Over the last two decades, you will search in vain for civilians successfully using guns in self-defense in entertainment television shows. When civilians use guns defensively, something always goes wrong. Either they die using the gun, accidentally shoot the wrong person, or they get in the way of police trying to do their job. We regularly collect those cases, so when a television show finally shows a successful defensive gun use, we want to acknowledge it.
The only recent exceptions to that bias have been two episodes on Paramount’s Yellowstone (Season 4, Episode 8, Dec 19, 2021 and Season 4, Episode 1, November 7, 2021) and one episode on NBC’s Magnum PI (Season 5, Episode 7, March 26, 2023). A new episode of CBS’s S.W.A.T. has two examples of the failure of self-defense. In the first case, an older homeowner claims to have wounded one of the three robbers who broke into his home, but the homeowner is himself wounded, and the criminals successfully steal all the gold coins that the robbers were after. In the second case, the robbers break into a couple’s home. The couple has guns, but they are not able to use them defensively. Worse, when S.W.A.T. arrives at this second house, one of the robbers uses a machine gun owned by the homeowner to unsuccessfully fight S.W.A.T..
By contrast, here are lots of examples of defensive gun uses. Civilians use guns successfully, defensively in public at very high rates.
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CBS’s S.W.A.T. (Season 6, Episode 20, May 5, 2023)