Essay:US Armed Citizens and Crime Control

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This essay is an original work by Crocoite. Please comment only on the talk page.

During the decades the American Rifleman has published “The Armed Citizen” column, thousands of incidents of law-abiding Americans using firearms to halt or prevent crime have appeared in the magazine. Editorial space allowing, the total could have been far greater of course, as award-winning survey research shows that each year in the U.S. gun owners use firearms for protection as frequently as 2.5 million times.

This archive contains “Armed Citizen” entries from the present back to 1958. The database is searchable by key word and state and results are displayed in chronological order according to the month of publication in the American Rifleman. Search the Armed Citizen Archives

Records by each US state (as of December 23, 2007) listing one example from each state. Use this link to see the other examples. Email armedcitizen@nrahq.org to submit a link to a story on the internet of law-abiding Americans using firearms to halt or prevent crime.

Contents

Alabama, 141 records

The Selma Times-Journal, Selma, AL, 01/26/06
American Rifleman Issue: 4/1/2006

Upon returning home, an NRA Life member received some alarming news. His wife had just seen people running in and out of her father's home. Retrieving a pistol and a shotgun, the man drove his pickup the short trip to the house in question and cornered three suspicious men sitting in a car. "I jumped out of the truck and they stuck their hands up in the car. I made the driver get out," he told a local newspaper. As he held the suspects at gunpoint, they told him they had stopped to urinate, but he didn't believe their story. "I said, 'You don't need to talk to me because the sheriff's coming and you need to talk to him.'" When police arrived, they charged the men with third-degree burglary and recovered several stolen items.

Alaska, 35 records

Juneau Empire, Juneau, AK, 10/26/04
American Rifleman Issue: 11/1/2004

A Tee Harbor, Alaska, resident heard noises in the kitchen, retrieved a gun and went to investigate. He soon found himself facing two bears that had broken into his home. When one charged, the home owner fired, fatally wounding it. Wildlife biologists took the other intruder into custody and will relocate it.

Arizona, 132 records

The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, AZ, 03/08/06
American Rifleman Issue: 6/1/2006

When a man dressed in black approached a woman on the street, implied he had a gun and demanded cash, she initially tried the passive approach. Police say that although she had a concealed-carry permit and a revolver tucked away, she handed some money over and hoped the robber would leave. But when that didn't work, and fearing her life was in danger, the victim drew her revolver and pointed it at the robber, who ran away. According to a police officer, "She was in fear of her life, and she defended herself appropriately."

Arkansas, 66 records

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, AR, 09/15/06
American Rifleman Issue: 12/1/2006

Samuel Mitchell was exiting his church after choir practice, unaware that two blocks away events were in motion that would change his life. Police say a robber attempted to rob a man and woman, and the victims fled in opposite directions. The suspect pursued the female toward the church, where Mitchell had gotten into his truck. As he was leaving the parking lot, the woman climbed into Mitchell's vehicle and pleaded for help. When the suspect caught up, he stuck a pistol inside the truck window and announced a carjacking. Mitchell, who has a concealed carry permit, responded by producing his own pistol and shooting the man, who died at the hospital.

California, 675 records

Los Angeles Daily News, Woodland Hills, CA, 10/19/06
American Rifleman Issue: 1/1/2007

A California woman was playing the role of getaway driver as her gang-member son looked for a home to burglarize, according to police. When the suspect found a target, he broke the lock on the screen door and began yelling at the female occupant. The burglar gave chase as the woman fled to the backyard, but she halted his advance with three rounds from a .38-caliber revolver. The intruder ran back to his mother, and the homeowner phoned police. When the suspects failed to locate a hospital, the "mother of the year" flagged down a sheriff's deputy. The deputy, however, was responding to the victim's 9-1-1 call and apprehended mother and son.

