Speak Up

Why I stopped shooting and carrying handguns

For 25 or more years, I owned at least 7 handguns. I trained at the county range. At that time, one had to have two or more recommendations, undergo an investigation, then qualify the specific handgun at the range for handling and safety. Ultimately, I underwent the investigation from the City of Miami to carry handguns and qualified six on my permit.

Here are the main circumstances which caused me to intelligently consider ceasing this sport.

First, Florida adopted universal handgun rules for carrying, which increased poorly trained carriers whom I considered dangerous.

At the county range, a shooter next to me was so exhilarated when he hit the target, he turned, pointed his gun at me, and asked if I saw his mark? At which time I froze and reached over to move his handgun downrange and advised him of gun safety, always.

During a road rage situation, the driver ran to my stopped car and yelled and screamed at me. I timidly apologized and agreed that it was my fault and apologized again. He continued to be outraged while I continued to apologize, again and again. My handgun was at my side during the entire time, and my consideration was to protect my one eye should he become physically aggressive, considering he was in his 20s and I was in my 50s. My apologies prevailed and in retrospect, his life may have been spared, as I had the good sense and training not to use a handgun unnecessarily.

Road rage incidents continue to be in the news. Many involve handguns.

Lastly, I was cleaning my handguns and checking their actions when one, loaded with a bullet, went off into the ceiling. One mistake with the gun; fortunately, always pointed away.

Will Florida’s teachers undergo my safety background in dealing with loaded handguns?

Neil A. Useden,