Top 3 Good Guys with Guns (and Why Their Stories Matter)

Stories of good guys with guns can be hard to find in mainstream media, but they’re out there. In fact, if you broaden the net to cover more than only recent events, you can find practically endless examples of justifiable self-defense and defense of others. Good guys with guns stop more incidents than the mainstream media would have you believe. Here are three heroes who rose to the challenge.

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Elisjsha Dicken, pictured, was 22 years old when he stopped an armed active killer. [Photo: Indy Star]

Elisjsha Dicken

On July 17, 2022, a man decided to travel to a mall and commit murder. He armed himself with several guns, including long guns and a handgun, and went to Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana. This required him to walk more than a mile, and when he arrived at the mall, he headed to a restroom in the food court. According to security cameras, the man stayed in the restroom for just over one hour—62 minutes, to be exact—before exiting to open fire on innocent shoppers. However, his killing spree was cut short by the presence of a good guy armed with a lawfully owned handgun.

Elisjsha Dicken was 22 years old that day and visited the mall with his girlfriend. He just happened to be present when the armed killer exited from the restroom—and he’d done enough training to be more accurate than the average handgun owner. Dicken engaged the armed killer fifteen seconds after the man began shooting into the crowd. He did this by drawing his concealed Glock 19 and firing defensive shots at the perpetrator from a distance of approximately 40 yards. Eight of the ten shots Dickens fired impacted the perpetrator, and although the perpetrator attempted to then retreat into the restroom, he fell where he stood.

One reason Elisjsha Dicken is an important example to remember is the distance at which he engaged the armed killer. Forty yards is quite a stretch for many—most—handgun owners, and he did it under incredible stress and with fantastic speed. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no set distance for a gunfight, and it’s wise to remember that when you’re training. Being proficient at varying distances is essential.

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Pastor David George was at Walmart with his family when an armed active killer arrived. [Photo: NRA/David George]

David George

In the case of an armed active killer in Tumwater, Washington, the perpetrator was a repeat offender. Among his crimes were many felonies and two stretches in prison for being a felon possessing a firearm of some kind. The perpetrator’s ex-wife had a protection order against them and had begun carrying a concealed handgun to defend herself from violent attacks. Interestingly enough, the perpetrator made it easy to draw all sorts of attention to himself. He borrowed a car and a Ruger LCR to commit his crimes, then decided he wanted another vehicle. That’s when he made a failed attempt to steal a car at a Tumwater gas station and ended up taking off by driving the wrong way heading into Tumwater. He then crashed his car and attempted a few more carjackings—including firing shots in broad daylight—before managing to successfully steal an SUV. Finally, he arrived at his apparent destination: Tumwater Walmart. Once inside, he visited the sporting goods area, shot open a display case, and stole more ammo for the borrowed LCR.

It was the shots being fired in Walmart that ultimately got the attention of other shoppers, including David George. 47-year-old George was both a pastor and a volunteer EMT. On that day, he was visiting Walmart to exchange a tricycle for his granddaughter and had his wife, daughter, and granddaughter with him. He was carrying a concealed Gen 3 Glock 19 in a Bladetech Nano holster behind his strong-side hip.

When the gunfire erupted in sporting goods, George was at customer service with his daughter and granddaughter. His daughter immediately picked up her daughter and left. George would later relay in conversation that he wasn’t positive about where his wife was at that point, and that’s part of what influenced him to act.

In the minutes to follow, George would find himself facing the killer, who would then run into the parking lot. George and another armed citizen followed him and saw him trying to steal more cars and shooting—and paralyzing—the driver of one car. The brief summary is that George successfully engaged the armed killer, firing five shots from a distance of approximately seven feet. The killer was removed from the equation. George holstered his Glock and began administering aid to the driver, who’d been shot and paralyzed by the now-deceased killer.

David George’s experience taught us many things. One was the vital importance of having a plan for yourself and your family. He’d decided far before that day how he and his family would handle an armed active killer, and they all did exactly as planned without hesitation. In addition, he’d received training with his handgun, and he was a competent shot. And thanks to his EMT training, he was able to help a victim until further assistance arrived. This is a good example of the value of having some medical knowledge and carrying a tourniquet, which you’re far more likely to need than your firearm.

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John Daub found himself the focus of a home invasion. [Photo:, John Daub]

John Daub

This one’s a bit different because it occurred at a private residence, but it highlights some incredibly important issues. The perpetrator in question was a resident of a nearby group home in Austin, Texas. He was known to have mental issues that required him to be committed to a mental institution on more than one occasion. On that day, the perpetrator absconded from the group home and was followed by an employee of the home. However, when the employee’s attempts to call the escapee failed, the employee returned to the group home and didn’t bother alerting authorities. It didn’t take long for the escaped man to become the problem of a nearby resident. The perpetrator arrived at the person’s home and approached, apparently howling like a coyote. He found the front door locked and began using physical force to gain entry.

John Daub was in the bathroom at the time of the home invasion. Daub retrieved his Smith & Wesson M&P Compact and headed straight for the sounds of danger. As he moved down the hallway toward the threat, his wife and daughter ran past him, and Daub found himself facing a massive male stranger who had broken down his front door and entered his home.

Daub didn’t hesitate to engage the threat. He ordered the home invader to leave the residence, but when the invader ignored him and moved toward him, Daub fired. The home invader then turned to stumble away but was mortally wounded and fell, dead, at the doorway he’d broken through moments before.

Daub is a member of the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network—ACLDN—and immediately called them to retain an attorney and cooperate with law enforcement without incriminating himself. After all, just because you believe your actions are justified doesn’t mean they’ll be viewed that way by arriving first responders. Well worth mentioning is the fact Daub had received countless hours of training and was a firearms instructor. His account of the home invasion is fantastic and well worth looking into if you’re not familiar with the case.

Good Guys with Guns: Insights for the Defender

You can’t predict or control when an armed active killer or other credible threat is going to appear. You might be at Walmart, the mall, or even in the privacy of your own home. And as cliché as it is, it’s also accurate to say that when seconds count, help is only minutes away. You are your own first responder, and if you carry a handgun for protection, it’s your duty to be properly trained and prepared.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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