Presented on the 10th anniversary of Arizona's CCW law
NOTE: The first award presentation was made by attorney Michael Anthony
to Patti Noland, the Arizona legislator who pushed through our CCW law
in 1994. She is the only recipient who was not directly involved in
a Defensive Gun Use (DGU), but helped enable so many others to prudently
protect themselves. P.S. After working so long and selflessly to make
the banquet happen, and hosting every committee meeting in his conference
room, Mike had to leave town for a funeral in Oklahoma, and missed the
entire affair. Alan Korwin filled in for him. The organizing committee
reviewed scores of cases to arrive at these select few who best exemplified
the honorable human right of self defense. Each of the award recipients
were met with lengthy and loud standing ovations.
The Case of Maryann Watkins (Presenter: Ed Phillips)
Maryann, a broadcasting industry professional, and currently a school
teacher with two sons, prepared for the familiar long desolate ride
from Phoenix to Yuma, by packing her Ruger SP101 .38 caliber revolver.
She used to carry discreetly in a fanny pack holster, but since a judge
had single-handedly outlawed that, she put the firearm on her seat.
Several hours later she stopped at a simple desert rest stopno
amenities, no people around, and one silver 18-wheeler with a red cab
and no markings parked in the distance.
She had no conscious premonition, but, This particular day, I
stepped out of the car, and then, for some reason, I cannot tell you
what it was, I reached back into the car and took the revolver out of
the holster. Always before Id just put it in the glove box and
locked it up, but this time I took it in my right hand, my shooting
hand, and held it down at my side, concealed in the folds of my skirt.
I know it couldnt be seen. I was breaking the law, I suppose.
Maybe if someone was very close to me they could have seen it, but nobody
at a distance would know I had it.
When she was done, carrying the gun the same way, she stepped out and
there he was, waiting for her, ten feet away, the size of an NFL lineman,
holding a coiled rodeo rope. Im gonna have some reeeeeeal
fun now, he laughed, through a sick grin.
Maryanns surprise turned to furious anger, and filled her with
strength. How dare this man threaten her like that. She raised her arm,
took a two-handed grip and a good stance, pointed that handgun right
at his chest, and said, If you want to play, well play with
Stunned, suddenly a big easy target, the attacker dropped his jaw, and
the rope, raised his hands and began backing off, muttering over and
over, Bitches with guns. Bitches with guns.
As she drove away, she stopped at the first phone she found, made a
report to DPS, and gave them a description. She never heard back. When
she called later, they had no news.
What would she have done if he had advanced? I would have shot
him right smack dab in the middle of the chest! And I would have done
that because I value my life. I am convinced that that firearm prevented
an assault, a sexual assault, a kidnapping, or a murder. I truly believe
I am alive today because of that firearm! Some people withdraw
after an assault, Maryann became vocal about the right of self defense.
In a statement, she said, Ive got things to do in this life,
things I havent finished, and Im not willingly going to
let someone take my life from me. I value it too much. If I dont
value my life, who will? If I dont defend myself, there is nobody
else around to do it. I cant depend on Officer Friendly to be
there. The police cant always be where you are.
The reason my weapon was effective that day was that it was concealed
in the folds of my dress. If this guy had seen it as I went into the
bathroom, he could have jumped me from behind as I came out, or he could
have pulled a weapon out of his vehicle or wherever he had one hidden.
One of the only reasons I survived is that he didnt know I had
Maryann fights not just for the right to have a gun, but for the right
to carry it concealed, because she knows its safer. She says,
I see absolutely no reason to have to beg a police chief or a
sheriff for permission to carry. There is only one person who can determine
my need to carry a gun concealed for protection, and that is me. Men
will say, I drive a Mercedes and that makes me a prime target
for people who want to rob and beat me, or Im retired
and people know I have a lot of money. Well, I dont drive
a Mercedes. Im a single mom, so I dont have expensive clothes.
I dont have any valuable jewelry, not one piece. But I have one
thing that all of the rest of them dont have that makes me particularly
vulnerable, and thats the fact that Im a woman!
Unfortunately, this womans mother fell very ill yesterday, and
she is with her tonight in a hospital, in Yuma, but ladies and gentlemen,
please join me in recognizing this courageous recipient of the Human
Right of Self Defense Award, Ms. Maryann Watkins!!
The Case of Zelda Hunt
(Presenter: Paula Maas)
Zelda is from Arkansas and was raised in the Ozarks. She worked as a
long haul trucker and as a waitress, and is now retired.
