The Armed Citizen - Saving
Lives & Property With Firearms

Reprinted from American Rifleman June, 1999
Studies indicate that firearms are used over 2 million times a year for personal protection, and that the presence of a firearm, without a shot being fired, prevents crime in many instances. Shooting usually can be justified only where crime constitutes an immediate, imminent threat to life, limb, or, in some cases, property. Anyone ia free to quota or reproduce these accounts. Send clippings to: "The Armed Cltizen," 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030-9400.
An 82-year-old retired Air Force pilot and his wife of 59 years were awakened early one morning to the sounds of someone rummaging through their Oakland, California, area home. When an intruder turned on the homeowner, he was met with a single, fatal shot from the same pistol that had seen the veteran through World War II, Korea and Vietnam. (Oakland Tribune, Oakland, CA, 3/27/99)
A 14-year-old Plymouth Township, Wisconsin, girl was getting ready for school early one morning when she noticed a man peering inside through a bedroom window. The frightened girl, whose parents had already left for work, responded by retrieving a double-barrelled shotgun. That image was apparently enough to send the man fleeing. The girl,s father had set out both the shotgun and a pistol for exactly such a contingency after she reported seeing the same man the previous day. (The Janesville Gazette, Janesville, WI, 3/24/99)
When two armed bandits set out to carjack a man in Philadelphia early one morning, one was permanently relieved of his ability to cause such mayhem in the future. The intended victim, who had a permit to carry a gun, was behind the wheel of his minivan when the assailants jumped out of their own vehicle and tried to take control. The man exchanged gunfire with the rogues, sending one fleeing and the other to a nearby hospital with fatal wounds. (Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia, PA, 2/8/99)
The day after Amy Sash,s former boyfriend was released from jail, where he had been held on a charge of assaulting her, she purchased a Colt revolver for protection. The decision proved a fateful one when, only a few days later, the man " who was under order by a court to have no contact with her "kicked in the door of Sash,s Des Moines, Iowa, residence. After warning him, Sash fired, sending her attacker to the hospital in serious condition. "[Y]ou have to protect yourself at some point," said Sash. (Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA, 2/26/99)
Dave Mezzanotte was at his Fairmont, West Virginia, home with a sleeping infant one Tuesday night when he heard noises and went to investigate. According to police, Mezzanotte said an intruder attacked and beat him. Retreating to another room, Mezzanotte retrieved his .45-cal. handgun and fired at the man who quickly fled and sought medical help. Police later charged the intruder with one count of aggravated robbery. (Times West Virginian, Fairmont, WV 12/24/98)
Since childhood, Rory Vertigan had been interested in becoming a police officer. One Friday afternoon, while driving back from running an errand near the Phoenix, Arizona, apartment complex he managed, his mettle for such work was put to the ultimate test. As Vertigan " who worked as a nighttime security guard " drove along, he was horrified to witness one of Phoenix,s finest come under gunfire on the street immediately ahead. Officer Marc Atkinson had been following a vehicle with three men inside when the car suddenly came to a halt. The driver jumped out, drew a handgun and fired as Atkinson attempted to pull around out of danger. Tragically, the young officer was fatally struck by two bullets. As Atkinson,s assailants attempted to flee, Vertigan gave chase, but backed off when their vehicle stopped again to challenge him. In the ensuing gun battle, Vertigan fired the Glock handgun he is licensed to carry from his car, wounding one of the passengers and then tackling him to the ground when he tried to escape on foot. "That individual is one of the true heroes of our time," Police Chief Harold Hurtt said of Vertigan who. at an emotional ceremony days later, was awarded a certificate of heroism, a check for $500 and a certificate to buy a new Glock pistol to replace the one police impounded. (The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, AZ, 3/28/99)
Two desperate fugitives were on the loose in Enfield, North Carolina, after allegedly robbing a convenience store and killing Police Sgt. Tonya Gillikin. Thankfully, residents Charles and Hazel Rives were prepared. The elderly couple answered their doorbell at 5:40 one morning to a man who said that his cat broke down and that he wanted to come inside. Charles Rives, who had a .25-cal. pistol in his pocket, simply said "no," but moments later, the man tried to force his way in. When Rives, gun failed to fire, his wife stepped into view with a .22-cal revolver and warned, "I,ll blow you away." That was enough to cause the intruder and his accomplice to flee through the couple,s garden, leaving a trail for police. Five-and-a-half hours later, the pair was in custody. (Dail) Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC, 3/I 6/99
Tramona Crawford of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was on the telephone with her cousin early one Thursday when a cold, shivering man appeared at her front door. When the man told Crawford his car had broker down and he needed to borrow some jumper cables, she hesitantly left to retrieve them, but also grabbed her gun from beneath the bed. Seconds later, the man " who had been released from prison only two days earlier - burst through the door with a knife at the ready. Crawford shot in self-defense. killing the home invader. "I keep banging my head against the wall and asking myself, What if my instincts hadn,t gone off?", she later said of the drama. (The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, NC 3/13/99
If you have had a first hand "Armed Citizen" experience, call ILA PR/Communications at (703) 267-1193.