Article published Monday, July 3, 2015, at Fox News.

Lynne Russell, ex-CNN anchor, and her husband are alive thanks to a gun

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Lynne Russell and her husband, Chuck de Caro, believe they would be dead if she hadnít been carrying a gun. Late Wednesday night, Russell was forced at gunpoint from a motel parking lot into her room. The robber, not satisfied with merely taking her husbandís briefcase, started shooting at him. Fortunately, Russell had handed de Caro her purse, with her handgun inside it. De Caro shot the attacker, who later died at the hospital.

This story made national news. ABC News, NBC News, Fox News, People Magazine and even such foreign publications as the UK Guardian newspaper mentioned that Russell, a CNN anchor from 1983 to 2001, and de Caro both had concealed handgun permits.

We see these stories every day, some of the heroic actions caught on video and others where the criminal is killed, but you would never know it, because the national media continually ignore them. The case with Russell is an exception because she is a public figure.

To illustrate how common such defense is, consider a few other cases that occurred over the last week where permitted concealed handguns stopped crimes:

-- Miami, June 24: A pizza driver was in a parking lot walking to his car at 1 a.m. when two robbers opened fire on him, putting holes in his car windows. The deliveryman killed one robber and wounded the other.

-- Evansville, IN, June 29: Two men looking for a fight confronted a man, Erick Paula, on a remote country road at 3:30 a.m. Paula fired his gun when the men approached him, wounding both of them.

-- Clearwater Beach, Fla., June 29: An Uber driver, a former New York City police officer, was being choked by a passenger. The driver pulled out his gun and shot the passenger in the foot, wounding him.

-- Baton Rouge, La., June 29: A robber walked up to a man and asked if he could borrow a lighter. As the man reached into his pocket, the robber drew his gun and demanded his possessions. The victim had a permitted concealed handgun in his pocket and shot the attacker.

-- Albuquerque, N.M., June 30: A robber had just held up a business before attacking a pizza delivery driver. The driver, a concealed handgun permit holder, shot and critically wounded the robber.

-- Springfield, Mo., June 30: A car owner used his gun to stop a carjacking. The man wounded the criminal, who was captured a few blocks away.

These cases didnít make national news. Often they got only one local news story. But to get even local news coverage, someone almost always has to be shot.

A recent report from the Violence Policy Center falsely claimed that defensive gun use is extremely rare, with only 258 justifiable homicides with guns in 2012, as opposed to 8,342 criminal homicides. The report received major media attention in such places as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

It is an old assertion, but there is no support for it. The justifiable homicide number is a useless statistic. Very few police departments record them, and those that do rarely do so in a systematic way. But more importantly, well less than one percent of defensive gun uses involve the attacker being killed or wounded.

Finally, if their claim were right, banning guns would lower murder rates. After all, you would lose only a few defensive gun uses compared to all the murders committed with guns. But, in fact, every single time that guns have been banned, whether in cities or in entire nations, murder rates go up. Gun bans primarily take guns away from law-abiding citizens.

Thank goodness Lynne Russell and Chuck de Caro were able to defend themselves. But Americans would be better informed if it werenít just the cases involving celebrities who defend themselves that got news coverage.

ē Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author of "More Guns, Less Crime" (University of Chicago Press, 2010).

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Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

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