers with guns than they were if they had called the police or ran away.”

But what this report leaves out is the plethora of studies showing that defensive gun uses occur far more often than homicides and suicides. The most conservative estimate found that these incidents happen about 60,000 times per year. Others have found more than 2 million defensive gun uses annually. What many fail to mention is that the majority of defensive gun uses don’t involve anyone firing the weapon. In most cases, simply brandishing the weapon will cause an assailant to flee – and this constitutes defensive gun use.

Stories like these are highly inconvenient for the anti-gun crowd because they bear out what the data already shows. Guns are used defensively far more often than they are used in violent crimes. Unfortunately, the rest of the country still has to be educated on this particular truth.


Trending on RedState Videos