She came to Arizona in 1952, settling in Tucson. After she retired in
1987 she settled into a quiet life, until one day in October of 1997.
The 72-year-old woman was sleeping in her home when she heard the sound
of breaking glass. She instinctively realized it was someone at her
front window, not just children breaking bottles outside.
Going to investigate the sound, with her portable phone and her revolver,
she discovered a man calmly breaking out her front window and carefully
clearing the shards away from the window frame.
She asked him what he was doing, and he said, Im fixing
Zelda replied that she didnt have any problems with it, at least
until he arrived.
He then said, Well, I have to go get something.
She replied, Get your ass on that chair and stay there,
as she pointed her .22 caliber Smith and Wesson snubbie
revolver directly at him. He wisely complied, and she dialed 911 and
requested a pickup.
The Tucson Police dispatcher asked if she was armed, and she replied
that she was. She said, I have the door open, my guns ready,
and hes not going anywhere.
The dispatcher then asked if the gun was loaded, and Zelda replied,
I dont carry unloaded guns.
The dispatcher then said, I need you to put the gun down before
Zelda said that she would only put the gun down when the officers arrived.
She was true to her word.
The officers arrived and took the captured burglar into custody. They
asked Zelda if she had put the gun down, checked that she had, and did
not touch the firearm, which she had placed on her mantle.
Tucson police spokesman Daniel Mejia later said that the department
was pleased that Ms. Hunt was able to defend herself. Chief Douglas
Smith later said, It is not our intent to dissuade citizens from
exercising prudent and reasonable methods in defending themselves or
A Tucson PD detective later told Zelda that the perpetrator was released
on a $7,500 dollar bond. She was never notified of the disposition of
Complications from diabetes prevent this courageous woman from traveling
here tonight to accept this award, but it will be delivered to her at
her residence in Tucson, by a person who will announce his presence
and knock politely at her door.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in acknowledging the reasonable
and prudent actions of this recipient of the Human Right of Self
Defense Award, Ms. Zelda Hunt!
The Case of Bob Lawrence
(Presenter: Terry Allison)
Bob, a 61-year-old Air Force veteran, lives with chronic back pain.
He was driving home with a car full of groceries in Tempe, in May of
2003. Another car, with two men and a woman driving, decided to harass
this perfect stranger by swerving around him, tailgating, and pulling
In a 35-mile-per-hour school zone, annoyed that Bob slowed to the limit,
they recklessly pulled along side and tossed a cup of soda through his
open window. The lid cut his forehead and the sticky soda covered his
glasses. One of the men leaned out the window and yelled, Im
gonna fuckin kill you.
Bob tried to drive away, and dialed 911 on his cell phone, while they
swerved to keep up. Bob had gotten his CCW permit in the early days
of the program, and knew that verbal threats were not justification
for producing a gun. He hoped desperately that Officer Friendly would
arrive in time. Then a traffic light turned red.
In the mirror he watched his tormentors pull right behind him. The two
men got out and started towards him. He reached for his nightstick,
but realized it would be hopelessly ineffective in the cramped confines
of his car, with his limited physical mobility, against two able-bodied
attackers. With 911 still on the line, he drew his small, .380 caliber
Colt pistol from his ankle holster, pointed the muzzle at the roof with
the gun in plain view, and shouted, Get back in your car.
The woman, still in her car, shouted to her accomplices, Hes
got a gun! and both men turned tail, scrambled into their vehicle,
and continued to follow Bob as he drove off. He couldnt see their
plates, they swerved into a parking lot, and he drove home. He was delighted
to see several police cruisers waiting there after the ordeal.
He got out, enthusiastically offered his CCW permit and pistol, which
they took, and asked if he could put his wilting groceries away. One
of the officers though was afraid Bob might have another gun in his
home, which Bob willingly confirmed. So they escorted him and then out
again, to avoid his big German Shepard. The police detained him outside
his home, with his cut forehead, soda-covered glasses, and the physical
stress from his disability began to build.
He tried humor with one of the officers, also a veteran, to disarm the
situation, but the fellow was not amused, and took a light-hearted remark
as an insult. (He had said, The Marines made a man outta you.
I was already a man, so I went into the Air Force.)
They kept Bob outside for two long hours, grilling him, until he became
so ill they had to call paramedics and rush him to a hospital emergency
room, with a police escort. The questioning continued in the hospital.
The men Bob thought were his rescuers, summoned to find him and protect
him, had been dispatched to catch him, because of the danger he
had presented, to the three perpetrators who had attacked him.
