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Spokane widow says a handgun ‘probably’ saved her life

Sandra Mize stands at the back door of her home in Spokane Wednesday April 3, 2013. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Dan Pelle)

A gun might have saved a Spokane woman’s life. It certainly helped her stop a suspected burglar who broke into her home while she slept.

Amid much talk about gun control legislation in Connecticut and President Obama’s trip to Colorado – he noted in the 100 days since the Newtown school massacre, over 2,000 others in U.S. have been “struck down” by gun violence – there is another side to the debate that isn’t often told. Guns protect people and save lives.

Sandra Mize says a .22 caliber handgun that she’s had for about 30 years “probably” saved her this week.

Just after midnight Wednesday, Mize woke up to the sound of her house door, which had a deadbolt, being smashed open.

She keeps a gun in her nightstand. Her father gave her the weapon many years ago.

“A young man broke down my back door and walked into my house,” she tells me. “I told him I’m armed and fired at him.”

Mize’s shot didn’t hit the intruder.

He kept walking toward her and then laid down on her couch.

“At that point he knew I wasn’t afraid to shoot,” she says.

Mize, a 63-year-old widow, called 911 and police arrived at her North Spokane home within minutes of the break in just after midnight Wednesday.

She says police were already in the area, looking for a man who was suspected of breaking into a business.

“I didn’t have time to be afraid but I felt threatened,” Mize says. “It took four or five officers to take him out of here.”

After fighting with officers on the floor, the K9 unit was used to help subdue him. The 35-year-old suspected burglar received a minor injury from the dog.

Mize was not injured. She sounded calm when I talked with her hours after the incident.

“My son came over and he said, ‘Way to go Mom.’ I was lucky,” she said as her son and nephew fixed the back door of her house.

She also says owning a gun is “no big deal” because she was raised with guns for hunting and personal safety.

If anyone in the Seattle area is interested in sharing a story about how you believe your life was saved because of a gun, contact me.

Washington State gun legislation seems stalled in this session. Lawmakers in other states have introduced 1,300 bills to change gun laws this year.


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