A Santa Maria, Calif., real estate agent who often finds squatters in bank-owned homes that she’s been assigned to write up broker price opinions for says the .45-caliber pistol she’s been carrying for 10 years often comes in handy.

The agent, identified only as “Amanda,” tells the Santa Maria Sun that she’s probably encountered squatters in 15 homes she thought were vacant.

“Amanda announces herself before entering such properties, at which time most squatters climb out of a window and run away,” the Sun reports.

If they refuse to leave or show aggressive behavior, she says, “I’ll pull the gun out of my purse and I’ll just hold it in my hand where it’s visible, not in a threatening manner, and just have it there. And usually that’s just enough to get people to stop with the aggressive behavior and just go.”

Brian Anton, owner of a Santa Maria gun shop and shooting range, says his employees have trained thousands of people on how to handle a firearm, and that demand from women for such training is “pretty incredible.”

But Anton told the Sun that a firearm should be the last choice in self-defense.

“Situational awareness is the main thing, especially if you’re a Realtor who’s going to show a home or something with a man that you’ve never met before,” Anton said.

A rise in violence against real estate professionals prompted Inman News to publish a three-part series focusing on personal safety in 2011. Source: santamariasun.com

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