Colorado, 98 records

Denver Post, Denver, CO, 07/20/06
American Rifleman Issue: 1/10/2006

According to police, a 54-year-old burglar with a violent and lengthy criminal record dating back to 1969 decided to strike again. The man -- whose rap sheet includes aggravated assault with a knife, aggravated robbery, felony menacing and drug charges-entered the home of a local schoolteacher by removing an air conditioning unit from a window. The homeowner shot the intruder in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing him.

Connecticut, 75 records

The Hartford Courant, Hartford, CT, 11/18/05
American Rifleman Issue: 2/1/2006

After an armed burglar stole $100 from his home, Angel Benitez took a self-defense class and obtained a concealed-carry permit. "This year, I'm going to prepare myself," Benitez recalled saying to himself. And, according to police, he did just that when he heard the screams of his friend, Carmen Ramos. Benitez found a man pointing a gun at Ramos. "When I saw the gun, I fired," said Benitez. "He could have killed my friend." Ramos' daughter, who was watching television, thought her mother had been shot, but then saw the burglar stumble out the door. "He was yelling 'Ow, ow!'" she recalled. A man with a gunshot wound later arrived at the hospital, but police were still investigating whether he was the intruder.

Delaware, 24 records

The News Journal, Wilmington, DE, 12/13/04
American Rifleman Issue: 3/1/2005

A string of armed robberies finally came to an end in Wilmington, Del., when one victim fought back. Michael Brown had been on a three-month robbery spree when he decided to rob a local liquor store. When he displayed his gun, the store owner produced a gun of his own. Brown fled, but a police officer who was patrolling the neighborhood spotted him. He was able to track down Brown, who was found hiding under a porch. Brown was linked to at least three other armed robbery attempts and was charged with each of them.

District of Columbia, 24 records

The Times, Washington, DC, 12/14/94
American Rifleman Issue: 3/1/1995

Rebecca Griffin awoke to the screams of her daughter, who was being bound and gagged by two kidnappers in her Washington, D.C., home. She confronted the men, one of whom was carrying a knife, and brought the attack to a quick halt when she was able to break free and retrieve a .32-cal. revolver from the basement, shooting the knife-wielder four times. The other suspect fled. Griffin and one daughter were slashed during the attack. Some news accounts made no mention that the handgun that saved the Griffins is illegal in the District.

Florida, 400 records

The Miami Herald, Miami, FL, 09/21/06
American Rifleman Issue: 12/1/2006

Just four months after burglars stole jewelry worth thousands of dollars from a Florida townhouse, four suspects attempted another heist. This time, however, the homeowners' 26-year-old son was sleeping inside. According to police, Richard McKinley heard someone entering the home, grabbed a handgun and went to investigate. He confronted four burglars, and pointed his gun at them while demanding their hasty departure. Instead, they began struggling with McKinley and he opened fire. One intruder died instantly. The others fled. "[McKinley] took it upon himself to defend himself, and I'd do the same thing he did," said a neighbor.

Georgia, 172 records

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta, GA, 12/7/07
American Rifleman Issue: 12/12/2007

When Ronald Johnson of DeKalb County, Georgia drove home last Thursday night with his wife and two young children, he was surprised to find two men waiting for him near the bottom of his driveway. When the two men attempted to rob him at gunpoint, Johnson reacted quickly to defend his family, using his own handgun to shoot one suspect fatally and drive away the other.

Hawaii, 4 records

West Hawaii Today, Kailua, HI, 9/8/98
American Rifleman Issue: 1/1/1999

When a would-be burglar armed with a handgun entered a Waialua, Hawaii, residence intent on robbing the owner, he initially received cooperation--or so he thought. The resident told the home invader that the money was in a backpack. Rather than booty, however, the burglar received a boom when the homeowner pulled a 9 mm handgun and fired two shots. After jumping from a second-floor window, the burglar ran, trailing blood and dropping his own gun.

