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No Way! (Exercising the Right).

Businesswoman Erin Moul, 34, of Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania, owns Cover to Cover Books in Carlisle. Shortly before 6:00 p.m. on December 4, 2001, a man entered the used bookstore and asked Moul if she sold comic books. After she told him she did not, he meandered about the store in a way that led her to believe he was up to no good. "I didn't think he was going to rob me," she told the Harrisburg Patriot-News for December 6th. "I thought he was going to knock over a display." Eventually, however, the man came around the counter and stated his intent to rob her.

As Moul backed away, moving toward her purse, he said, "I need you to open the cash register." Moul recalled, during an interview with reporter Matt Miller of the Patriot-News Carlisle Bureau, that she replied: "I don't think so!" When the man repeated his demand, she reiterated, "No. And I have a really good reason not to open my register. You want to see why?" She then pulled a loaded 9 mm pistol from her purse and asserted, "Here's why!"

Pointing the firearm at the ceiling, she continued, "Why don't you try robbing somebody who doesn't have a gun?" And that, in Moul's words, "just freaked him out." The would-be robber blurted, apologetically, "I'm sorry. Some of my friends put me up to this," and fled empty-handed.

Moul called the police, who arrived while she was still on the phone with the dispatcher. "I was absolutely stunned at how fast they move," she told Miller. She gave the officers a detailed description of the fleeing miscreant and, within 40 minutes, they arrested 35-year-old suspect Charles W. Hinton Jr. near the store. Hinton was charged with robbery, simple assault, and criminal attempt. According to court records, he had previously served time in Cumberland County Prison for drug, assault, and terroristic-threat offenses.

Moul, who has a conceal-carry permit, insists that she would have shot the suspect had he come any closer, yet her emotions about the incident are mixed. For instance, regarding the look on his face when she pulled her pistol, she says: "It was the funniest thing. It was terrible," but at the same time "kind of humorous."
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Erin Moul in self-defense
Author:Lee, Robert W.
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 28, 2002
Words:374
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