Criminal uses of guns almost always make headlines, but the news tends to be a bit quiet when a lawful firearm owner takes action.
Yet it’s simply a fact that legally-armed citizens can make a difference, as countless incidents have shown. One of those most recent incidents just took place in Ohio, where a man with a knife was threatening diners at a local McDonald’s restaurant.
It was certainly a frightening scene for everybody who had stopped in for burgers: On Saturday morning just after 11 a.m., a young man began confronting customers at the fast-food chain in rural Coshocton County, Ohio.
According to NBC 4 – WCMH News, the 22-year-old suspect was armed with a knife and making threats. But he probably wasn’t expecting another patron to be armed and ready to deal with the situation.
“Another male inside the store that was eating noticed the male with the knife and confronted him. That male had a concealed carry permit and drew his weapon,” the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office explained.
Drawing that lawfully concealed handgun apparently got the suspect’s attention. The armed citizen was able to convince the man with the knife to move outside the McDonald’s and away from diners. Once in the parking lot, he did the wise thing and dropped the blade.
Police arrived shortly after and arrested the man without further incident. Authorities did not immediately identify either the suspect or the Good Samaritan, and it looks like the incident ended without either the armed resident or deputies firing a shot.
And that is exactly the side of concealed carry that goes under the radar. In many cases, simply the presence of a prepared and armed citizen can de-escalate a situation before violence takes place. These cases usually don’t make national news and do not receive nearly as much attention as tragedies.
How often do armed citizens stop crimes? It’s difficult to say exactly, but the number is likely in the millions per year. A 1995 study from The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, published by the Northwestern University School of Law, estimated that over two million defensive gun incidents happen annually.
That Clinton-era study is of course a bit dated, but follow up studies are few and far between. If the Northwestern University study is accurate, the number could be even higher now, since concealed carry permits have become far more prevalent since the mid-1990s.
In Ohio, where the McDonald’s incident took place, a significant percentage of residents have concealed firearms permits — and statistics show that number is growing.
“One in 20 Ohioans have concealed carry permit,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last year. “Based on this data, it can be estimated that as many as 652,000 Ohio residents have active concealed carry licenses.”
Concealed carry permits are becoming more common in other parts of the United States, as well.
“There are now over 16.3 million permit holders, a record 1.83 million increase in permits since last July,” a 2017 study from the Crime Prevention Research Center found. “Nationwide, 6.5% adults have a concealed handgun permit. Outside of California and New York, 8 percent of adults have a permit.”
Meanwhile, violent crime in America has fallen to nearly half of what it was in 1990, a fact that is frequently ignored by the anti-gun crowd.
Find more statistics at Statista
Here’s the bottom line: The Second Amendment works. Armed citizens can make a real difference, and it’s time to start highlighting their role instead of ignoring it.
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