Data Visualization Firearms
Defensive Gun Uses in the U.S.
Updated July 19, 2024
Concealed-carry permit?
Multiple assailants?
Shots fired?
Firearm type

Notes: This page was originally published on April 13, 2020. Locations are approximate.

Source: Heritage Foundation research.

Design and Development: Graphic produced by John W. Fleming and Jay Simon. Data compiled by Amy Swearer.

All of the law-abiding citizens featured in this database successfully defended their liberties, lives, or livelihoods with the lawful use of a firearm. These cases are not based on hearsay, but on verifiable reports found through public sources.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost every major study on defensive gun use has found that Americans use their firearms defensively between 500,000 and 3 million times each year. There’s good reason to believe that most defensive gun uses are never reported to law enforcement, much less picked up by local or national media outlets.

This database, therefore, is not intended to be comprehensive. Instead, it highlights just a fraction of the incredible number of times Americans relied on the Second Amendment—not the government getting there in time—to protect their inalienable rights. Despite the limitations on data, these confirmed cases of defensive gun use help prove that the “good guy with a gun” is not a myth, but an integral part of American society.

Click on a circle to see more information in the map above. Scroll to zoom and click + drag to pan.

Tap on a circle to see more information in the map above. Double-tap on the map to zoom + drag to pan.