Idaho, 19 records

Marion Chronicle, Marion, ID, 03/8/03
American Rifleman Issue: 6/1/2003

Sherry Lewis was sleeping soundly on her living room couch when she was suddenly awakened by three men who had entered her home. The intruders attacked Lewis, beating her with a pool cue. Lewis' companion, Jeffrey Shaw, tried to help her fend off the attackers, but they began assaulting him, as well, beating him and stabbing him once in the side. The men then forced Lewis' children into separate bedrooms and began ransacking the house. Shaw was then able to get a .22-cal. rifle from his room and shoot all three men, who managed to flee in a waiting car. Deputies soon found the suspects in a nearby home, all three suffering from gunshot wounds. The driver, Lisa Watson, was also present and had sustained a superficial wound. Authorities expected to file charges once the suspects were released from the hospital. As for Jeffrey Shaw, police described his actions as a clear-cut case of self defense. "This individual was protecting himself, his family and his property at the time," said Grant County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Kevin Pauley.

Illinois, 215 records

The Vienna Times, Vienna, IL, 06/09/05
American Rifleman Issue: 10/1/2005

If it weren't for a Vienna, Ill., woman's quick thinking, she and her husband might both be dead. At approximately 11:30 p.m., Albert Rolens heard his dogs barking and went to investigate, finding a partially opened sliding door. When he reached to close it, a man wearing a stocking cap, gloves and a large coat thrust a rifle through the open door and forced his way inside. The intruder instructed Rolens to wake his wife and unplug the telephones. The couple told the intruder to leave, but he refused to go without their granddaughter, his former girlfriend. After several tense minutes, Mrs. Rolens convinced the intruder to let her husband go to the bathroom to take some medication. Once there, Albert entered an attached bedroom and retrieved his .45-cal. revolver, which he pointed at the man, again telling him to leave. When Mrs. Rolens grabbed a cell phone and ran to call 9-1-1, the intruder darted after her. Fearing for his wife's safety, Albert shot the gunman once in the head, killing him.

Iowa, 28 records

The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA, 12/20/00
American Rifleman Issue: 5/1/2001

When a 71-year-old Des Moines, Iowa, man answered the door at his home one afternoon, he was met by a pair of ruffians wearing ski masks and brandishing a martial arts weapon. After they beat the elderly resident with the nunchaku hardwood sticks connected by chain or rope they ordered him to remain seated while they went after his grandson upstairs. But as the intruders beat the 27-year-old resident, his grandfather came to the rescue armed with a gun. As he fired on one suspect and then the other, each leapt out separate windows and fled.

Indiana, 156 records

Kokomo Tribune, Kokomo, IN, 09/06/06
American Rifleman Issue: 12/1/2006

According to police, when Michael Slonaker heard an unexpected, midnight-hour knock at his door, he cautiously answered it armed with a handgun. Unbeknownst to him, two juveniles were standing behind his front door, one clutching a baseball bat and the other holding a shotgun. As Slonaker opened the door, the juvenile holding the shotgun began to raise it. Slonaker fired two shots, hitting both assailants. The shotgun-toting youth, who had been on probation, was killed. His accomplice was arrested when he sought treatment at the hospital for a gunshot wound.

Kansas, 79 records

Independence Daily Reporter, Independence, KS, 07/12/06
American Rifleman Issue: 1/10/2006

Police say a man may have broken into a residence in conjunction with a plan to rob a local bank. When the homeowner confronted the suspect he was ordered to wake his wife and get the keys to the bank where she is employed. The homeowner went to the bedroom, leading the intruder to believe he was waking his wife. But instead he told his wife to call 9-1-1 and grabbed a handgun from the nightstand. He told the burglar to raise his hands and drop any weapons he had. Reportedly, he dropped a 12-inch butcher knife to the floor before sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene.

Kentucky, 64 records

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY, 4/10/02
American Rifleman Issue: 7/1/2002

Charlotte Venters and her boyfriend, Brent Billings, were at home at a Muncie, Ind., mobile home park when a neighbor kicked in their door and held a steak knife to Billings' throat, threatening to kill him. Venters came out of another room armed with a gun and warned the intruder not to harm her boyfriend, said Delaware County prosecutor Richard Reed. When the suspect pointed his knife at Venters and made threatening remarks, she shot and killed the intruder. Prosecutors later said their attacker had been arrested at least 17 times in the past 11 years on various charges.

