Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Idaho’s unspoiled wilderness attracts both hunters and those with a spirit of self-sufficiency. Years of pro-Second Amendment voting by such individuals has resulted in increasingly pro-freedom gun laws and, as a result, minuscule crime rates—according to recent data, only six states had lower violent crime. However, low crime doesn’t equal no crime—as the following six individuals who were able to defend themselves with firearms would likely attest.
Vance T. Taylor was at home with his family in Idaho Falls, Idaho, when the family dog alerted him to an intruder in the home’s bathroom. As his daughter called police, Taylor retrieved a gun and ordered the criminal to stay put. Disobeying the order, the home invader charged at Taylor, at which point Taylor opened fire, striking the criminal twice in the leg. The intruder fled the scene, but was captured a short time later at a nearby home. (KIDK, Idaho Falls, Idaho, 07/05/2012)
As a result of a burglary in his combination grocery-liquor store in Worley, Idaho, Ernest Lagow was sleeping in the rear of the store when he was awakened by the sound of breaking glass. Nothing happened right away, but several hours later Lagow was again awakened—this time by sounds within the store. Taking his .30-30 rifle, he discovered a man carrying a case of whisky. He ordered the man to stop, but when the intruder made a move as if to draw a gun, Lagow fired. The thief, who died shortly thereafter, had been convicted of burglarizing the same store several months earlier. (Associated Press, Worley, Idaho, 02/01/1963)
After an Idaho woman went outside her home to investigate a strange noise, she found a former co-worker hiding in the bushes. He told her his pickup truck had broken down and he needed a lift home. She reluctantly agreed and took a .380-caliber handgun with her. Police say that when they reached the co-worker's driveway, he began to assault her. "He grabbed her and physically attacked her and told her she was coming with him," said Sheriffs Capt. John Valdez. The woman drew her gun and shot the man in the abdomen, killing him. An autopsy of the assailant, who was a registered sex offender, showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .26 percent. Investigators say his truck was later found near the woman's home, and it appeared that its engine was intentionally disabled. (Associated Press, Bonner County, Idaho, 09/17/2005)
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. (Marion Chronicle, Marion, Idaho, 03/08/2003)
Dan Swearingen was getting gas at a Post Falls, Idaho, store when a man carrying a rifle barged in, fired three shots over his head, announced a hold up and demanded money. After clearing the till, the man, a suspect in a spree of armed robberies, hopped into his car and started to drive away. "It made me so mad ... I just hated to see him get away," said Swearingen. Grabbing his hunting rifle from his car, Swearingen shot out one of the car's tires, slowing it down and allowing police to arrest the armed bandit. (The Morning Tribune, Lewiston, Idaho, 11/29/1991)
Residents of a Caldwell, Idaho, home were awakened early one morning after hearing a noise coming from the kitchen. Going to check things out, the residents, who had armed themselves, surprised a man crawling through a window. They held him at gunpoint until Caldwell Police officers arrived. The man was later charged with burglary and felony possession of heroin. (Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, 12/21/1998)