It’s Time To Buy A Gun

I’ve never wanted to own a gun. In fact, in my former days as a liberal, I was one of those singing the mantra of gun control. Even as I morphed into a conservative adult, I still felt that there was no need for me to own a gun, but believed that was the right of all law-abiding citizens to keep and/or bear arms, should they choose to do so.

Saturday night, however, that all changed for me.

My dog and I became the targets for a drive-by shooting.  Cooper and I were walking in a well-lit downtown area of the peaceful, waterfront village known (ironically) as Safety Harbor. We were  next door to the renown “Safety Harbor Spa” which caters to the wealthy folks and wealthier corporations which love to spend lavishly on “conferences”.  Oprah Winfrey is rumored to visit there yearly. In other words, this was not a bad neighborhood where drive-by shootings happen.

Until now.

Cooper and I were completing a lengthy walk in this quaint little New England-like  seaside village on old Tampa Bay, (not far from where I live). As we turned from the main street towards the marina where my vehicle was parked, an SUV drove north past me. I had my back to them and suddenly heard a sharp “pop” like a low-powered gun or possibly a high powered pellet gun being shot. At the same instant, a bullet (or pellet) whizzed by close enough for me to hear it as it passed, followed by a “thwack!” as it ripped through the branches of a small palm tree next to us. I turned and caught a glimpse of the shooter and friends and heard them laughing as the driver gunned the engine and ran the stop sign at the intersection in the heart of the waterfront village.

I whipped out my phone and dialed 911 and, within minutes there were two sheriff’s cars on the scene and another half-dozen or so combing the area north of Safety Harbor, but by then the punks could have been just about anywhere.  The police questioned me for about 20-30 minutes. They said they had cars all over the area alerted to the description I gave them, but the fact was the culprits could be anywhere by now. I told the officers that I understood that appreciated the effort they were making, but that I wanted to report it in case they had any other reported incidents to match it up to or to have it on their reports in case it happened later.

I was asked if I would be willing to press charges if they caught them and I assured the deputy that I would, although, “I’d rather shove the gun up the shooter’s behind and pull the trigger.” Thankfully, the deputy knew I was kidding, and said, “I’ll take that as affirmative, you’re willing to press charges.”

The point of all this is this: I’ve been procrastinating about buying a gun for some time. Actually, I’ve never wanted to own a gun. I still don’t want to need one. However, last night’s experience just bumped buying a gun up to the top of my list or priorities. I have one concern, however: If I had had a gun, and these kids drove by and shot at me and my dog, I’d have been tempted (I mean really tempted)  to pull it out and return fire… thus endangering the public. But they were running away and shooting at them at that moment would have simply made me as much of a danger to the public as them. Even more so, if it turned out they were shooting a pellet gun.

In the end, the reality is that we can’t behave like they do in a Bruce Willis movie. If we did, there’d be innocent bystanders getting killed every day. But it does beg the question: What, then, is the point of having a gun if, as the intended victim, you have to be the bigger person who has to choose to not defend himself in the interest of the public safety? Worse, I don’t know if I would even have considered that in the heat of the moment.

I’ll have to check on the local statutes, but my gut response is: You take a shot at me and miss, you’d best hope your buddy in the driver’s seat is poking a gas pedal that’s connected to a hemi or better.  On the other hand, if you stick around to try for a second shot, I’m hopefully going to have a big change of plans for the rest of your life.

So you can see my quandary. But it’s not just my quandary. It is the quandry of all of civilized society.

Years ago, I was in Rochester, NY on business when I witnessed the shooting murder of a fellow customer at a newsstand. The man was standing no more than 10 feet away when his “friend” (who was high on crack, I was later be told by police) walked up to him and unloaded a 22 caliber handgun into him.  He finally noticed me and pointed the gun at me nearly point blank and pulled the trigger only to have us both discover he’d emptied it into his “friend.”

He was later shot and killed by police when he was pulled over, but as much as that scared me, I knew I wasn’t the intended target. Last night, I (or my dog) was.  Even though it was most likely a random act of stupidity by kids, it’s put me in the position where I can no longer put off the decision as to whether or not to own a gun.