Louisiana, 129 records

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, 01/14/06
American Rifleman Issue: 4/1/2006

According to police, a man stole a fire extinguisher from a dialysis center, then attempted to use it to break into a nearby home. A detective responding to a burglar alarm at the dialysis center witnessed an armed citizen thwart the alleged home invader. "While [the detective] was waiting for uniform patrol, he noticed a commotion across the street at a home," said a police spokesman. The detective reported that the man was allegedly trying to break through the front door using the fire extinguisher, but was shot in the groin by one of the occupants. The suspect was arrested on multiple charges after his release from the hospital.

Maine, 19 records

Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME, 06/15/05
American Rifleman Issue: 9/1/2005

Thanks to his trusty .22 rifle, it took less than 10 minutes for a Waldo County, Maine, man to rid his home of intruders. The man and his wife, both in their 70s, were awakened at 6:30 a.m. when their front door was smashed open. The intruders -- at least two of them -- blindfolded the woman and left her in the living room. They bound her husband's feet to the footboard of his bed and threw a pillowcase over his face. The home-invaders repeatedly asked the couple "where the stuff was," said Maine State Police Detective David Tripp. Exactly what 'stuff' they were looking for was unclear, but police speculate they may have been looking for drugs. While the intruders were elsewhere in the house, the man freed himself and retrieved a .22-cal. rifle kept by the side of his bed. When one intruder returned to the room, the man fired a shot at him, hitting the bedroom wall. "They fled the residence," said Tripp. It was the fourth home invasion reported in Waldo County in the past year.

Maryland, 94 records

Maryland Independent, Charles County, MD, 04/08/05
American Rifleman Issue: 7/1/2005

A woman living in Charles County, Md., initially turned to the judicial system to seek protection from an abusive ex-boyfriend. "I have been afraid to come forth and speak out for fear of him doing bodily harm to me and threatening to burn down my home," she said in her petition requesting a protective order. "The last four years have been a living hell. I am contemplating purchasing a handgun for my protection." After twice violating the court order, the man, described as a violent drug addict, broke into the home and began beating her current boyfriend with a metal pipe. This time she was indeed armed with a handgun, which she used to shoot and kill her attacker. Police said she had not been charged with a crime and that they considered her a victim.

Massachusetts, 78 records

Boston Herald, Boston, MA, 01/23/04
American Rifleman Issue: 4/1/2004

A Somerville, Mass., resident had just stepped out of his shower when he heard unusual sounds at the back of his house. When a man broke through his back door, the homeowner retrieved a handgun, confronted the intruder and shot him in the shoulder. The wounded burglar ran from the house, but police were able to track him by following a trail of blood to a nearby rail station. The suspect was treated at a local hospital for the gunshot wound, and police were expected to charge him with breaking and entering.

Michigan, 170 records

Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, MI, 10/18/06 American Rifleman Issue: 1/1/2007

Customers were browsing the shelves at a food store shortly before closing time when three men entered the building. Police say the men waited for the customers to leave before announcing an armed robbery. Once they emptied the store's coffers, the robbers took all store employees to the back of the store and bound them with duct tape. With a gun aimed at his head, the store manager, who has a concealed-carry permit, freed himself and drew a .45-caliber handgun. The manager fired several times, striking his assailant twice. The injured robber died while the other suspects fled. "In my opinion, if this man had not had a gun, my concern is that they would have executed these people," county prosecutor William Forsyth said.

Minnesota, 43 records

Isanti County News, Cambridge, MN, 4/21/04
American Rifleman Issue: 7/1/2004

A Cambridge, Minn., man awoke to the sound of breaking glass. He retrieved a shotgun and began checking rooms when he encountered three men who had entered his home. Two of the intruders fled, but the homeowner held the third man, later identified as Robert Hanson, at gunpoint while he awaited the arrival of police. The other two suspects were apprehended and the three were charged with aiding and abetting felony first-degree burglary.

