“I’m here by myself with my infant baby,” the slight, 18-year-old widow told the 911 dispatcher. Two burly men, armed and dangerous, were breaking down the door to her remote rural home.
Sarah McKinley faced impossible odds. The police could not arrive in time to save her. One week earlier, her husband had died of cancer.
The violent intruders wanted McKinley’s leftover prescription drugs. One of them was a drug addict.
“It was either going to be him or my son,” McKinley later said. “And it wasn’t going to be my son.”
The men broke down the door, one of them brandishing a foot-long hunting knife.
McKinley fired, averting a tragic ending to a harrowing experience. The other intruder fled.
Guns make women safer. It’s an uncomfortable fact for opponents of the Second Amendment. Most violent offenders actually do not use firearms, which makes guns the great equalizer.
Over the most recent decade, from 2001 to 2010, “about 6% to 9% of all violent victimizations were committed with firearms,” according to a federal study.
States with nondiscretionary concealed handgun laws have been shown to have 25% fewer rapes than states that restrict or forbid women from carrying concealed handguns, as John Lott detailed in his book, “More Guns, Less Crime.”
“There are large drops in overall violent crime, murder, rape, and aggravated assault that begin right after the right-to-carry laws have gone into effect,” Lott found. “In all those crime categories, the crime rates consistently stay much lower than they were before the law.”
Concealed-carry laws are particularly powerful. For a would-be criminal, they dramatically increase the cost of committing a crime, paying safety dividends even to citizens who do not carry.
Among the 10 states that adopted concealed-carry laws over a 15-year span, there were 0.89 shooting deaths and injuries per 100,000 people, less than half the 2.09 per 100,000 experienced in states that did not adopt such laws, Lott shows.
Of course, a mass murderer who is bent on slaughtering innocents will find a way to wreak havoc. Earlier this year, a teenager in China used a knife to kill eight victims and wound five. In 2010, a series of knife attacks in China killed nearly 20 people.
Opponents of the Second Amendment argue that guns increase the death toll in these cases, ignoring the fact that unarmed targets provide less deterrence and only increase the body count.