And I really resent that.  Partly because that’s where we’ve come to in our society and, perhaps most of all, because I can no longer duck the question, “If faced with this situation, how would you respond?” At the moment,  I don’t like the first answer that’s coming to mind.  Maybe a solid course in handgun ownership will resolve this for me. I just never thought I’d live to see the day when this would be atop my list of “things I can no longer put off.”

Some accomplishment, America.

Gerry Ashley

62 Responses to It’s Time To Buy A Gun

  1. Patriot Angel says:

    This is exactly what the average citizen, fighting for second amendment right are trying to get across to those who want gun control. You implement gun control, the criminals and gangs are not going to care a hoot. They will always get their guns. In fact…they WANT gun control. No criminal wants to take the chance of breaking and entering KNOWING there are more than likely guns pointed at him from the other side of the door because they were heard.

    You take guns away from average, law-abiding citizens and watch crime rate SKYROCKET worse than what it is.
    ALL citizens should be allowed to “open carry”. Then maybe a bank robber would think twice about robbing a bank even. They have the number of security guards staked out I’m sure, but, see what they try to do with 2-3 other people in there who just might pull a gun on him. I believe crime would go way down if we were all allowed to open care…or even concealed carry. That’s okay too…SURPRISE!

  2. Gridlock says:

    Before you go out and buy a gun, learn as much as you can. Take some gun safety classes and training in how and when to shoot. Memorize all of the safety rules and internalize them, so they are as natural as breathing. Spend a lot of time at the range renting a variety of guns and learn what you like and dislike about each.

    Then go out and buy a gun. Or maybe two! A side benefit of this approach is that, by that time, you will know exactly which gun you want and why.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Excellent advice (and let me point out a number of close friends have said the same thing to me now, for years.

      It’s time.

      Damn it!

    • Pat says:

      Learing to shoot is only step 1.
      Ask any self defense trainer and they will tell you learning competency is critical but the real learning takes place is off of the range. Learning whe it is ok to shoot and not ok. Learning that even though you posess the tools to continue the fight on an equal playing field you make the best choice to stay alive. That is quite possibly still escape and evade. Self defense is a mindset that simplifies down to I will do what it takes to make it home to my friends and family.
      For some great information I would Check Out Massaad Ayoob’s book “In the Gravest Extreme” Massaad wrote this book a while ago but it puts you in the correct mindset. He is also a leading mind in the world of pretecting yourself in and out of the court room.

      • Gerry Ashley says:

        Sterling advice, Pat. Just what I was looking for. THere’s enough Rambos out there (as you can see in one of the replies). We need some people who actually know how to apply logic and smart thinking to the self-protection aspect of this kind of thing.

  3. CapedConservative says:

    I live on a cul de sac surrounded by canals with gulf access. A few years ago, there was a home invasion a few houses down. I now have two guns. Smith & Wesson M&P .40 cal and Walther PPS in .40 cal.

    When I can, I carry the S&W (15 round magazine and 1 in the chamber). Most times, it is the much smaller Walther (6 round magazine and 1 in the chamber). My rule is that if I’m awake and dressed, the Walther is in a “pocket holster” and in my pocket. The only time I take it out is when I have to go into some place where concealed carry is forbidden (bars, police staton, etc). A concealed firearm is like a reserve parachute… you never want to use it but it’s there if absolutely needed.


  4. Tony Shelton says:


    Remember, a gun is a tool, no more and no less. An axe, a hammer, or a screwdriver can be dangerous if not used properly. Your local gunstore or shooting range will be able to provide you with shooting instruction AND the necessary training to allow you to acquire your concealed carry permit.

    Another good resource is the US Concealed Carry Association – . The right to bear arms is a right, but it comes with some awesome responsibility.

    Keep in mind that the best gun control is hitting what you are aiming at!

    • Gerry Ashley says:


      Great advice my friend. And deeply appreciated. Thanks for the link, by the way. I urge all our readers who are new to gun ownership to check out that link.