The perps had made a 911 call of their own, and reported that a man
with a gun had threatened them on the road while they were minding their
Months passed, and Bobs attempts to get his gun back, and his
CCW permit returned were fruitless. He was effectively denied his ability
to carry concealed, and his personal property was confiscated without
In late November, six months later, he received a summons to appear
for fingerprinting and a hearing. The Maricopa County prosecutors
office decided he had brandished a gun, and charged him with aggravated
assault - dangerous, a felony.
He ended up with an attorney, Tait Elkie, who looked at the situation,
decided it was bad for Bob, and recommended he cop to a plea bargain,
but Bob, to his credit, said no way. Things looked pretty bleak.
And then, by sheer luck, while his lawyer was collecting evidence in
the discovery phase, he found a third 911 tape, that had been left out
of all the police reports. Another motorist had observed the assault,
called 911, and gave a clear description of the unfolding situation.
He said an elderly man was being taunted by two men and a woman driving
erratically, who had thrown a cup of something through his window. They
had shouted at him, waved their fists, and hung outside the windows
of their vehicle. It was vindication, plain and simple.
The charges were finally dropped, 11 months after the incident, in April
of 2004, at the preliminary court hearing. Despite this, the police
still kept his gun and his permit for another four months, blatantly
denying him his rights and his property, until August 2004.
No shots were fired, and Bob had presented a sufficiently difficult
target to make his aggressors retreat. But if the tyrannical actions
of the authorities had been worse, if Bob had been forced to fire, if
the third 911 call had not been made, or located, or if it had been
destroyed, this man would have landed in a world of hurt he did not
deserve. It shows with crystalline clarity, that laws designed to protect
victims of aggression, and a vigorous presumption of innocence, are
critical if we are to consider our system of justice fair.
Tempe Police Detective Lukow has indicated to Bob that the perpetrators,
who violated numerous laws in their vicious attack, who filed a false
police report, and who abused the 911 emergency system, will not be
Ladies and gentlemen, please help me acknowledge the courage and perseverence
of this recipient of the Human Right of Self Defense Award, Mr. Bob
The Case of James Delcoure and Chuck Robles
(Presenter: Steve Kates)
James was filling in for his son at Tempe Pawn, and turned down the
managers offer of a sidearm, joking that criminals would shoot
at the openly armed person first. He had brought along his own Smith
& Wesson J-frame five-shot pocket revolver, with no permit. (Concealed
carry is legal without a permit at a place of business, at the owners
Two of the perpetrators had visited the shop casually around noon, then
returned at closing time with a driver and a third person. Arousing
no suspicions, the first two entered and struck up a conversation. On
a prearranged signal however the three assailants drew handguns and
opened fire without warning, at Chuck, the openly armed manager.
During the first barrage, Chuck was shot in the legs and collapsed on
the floor behind the counter. One round hit and was deflected by his
Benchmade pocket knife and probably saved his life. Another round zipped
by James head, who, suspecting nothing until the attack began,
had just leaned down to check a label on a sewing machine, a move that
likely saved his life.
The manager returned fire from the floor with his hip-holstered Beretta
Model 92. James drew his concealed revolver and joined with the wounded
manager in fighting back. When it was over, the police responded.
One robber was pronounced dead at the scene and another seriously wounded.
The driver and the third man escaped but were later arrested. The driver
plea bargained and testified against the two surviving robbers who were
both convicted of murder and armed robbery. The manager recovered from
In a statement, James said, I am grateful to God for my survival.
I am also thankful my friend had the courage and tenacity to stay in
the fight even after being shot five times. That took a lot of grit.
Having that concealed firearm saved my life and probably others. If
these men had escaped, they probably would have been a serious violent
threat to others in the community. The fortuitous events that permitted
me to retrieve my revolver and join the fight changed the outcome.
I do not hold a concealed-carry permit issued by any state because
I object to seeking permission from the government to carry a firearm
or being required to pay a fee so I can use my own guns. As an American
citizen, as a human being, I do not require the consent of some bureaucracy
for armed self defense. It extends beyond our Bill of Rights and Constitutional
protections. It is a fundamental tenet of liberty that protection of
one's self exists without the Constitution.
If the Second Amendment had never been written it would still
be my unalienable right and duty to protect myself, my freedom, and
my family in any fashion I select. To disarm a man is to render him
powerless, and to require him to seek permission from his government
for self defense is foolish.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing two men who are
alive today because they had the right to keep and bear arms when it
counted most, recipients of the Human Right of Self Defense Award, James
Delcoure and Chuck Robles!!
For links to the rest of the Self Defense Banquet event,
see the full list under New Stuff