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Legally Owned Handgun Used Effectively in Self-Defense (No, Seriously!)

Charleton Heston may have joined the Great Gun Rack in the Sky, but the National Rifle Association has found a new hero: Anthony Cole of Boynton Beach. That's because Cole used his legally owned gun to ward off an attack from a man who was robbing Cole's home.

According to a probable cause affidavit just released by the Boynton Beach Police Department, Cole, 26, was returning to his home on Northwest 1st Street just after midnight on September 4. Cole told the police that when he hit the lights, he discovered a man in the midst of a burglary. That burglar attacked Cole, who happened to be armed.

Cole fired at the burglar, striking him. He then pulled the trigger several more times as the burglar left through the sliding glass door.

Boynton police discovered that shortly after the incident a 20-year-old man named Eddie Weal was delivered to the Delray Beach Medical Center with multiple gunshot wounds. Weal fit the description of the man Cole says he shot. In an interview with police Weal claimed that the shooting took place at another location, not at Cole's home. But it appears investigators have found bullet casings and Weal's blood at the scene. The affidavit says that after Weal was told this, he stopped talking to police.

Weal has been charged with burglary and assault. It appears there will be no charges against Cole, who legally owned the gun he used to shoot Weal.

The incident could not have better timing politically. Two recent South Florida shootings prompted questions about whether guns -- legally owned or not -- were an appropriate way to settle seemingly mild disagreements.

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Thomas Francis

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