Mississippi, 43 records

The Commerical Dispatch, Columbus, MS, 07/18/05
American Rifleman Issue: 11/1/2005

Billy Franks awoke from a deep sleep to find two armed men demanding cash and threatening to beat his 67-year-old wife, Sherry, with a baseball bat. The intruders then made good on their threat, bruising Sherry's arm and breaking Billy's

arm in two places. That's when Sherry remembered the .22-cal. revolver her 70-year-old husband kept tucked under his pillow. "When she picked up the gun and pointed it [at the would-be robbers], they panicked and started running," Billy said. Sheriff's Department Captain Joe Young lauded the couple's handling of the situation. "People try to prey on senior citizens because they think they're easier to mess with, but this couple showed that's not always true," he said, adding, "I think it's a good idea for people to keep a handgun in their homes, just in case something like this happens."

Missouri, 146 records

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Mo., 02/07/06
American Rifleman Issue: 5/1/2006

After an 87-year-old woman's home was burglarized, her daughter gave her a .38-caliber handgun so she’d be prepared if it happened again. That gesture may have saved the senior citizen's life. According to the police, early one morning, the woman awoke to the sound of a man breaking into her home. Calling for help wasn't an option; he had cut her phone wires. After the man removed the security bars from the woman's porch and attempted to access the front door, she fired a round from her pistol. The would-be intruder lay dead on the woman's porch for nearly four hours before her daughter showed up for breakfast. "She couldn't call for help and was afraid to go outside," said a state policeman. Authorities are investigating whether the man, a career criminal, was also responsible for the first burglary.

Montana, 16 records

Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, MT, 06/03/04
American Rifleman Issue: 8/1/2004

Andrew Atkinson was looking for trouble one Wednesday night as police were called to investigate a disturbance he had caused at a Malta, Montana, tavern. Still on the scene at the tavern, police were then called to a nearby home where an intruder had been reported. Robert Taylor said that a man, later identified as Atkinson, had forced his way through Taylor's front door. After a fierce struggle, the 59-year-old homeowner shot Atkinson in the leg. Both men were hospitalized, and Taylor was released with minor injuries. Upon his release from the hospital, Atkinson was to be arrested and charged with burglary, according to Phillips County Sheriff Tom Miller.

Nebraska, 20 records

World-Herald, Omaha, NE, 10/23/02
American Rifleman Issue: 1/1/2003

A couple was sleeping in an Omaha, Neb., apartment when three people broke in about 4:30 in the morning. The intruders began beating the male resident and he and the woman staying with him each grabbed a handgun and fired on the trio, shooting two of the suspects.

Nevada, 51 records

Gazette-Journal, Reno, NV, 01/18/06
American Rifleman Issue: 4/1/2006

While sitting on her couch working on her computer in the early morning hours, a woman heard a noise at her front door. According to police, she saw two men through the peephole, so she grabbed her shotgun and chambered a shell. The would-be burglars kicked the door open only to find themselves staring down a gun barrel. "Get the [expletive] out of here!" the woman shouted, according to a police report. The men fled the scene.

New Hampshire, 20 records

Portsmouth News Herald, Portsmouth, N.H., 11/5/04
American Rifleman Issue: 11/1/2004

A man showed up at David Oeser's Eliot, Maine, home at 1:30 in the morning, began pounding on the door, then forced his way inside. Oeser retrieved a handgun and fired, wounding the home invader, who, it turned out, had a criminal history of four assault convictions.

New Jersey, 85 records

Newsday, Melville, N.Y., 8/5/00
American Rifleman Issue: 11/1/2000

Eighty-four-year-old William Harris was in his Southampton, N.J., home one morning when a man intent on burglary ripped out a back porch door screen and broke a chain on the kitchen door, according to police. When Harris, recovering in bed from cataract surgery, heard roommate Benjamin Davis yell out a warning, he grabbed his 16-ga. shotgun from a closet. When he met the intruder in the darkened kitchen, the man thought the better of his plan and fled. Davis later said of Harris, "He's not a pushover. He'll stand up as long as he can to whatever he has to."

