Anti-gun activists like to say that armed citizens seldom, if ever, protect themselves and their families from violent criminals. Pennsylvania residents would be the first to say that assertion is entirely false.
Want proof? Just check out these six instances of armed self-defense in the Keystone State in just the past few years.
Joseph Eisel, 51, was asleep with his wife around 3 a.m. when he woke to a 27-year-old man he did not know standing over his bed. Startled and fearful for his life, Eisel reached for the 9 mm pistol he kept beside him. The intruder fled the room and entered the Eisels’ garage. Eisel followed him into the garage where the intruder fell to the floor. Eisel ordered the intruder to stay on the floor while his wife dialed 911, and held him at gunpoint until police arrived a short time later. The intruder allegedly entered the home through a broken basement window. Reportedly no one was hurt during the home invasion. “Everybody complains about guns,” Eisel said of the incident, “but I’m glad I have one.” (Butler Eagle, Cranberry Township, Pa., 10/1/13)
David Braman, 69, retrieved his revolver before opening the door to a stranger around 8 p.m. The 31-year-old stranger claimed he was having car trouble and asked to use Braman’s telephone. Braman was suspicious of the stranger even before spotting the handgun he carried. The stranger then forced his way through Braman’s front door, and a scuffle ensued. Three of the assailant’s accomplices were waiting outside when they heard three gunshots. They then witnessed their co-conspirator stumble out of the home with a bullet wound to his groin before fleeing. Three of the four assailants were later arrested and charged with numerous counts. The injured trespasser was said to be in critical condition and was being treated at a local hospital. Braman was unharmed. (Times-Tribune, New Milford, Pa., 1/16/14)
A 25-year-old man was in his car with his girlfriend when two strangers approached and asked to use his cigarette lighter. When handed the lighter, one suspect pulled out a handgun and demanded the couple’s possessions. The driver, who has a concealed-carry permit, retrieved his own handgun and pointed it at the suspects, both of whom fled the scene. The responding officers found the suspects hiding behind a nearby restaurant, one still in possession of the lighter. The handgun used in the robbery attempt was never recovered. (ABC27, Lancaster, Pa., 10/24/14)
Police arrested a 32-year-old North Hills-area man for allegedly trying to rape a woman while she was sleeping. The woman awoke with a man on top of her making sexual advances. She resisted, screamed and pulled his hair before freeing herself and running to the closet for a shotgun. The woman pointed the gun at the intruder and told him to get out of the house. He began dressing frantically and fled, but not before she recognized him as the son of a neighbor. The suspect was later arrested, arraigned on numerous charges and committed to the county jail. (New Castle News, New Castle, Pa., 11/11/14)
Even a planned robbery can go wrong when the targeted victim has a gun. Two masked men armed with wooden ax handles cut power to Nicholas Dziyak’s trailer in West Pike Run Township, Pa., intending to lure him outside and rob him. Although Dziyak, 74, was struck several times in the head and chest, he had the wherewithal to pull out his handgun and shoot one of the assailants, who died at the scene. The second suspect has been charged with robbery and aggravated assault. Dziyak was treated for head injuries and contusions. Police said the dead man and Dziyak had a working relationship and that a business disagreement preceded the planned attack. (The Observer-Reporter, Washington, Pa., 12/30/14)
One shot was enough to stop a December break-in at a western Pennsylvania home. A 37-year-old man entered a California Borough home through a window. The homeowner confronted the man in the kitchen and shot the intruder as he started running toward the resident. After being shot, the wrongdoer fled through the front door, then collapsed in the yard about 50 feet from the door. He was later pronounced dead at the Monongahela Valley Hospital. Washington County Coroner Tim Warco said the suspect died from a single gunshot to the chest. Authorities were investigating. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Williamsport, Pa., 12/28/14)