Given the debate over the 9-year-old with a gun, some examples of children who used guns to save the lives of family members

29 Aug , 2014  

With all the discussion about possibly setting age restrictions on gun use after the tragic death of a firearms instructor in Arizona (see analysis here), here are a few examples of young children saving lives with guns.

The fearless 11-year-old took action when she saw the cougar following her 13-year-old brother as he was walking towards their home . . .

In a phone interview with MailOnline Wednesday night, Shelby’s grandfather, William White, revealed that it was a fourth cougar killed on his property in the past several weeks.

Mr White, 64, a cattle rancher, said that earlier this month, Shelby’s 13-year-old brother, Tanner, also shot a cougar that has been circling his farm. . . .

The animal appeared to be moving in the direction of Shelby’s 13-year-old brother, who was unaware of the danger as he made his way toward the basement door with a bag of animal feed in his hands. . . .

Luckily for the older brother, the boy didn’t realize he was in danger until the cougar lurking nearby was dead at the hands of his sister. . . .

— Snejana Farberov, “How girl ELEVEN grabbed gun and shot dead cougar that was stalking her brother, 13, outside their house,” UK Daily Mail, February 26, 2014

A ten-year-old boy left home alone with his sister used his mother’s gun to shoot an intruder in the face, police said. . . .

Deputies say Dean Favron and Roderick Porter knocked several times on the apartment door. The two young children, a ten-year-old boy and eight-year-old girl, stood on the other side, terrified. “He told his sister to be quiet and seconds later, they started kicking on the door and finally kicked the door in,” said Sheriff Mike Cazes. The two children ran to their mother’s bedroom closet.

In a panic, the ten-year-old grabbed his mother’s gun for protection. “He did what I told him to do. I never told him to get the gun, but thank God he did,” she said. Once the two suspects opened the door, threatening the kids, deputies say the boy fired a bullet into the lip of Roderick Porter. The two men were taken to the hospital by a third suspect, who is a 15-year-old juvenile. Once they got to the hospital, they were later arrested. “It’s just hard. I don’t understand why they would do that. I know they have little brothers and sisters and they wouldn’t want anyone to break into their house,” said the mother. . . .

— David Spunt, “Child shoots intruder during home break-in,” KSLA News 12, July 16, 2009.


A 12-year-old girl did what she had to do to protect herself from an intruder in her home on the Texas border. 

She hid in a closet and shot him when he tried to open the door.

Authorities said the preteen was home alone when the suspect rang the door bell.

When she didn’t answer, deputies said, the man went around the back of the house and kicked in the door.

At that point the girl grabbed a gun and and hid in a closet.

“He had worked his way all the way through the house and into the bathroom,” Bryan County Under sheriff Ken Golden said. “And from what we understand, he was turning the doorknob when she fired through the door.”

Crews said she remained calm and called for help after she shot the intruder.

— Kevin Ogle, “12-year-old girl speaks after shooting intruder,” News Channel 4, KFOR.com

Three burglars in a suburban neighborhood in Albuquerque, N.M., got more than they bargained from 11-year-old resident, Alyssa Gutierrez. Since Gutierrez’ cousin left her alone in the house only moments earlier, she initially dismissed the sound of the door handle rattling as her cousin trying to scare her. In response, she turned up the volume on the television to ignore him.

When three teenaged burglars forced open the door with a crowbar and entered the residence, Gutierrez slid down from the couch where she had been seated in attempt to hide. The masked intruders spotted her and she realized that one of them was armed with a rifle.  Gutierrez ran to her mother’s bedroom and retrieved a .22 caliber rifle with a pink stock. The bolt action rifle was loaded with only two rounds.

Gutierrez, who had learned to shoot just days earlier, said, “I was planning if they came right next to me, I would shoot them.”

–Richard Nance, “Burglary Thwarted by Armed 11-Year-Old with Pink Rifle,” Guns & Ammo, December 21, 2011.

Here are a few of the ten examples of young children saving the lives of others in John Lott’s book, “The Bias Against Guns“:

“When Tony D. Murry held a box cutter to Sue Gay’s neck Monday night, Gay’s 11-year-old adopted son ran upstairs at the home at 1348 N. Huey St. and grabbed a gun. “He hit the bottom of the stairs with the .45 and stood ready stance with the gun,” said Gay with feet spread apart and her hands outstretched as if holding a handgun. The boy shot one round and hit Murry, 27, in the chest, even though the man was shielding himself with Gay. “I don’t know how he did that. One shot and he got him. He’s my little hero,” Gay said of the grandson she adopted. The fifth-grader may not have been just a lucky shot. This is a family that knows guns. “Before his dad died, they’d go target shooting. He knows they’re not toys and not something to mess with,” Gay said.

— Gwen O’Brien, “11-year-old shoots, kills assailant threatening his grandmother,” South Bend Tribune, 6 February 2002.

Clarksdale, Mississippi: A Clarksdale man was shot to death by a 12-year-old girl Saturday night as he allegedly attacked the girl’s mother, police said. “She was sitting on the front porch with a friend when Mr. Fox came along and jumped on her. She went into the house, and he came in behind,” said Fortenberry. “She tried to close the door behind her, but he forced his way on in.” Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith said the girl, whose name is being withheld because she is a juvenile, witnessed the attack, grabbed a semiautomatic pistol and fired a single shot into Fox’s chest. “He was apparently choking her when the girl went and got the gun,” Meredith said.”

— Jeff Piselli, “Girl shoots mother’s assailant, police say,” (Mississippi) Clarksdale Press Register, 30 April 2001.

Angie, Louisiana: Last Friday, four men, ages 17 to 25, attempted robbing a woman dying of cancer at gun point. The woman, who weighs only 85 pounds, takes pain medication, including OxyContin, which the men reportedly wanted to steal. A small newspaper described the plan: “One guy [Brumfield] went in on a pretense to visit. He was to open the door, then the others were to rush in, put a gun on him and say ‘get down’. The others were wearing ski masks.” But the woman’s 13-year-old son saw the masked men before they broke into the house and got the family’s .20 gauge shotgun. He fired a shot, wounding one of the criminals, and causing the criminals to run away.

– “13-year-old foils robbery with shotgun,” Daily News (Bogalusa, Louisiana), 26 January 2001.

We have put together a list of recent cases that we will put up soon.  The debate over guns would be quite different if cases such as these got even some national news coverage.

The latest news story on the Arizona death is available here.


4 Responses

  1. […] Crime Prevention Research Center: Given the debate over the 9-year-old with a gun, some examples of children who used guns to save the… […]

  2. […] be a story in the news of a child shooting a house invader with a gun and defending his family. The Crime Prevention Research Center has provided a number of examples of that. On the one hand, a child having access to a gun presents a safety concern. But what if the child, […]

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