New Mexico, 53 records

Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, NM, 08/22/03
American Rifleman Issue: 12/1/2003

Justin Doyle was roused at 11 p.m. one night by loud banging on his back door. In order to protect his pregnant wife and 19-month-old child who were at home, Doyle retrieved his rifle while his wife dialed 9-1-1. Suddenly a glass door was smashed in with a cinder block and a man with a knife burst into their home. Doyle shot the home invader once in the torso, killing him. Police later identified the suspect as Manuel Villa. "The law allows citizens to use deadly force to protect their homes, lives and property," said police spokesman Jeff Arbogast. "Out of fear for his life, and the lives of his family, Mr. Doyle armed himself with a rifle and shot the intruder. It's a tragic event to have to go through."

New York, 309 records

Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY, 05/26/04
American Rifleman Issue: 8/1/2004

A Bergen, New York, homeowner returned to his house around 10 a.m. to discover two men and a woman in the process of burglarizing his home. The resident drew a handgun on the trio. When the men attempted to escape in a van, the homeowner punched out one of its windows. One of the men then threw gasoline at him from a can and the men took off. The homeowner continued to hold the woman at gunpoint until police arrived. Police later arrested the two men, and all three suspects were charged with burglary.

North Carolina, 174 records

Associated Press, 01/17/06
American Rifleman Issue: 4/1/2006

Carlton Whitted, Sr., woke up after hearing a loud noise reverberate throughout his home. "It sounded like a bomb went off," he said. What he heard was two men in their 20s kicking in the door of the isolated, rural North Carolina home. Police say the men shot Whitted's wife and daughter in the legs. Whitted then grabbed his .22-cal. rifle from the corner of his bedroom and shot both intruders, who fled on foot. The suspects turned up at a hospital where they faced several felony charges upon their release.

North Dakota, 6 records

The Tribune, Bismarck, ND, 3/26/86
American Rifleman Issue: 6/1/1986

Asleep in his isolated rural home near Fort Yates, N. Dak., Dick Barrett was awakened when both front and back doors crashed in and four men appeared, threatening his family with clubs and axes. But Barrett grabbed his revolver, and when the fight was over one intruder was dead, two of them were wounded, and the Barretts were unharmed.

Ohio, 233 records

Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, OH, 07/10/05
American Rifleman Issue: 10/1/2005

Gayle Martin was sound asleep when the doorbell rang at 5 a.m., but he didn't open the door because he didn't recognize either of the two men standing on his porch. He continued watching the men through his front window as they went around his house and began battering his back door. Within moments, the two thugs came crashing through the door into the kitchen and living room area. That's when Martin drew his .357 Mag. and fired three shots, causing the men to run away. "They were in the house," Martin said. "They had just broken in. I didn't let them get any farther." Authorities found the home invaders nearby, both suffering from gunshot wounds. Grant County Sheriff Randy Middleton called Martin lucky to be alive, adding, "He's a good shot."

Oklahoma, 108 records

Denton Chronicle-Record, Denton, TX 06/17/03
American Rifleman Issue: 9/1/2003

Stephen Heller was visiting with a woman who had called him and then come over to his home when two masked men armed with a pistol broke in, beat him and tried to tie him up. During the struggle, Heller used his knife to cut one man and then grabbed his gun and fatally shot the other man, later identified as Scott Howard. The woman, Wyndie Odom, fled on foot with the other assailant, identified as Travis Lee Smith. Odom's car was still in Heller's garage as he had closed the garage door after she pulled in. Detective Sgt. Roger White said it was believed the woman had brought the men with her to rob Heller and that they had hidden in her trunk when she pulled into Heller's garage. Odom and Smith were later arrested in Ardmore, Okla.

