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The Armed Citizen® 1990s

The Armed Citizen® 1990s

Between mandatory five-day waiting periods and a complete ban on some semi-automatic firearms at the federal level, and the enactment of countless draconian restrictions at the local and state level, being a gun owner in the 1990s wasn’t easy. But for these 10 armed citizens, it may have meant the difference between life and death. 

After suffering three robberies in only eight days at their Douglas County, Ga., store, Randy and Barbara Rogers decided to take action. The couple began taking turns guarding the store at night, camping out of sight on the floor. While on watch early one morning, Randy Rogers—armed with his wife’s .38 Spl. revolver—was ready when two men smashed out the glass front door and came inside. Rogers surprised the pair and fired his gun, wounding one of the men in the buttocks and sending both fleeing. Police quickly captured both men and charged them with burglary. (Douglas County Sentinel, Douglas County, Ga., 1/14/1999) 

Don Mosely and his wife, Jane, were inside their Little Rock, Ark., home when he was alerted to a sound at the front door. Expecting to see his brother, who had left moments earlier, Mosely opened the door and found himself facing a 14-year-old wearing a black hood over his head, wielding a .22 rifle and shouting “Gimme your keys!” Seconds later, Mosely was shot. After playing dead, he retrieved a gun and followed the intruder’s path to the back bedroom where Jane Mosely had dialed 911 and readied her .32-caliber handgun. The couple opened fire on the attacker, inflicting fatal wounds and ending the rampage. A second suspect was quickly captured while a third was being sought by police. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock, Ark., 9/13/1998) 

“It’s as justifiable a shooting as I’ve seen,” said Lathrup Village, Mich., Police Chief Robert Jones, concerning a pizzeria manager who shot one of two would-be bandits. The two masked robbers stormed into the restaurant, accosted the manager and began pistol-whipping him. During the scuffle, the manager was able to pull the handgun he carried and fire three shots, two of them fatally striking one of his attackers. The other suspect disappeared unscathed into the night. The dead suspect had a criminal record, and police suspect the pair may have been responsible for other robberies in the area. (The Daily Tribune, Oakland County, Mich., 1/14/1997) 

Without warning, the man walked into the Boomtown Grocery in Haughton, La., and pointed a gun at the owner and her sister. He told the two women if they refused to give him all of the store’s money, he would kill them. Undaunted, the shopkeeper produced a .357 Mag. and unleashed at least five shots. Hit, the assailant returned fire as he crawled from the store. The owner was grazed by a bullet, but her attacker suffered much worse. He had nothing to show for his criminal efforts but a critical bullet wound to his shoulder and a list of charges—including two counts of attempted murder—from police who quickly arrested the man and his accomplice. (The Times, Shreveport, La., 9/30/1996) 

Iron gates didn’t stop a gang of armed home invaders, but a .357 Mag. proved more effective. At least five burglars, some armed, rampaged through a Las Vegas, Nev., woman’s upscale home. When one kicked down the locked door of the bedroom where she was hiding, she opened fire, wounding him and putting the bandits to flight. The wounded criminal and his four accomplices were later arrested. (Review-Journal, Las Vegas, Nev., 2/11/1995)

Jim LaChapelle says his house in Elgin, Ill., has been burglarized four times in 12 years. So when he came home and saw his back door open and the doorframe broken, he figured the crooks were at it again. He was right. LaChapelle retrieved one of his guns, confronted two juvenile intruders, and chased them to a locked room, where he held them for police. One of the delinquents had been released from jail a week before, where he served time on a weapons charge. (The Courier-News, Elgin, Ill., 6/1/1994) 

Sue Atkins of Durham, N.C., appeared in this column in February 1993 after shooting a man who tried to rob her Western Union office/fish store. Atkins didn’t need to shoot the man who attempted to rob the store this time—her fifth encounter with criminals—but she did chase him out. The man entered, asking about fish, but then threatened to kill Atkins. She pulled her handgun and chased the man, but lost him. Police promptly arrested a suspect. “I will fight back, and I will continue to fight back,” said Atkins. (The Morning Star, Wilmington, N.C., 10/6/1993) 

A coordinated armed robbery attempt at a Barrington, R.I., jewelry store backfired when the robber met an armed citizen. Owner George Gray was on the phone when the armed man entered. When Gray yelled into the phone for help, the crook fired at him but missed. Gray then returned fire, killing his attacker. Police said the dead man had a long police record, adding that Gray acted in self-defense. (The Journal-Bulletin, Providence, R.I., 9/10/1992)

Her family taken hostage by her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, Barbara Holt of Kearns, Utah, and her husband were threatened with death, then forced into the bathroom of their home. When the man, armed with a rifle, went into the kitchen with her daughter, Holt slipped into the bedroom and got her .22 pistol. “I was hiding in the corner and when he came out of the kitchen, I just pulled the trigger,” Holt said. Her single shot hit the man in the head and stopped the attack. (The Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, 10/21/1991) 

Five months after a clerk was wounded in a robbery, an armed man entered the Milwaukee, Wis., convenience store late one night and demanded money. The woman behind the counter complied, but as the robber prepared to leave, she tripped an alarm, grabbed a handgun from under the counter and fired a single shot. The would-be robber and an accomplice fled, but police later arrested a suspect with a gunshot wound to the chest. (The Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., 11/28/1990)