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Thugs pull gun on 70-year-old Vietnam vet. But he's armed, too — and quicker on the draw.

AP Photo/Al Behrman, File

A 70-year-old Vietnam veteran was dropping off a friend Thursday morning in Venice, Illinois, when, authorities said, two men pulled up next him in a vehicle and asked for directions.

But they really wanted something else: They pulled a gun on the vet in a robbery attempt, investigators said.

Unfortunately for the crooks, the veteran — who's from nearby St. Louis — was carrying a concealed firearm authorized by the state of Missouri, KTVI-TV said.

And he used it, fatally shooting 19-year-old Billy Dickerson in the head and wounding 23-year-old Perry Richardson with bullets to the arm and chest, KTVI added.

"He feared for his own life,” Madison County (Illinois) State's Attorney Tom Gibbons told KDSK-TV. “He feared for the life of his friend and just took decisive action in that moment."

Also Richardson has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Dickerson's death, KTVI said, adding that once he's released from the hospital, he'll be taken to jail and held without bond.

"If you're engaged in a forceable felony and someone — no matter who — dies during the course of your crime, you are accountable for murder," Gibbons told KDSK.

Gibbons added to the station that both suspects were wanted for violent crimes across Illinois and Missouri: "We're able to, probably, I believe ... solve possibly dozens of other armed robberies in the area."

He told KDSK that the vet's actions were justified.

“The courts have consistently recognized the right of a law-abiding citizen to carry a concealed weapon for the purpose of self-defense," Gibbons said in a statement to KTVI. "This incident yesterday morning is the exact situation where the necessity for this right becomes crystal clear."

(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)

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