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Recollections of being glad for having been armed [Letter]

TheftDownstream Oil and Gas ActivitiesWarren E Barry

The following letter was sent to Maryland State Senator Barry Glassman. A copy was provided for publication.

I write regarding the Second Amendment debate in Annapolis. I applaud your stand in defending the Constitution. Perhaps my experiences may help you frame some response to folks who have never carried a gun or faced one, in why merely the presence of a gun can save lives.

I am 62, a small farm-owner in Forest Hill, retired from the gas station business, where carrying a revolver saved my life several times, though I never fired a shot in 20 years.

Carrying that gun saved my Towson gas station from untold robberies just because the bad guys knew there was a gun on premises, while neighboring stations were robbed at gunpoint over and over. My first robbery there in 1971 was created by a dope dealer from Bel Air who sent his heroin addicts out with stolen guns to rob gas stations he had surveilled.

The robber scooped up a baby from a mother's arms, there on my driveway, pressed the gun barrel into the baby's mouth and demanded not only the station cash but purses, rings, everything that everyone could offer to make him drop the baby. That caused me to start carrying a gun and teach my managers to safely carry.

Pointing that revolver at an irate customer who pulled a .45 caliber model 1911 semi auto on my employees during the frenzied 1979 gas shortage defused the situation, causing the man to put away his pistol and leave. Showing it to an angry mob in the 1974 gas shortage, where long lines and frustration turned into a riot caused all the people to return to their cars, violence avoided.

My last station, next to Denny's on Edgewood Road at I-95, nearly cost me and my pregnant cashier our lives during a robbery, my closest call with death. Looking at the wrong end of a gun will change your life.

Every robbery in my 20 years of business was committed by drug addicts with stolen guns. Criminals do not buy their weapons in gun stores. I believe I would have died, that many of my employees would have died, had we not carried guns in self defense, not so much to shoot it out with robbers, but to let them know we were prepared, that another place down the road may be a better target for them. Like the Cold War between Russia and The USA, my employees and I held that Evil Empire at bay.

As Mr. Lambros said in The Aegis, Feb. 20, the Second Amendment is not about the size of a magazine or the style of a gun. It is about the concept that we are still a free people, more than 200 hundred years and many wars after our Revolution, because we have never been disarmed. An armed populace remain law abiding and safe because they assume others are armed, they assume they will have the right to self defense. As we all know, had someone in the schools where innocent kids were shot been armed, the outcome would have been different.

Charles Colley

Forest Hill

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