Oregon, 89 records

The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore., 02/11/06
American Rifleman Issue: 5/1/2006

The motivation behind a brutal assault in Oregon has yet to be determined. According to police, a man answered a knock at his front door and quickly found himself under attack by a stranger wielding a collapsible metal baton. The intruder beat the victim on his head and back, while yelling that he was going to kill the man as they fought throughout the first floor of the two-story dwelling. The victim managed to break free and run to his upstairs bedroom. It was there that he grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun and turned the tables. He shot the intruder at least twice, killing him.

Pennsylvania, 243 records

Times-Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 04/28/06
American Rifleman Issue: 8/1/2006

An ex-con with an already extensive criminal rap sheet allegedly broke into a residence with a crowbar. Once inside, he grabbed an additional weapon, a Samurai sword, off the wall and accosted two men and a woman inside the house. The two men proceeded to flee the residence. When the alleged burglar tried to rob the woman, a concealed-carry permit holder, she drew a firearm and shot her assailant, then ran from the house. The man was booked on charges of aggravated assault, terroristic threats, robbery and other charges.

Rhode Island, 15 records

Providence Journal, Providence, RI, 6/18/99
American Rifleman Issue: 9/1/1999

The tranquility of poet Carlton Eddy Breitenstein's Providence, Rhode Island, home was shattered one evening when an intruder suddenly appeared on the second floor. The 83-year-old Breitenstein defended himself with a gun, sending the man fleeing. Police later caught the suspect who sustained a gunshot wound to the chest that required hospitalization. Breitenstein had been assaulted in his house the previous afternoon and had been the victim of a break-in little more than a week earlier.

South Carolina, 83 records

The State, Columbia, SC, 08/17/06
American Rifleman Issue: 1/11/2006

According to police, two men wearing masks invaded Allen Cooper's home and began robbing him at gunpoint. Cooper gave one of the masked men some cash, but, unsatisfied, they ordered him to call back two people who left the house prior to the robbery. Cooper contacted Rhea McCary and James Robertson, who returned, but sensed something was wrong. When they arrived, Cooper bolted out the door yelling, "They've got guns!" The attackers began shooting, striking McCary in the arm, but McCary returned fire, killing one of the suspects. The second suspect fled and was still at large at press time.

South Dakota, 7 records

The Tribune, Mobridge, SD, 5/22/85
American Rifleman Issue: 8/1/1985

A man broke into Burrell Brown's Mobridge, S. Dak., home and found the gunsmith's loaded .44 Mag. revolver. He was soon confronted by Brown, who had armed himself with a .45 pistol. "I could see he had the hammer cocked, so I knew if I shot to kill, his reflex action would pull the trigger and I could be dead," Brown said later, so the 73-year-old NRA Life Member neatly shot the gun out of the robber's hand and held him for police.

Tennessee, 182 records

The Times News, Kingsport, TN, 03/11/06 American Rifleman Issue: 7/1/2006

Lowell Wilson heard a noise coming from the bedroom where his wife was resting and went to investigate. When he tried to open the door, a man closed it, so Wilson retrieved his gun. "My wife is blind, and she thought it was me [in the room]," he said. "He opened the door ... and stuck his head out. He said, 'It's cool, man. It's cool.'" But it was far from "cool." Wilson shot the intruder, who fled with an accomplice. Police planned to charge the injured suspect after his release from the hospital. Wilson said he'll always feel safe in his home as long as he has something to use for protection. "I know I can take care of myself," he said.

Texas, 392 records

Caller-Times, Corpus Christi, TX, 10/11/06
American Rifleman Issue: 1/1/2007

Police say a man confronted Rose Ann Kozlowski and her 14-year-old son at their home, then bound them with neckties in the master bedroom, held them at knifepoint and threatened their lives. The intruder began ransacking the home for jewelry and other valuables, which he placed in the family's SUV. Meanwhile, Kozlowski managed to free herself and untie her son. She retrieved her husband's revolver, handed it to her son and locked the double doors to the bedroom. The incensed intruder pushed at the doors, partially opening them as he waved his knife. The teenager aimed his father's pistol toward the opening between the doors and squeezed the trigger. The armed robber dropped dead.

Utah, 35 records

Deseret Morning News, Salt Lake City, UT, 02/01/06
American Rifleman Issue: 4/1/2006

A man asleep in his apartment was awakened by a knock at his door. Police said that when he answered it, no one was there. Then a man shattered a window in the home and began entering through it. The resident armed himself and ordered the intruder to leave. When the alleged burglar failed to comply, the resident shot him. The suspect was treated for wounds to his leg and hand at the hospital and charged with burglary.

Vermont, 14 records

The Messenger, St. Albans, VT, 10/11/91
American Rifleman Issue: 1/1/1992

Lulah Lavery was home with her daughter at their Richford, Vt., home when they heard the sounds of a forced entry. As her daughter phoned police, Lavery loaded a shotgun and went to investigate. Finding a man reaching through a broken backdoor window, Lavry fired a single blast. The man fled, but a wounded suspect was quickly apprehended.

Virginia, 123 records

The Dickenson Star, Clintwood, VA, 12/22/04
American Rifleman Issue: 4/1/2005

As Clyde Colley looked down at the gunshot wound in his leg and then up at his wife, he decided that if he did not do something, they would both die. Almost two hours earlier, two men had broken into their Sandlick, Va., home, shot Mr. Colley and ordered the elderly couple to get on the floor. As one of the intruders held the couple at gunpoint, the other ransacked the house. Finally, Colley said that he was not feeling well and needed to go to lie down. This excuse gave him enough time to get to his gun, which he fired twice, killing one intruder and sending the other fleeing into the night. As their phone lines had been cut, Mrs. Colley was forced to run down the driveway and flag down help. Police later apprehended the surviving intruder, Mazel Sexton, and charged him with numerous felony counts. Colley was not expected to be charged in the death of the intruder, who was identified as Hubert Howard, Jr.

Washington, 169 records

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA, 07/09/04
American Rifleman Issue: 10/1/2004

Lisa Hansen awoke one morning to the sounds of someone moving around inside her house. Then someone ran up her stairs and attempted to open her bedroom door. "I waited to listen to see how many footsteps I heard," Hansen said. Deciding there was only one intruder, Hansen grabbed her cell phone and reached for a gun she keeps under her bed. She ran out of the room, confronted the burglar and held him at gunpoint until police arrived. The would-be burglar turned out to be a teenager who lives in the neighborhood and had previously done some lawn work for Hansen. The teen said he had entered her home only because he saw a man in there, but Hansen did not believe the explanation. Police later discovered a checkbook belonging to Hansen's cousin in the boy's pocket.

West Virginia, 28 records

Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV, 10/20/06
American Rifleman Issue: 1/1/2007

Police say Rodney Hendrick and his wife were sleeping when a 24-year-old man smashed a front door window, waking the couple. Mr. Hendrick went to investigate, armed with a .357 Magnum revolver, and found that the suspect had left. Foolishly, the suspect soon returned and lofted a brick at the front door, knocking it open. He entered the residence, and Hendrick fired a single shot. The intruder died at the scene.

Wisconsin, 55 records

Phillips Bee, Phillips, Wis., 8/18/04
American Rifleman Issue: 8/1/2004

After a series of break-ins at his Phillips, Wis., home, Gary Gabrielsen waited up one night. After first knocking on the door, a would-be burglar then checked various entry points until he picked the lock on the back door. Gabrielson then held a shotgun on the crook until police arrived. The capture of the suspect broke up a ring suspected in a lengthy spree of break-ins, police said.

Wyoming, 7 records

The Wyoming State Journal, Lander, WY
American Rifleman Issue: 1/1/1983

As NRA Life Member Rex Burroughs drove away from a Lander, Wyo., restaurant, two men pulled up, blocked his car, and demanded money at gunpoint. When the driver yelled "kill him," his partner aimed and pulled the trigger. The gun failed to fire, and Burroughs was able to draw his own revolver and shoot the gunman. The robbers then sped off.
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