  5. Chew on This says:

    If I had had a gun, and these kids drove by and shot at me and my dog, I’d have been tempted (I mean really tempted) to pull it out and return fire… thus endangering the public. But they were running away and shooting at them at that moment would have simply made me as much of a danger to the public as them. Even more so, if it turned out they were shooting a pellet gun.

    Another liberal lightweight starts to grow a pair and still doesn’t get it.

    First off, a pellet gun can kill, through the eye into the brain. In contrast, there have been cases of .44 magnum rounds to the head that were deflected or passed through without incident. You don’t know what the round is going to do.

    What if it was a .22 or suppressed weapon? The bottom line is you were attacked and the excuse of a defensive response is endangering the public? As far as I’m concerned, sending a volley of suppressive fire at the vehicle is tactically sound. And if you do happen to stop the vehicle, how many other guns/passengers are a threat? In all the excitement, without them showing hands quickly, hate for more perps to get drilled in head. But then again, the public would no longer be endangered, would they?

    What happens when there’s a Mumbai public style attack or other more up close public attack, will you shoot then? Sure. The author isn’t going to pull out a gun period, and this is all feel-good forum bravado. He’ll buy a shiny Lorcin and keep it tucked away in his pantie drawer.

    You have to prepare yourself mentally and strategize before strapping on tools.

    • Gerry Ashley says:


      I invite you and all our readers to compare the contrast in your response to the one just prior to it from Tony.

      Tony’s response was thoughtful, logical, helpful and free of any judgmental attitude or personal attack. Yours, on the other hand… well, I’ll just let your comments speak on behalf of your lack of intelligence. You don’t know a thing about me. The sad part is, by reading only one post of mine, you think you do.

      I could easily surmise by reading your one response that you’re a colossal idiot who plays with guns because his penis doesn’t work. But that would be prejudging (like you) and there’s a chance that I might also be wrong. I mean, perhaps you’re just an egocentric gas bag who needs to ridicule others in order to feel better about yourself. Or maybe you’re just someone who is in desperate need of a high colonic. Or drank one by mistake.

      Not so pleasant when someone who doesn’t know you responds in such jerkwater fashion is it? Do you think it made your advice any more sound by beginning and ending with such ad hominem attacks?

      First, I am not a liberal. If you had bothered to read any of the hundreds of posts I’ve written here over the past two plus years, you’d see how ludicrous a comment that is, and how the regular readers here are laughing hysterically at your 10-second psychological profiling skills.

      However, that said, let me take your comments and “advice” about your imagined heroic Rambo-like response to the same situation.

      First, the pellet gun comment. You are correct. A pellet gun, especially one of the high powered ones, could easily penetrate the human body and cause serious injury or death. You’re not the first to point out that error in my judgment. Mea culpa (go ahead, look it up. I’m not insulting you).

      But as far as your response of blasting the car with tactical fire is concerned, you’ve just landed yourself in jail, my friend. I spoke to a Deputy today from the Sheriff’s office and questioned him about my response options, had I been in the possession of a firearm. His response: “The fact that they were running away from you means you were no longer under attack. To shoot at them at this point, would have exposed you (me) to a charge of illegally and recklessly discharging a firearm within city limits, because the perps were fleeing at the time. Had you actually hit one of them, you’d be up on aggravated assault charges.”

      OOPS… how come it doesn’t work that way when Bruce Willis opens fire in the middle of a shopping mall? Here’s why, Sparky: because things work different in movies. The problem is, toad-brains watching the movie think it’s “so cool” and feel it’s OK to do the same in real life. Do me a favor: Try it. I’ve got the name of a good bail-bondsman for you.

      Then, the Deputy posed the same question to me I would now pose to you: What if you missed the car and hit a bystander? By the time the police got there, chances are there would be no witnesses to corroborate your claim that someone had shot at you first. But there would be an injured bystander who was shot by you.”

      Guess who would be in jail that night until things got sorted out (if, indeed, they EVER did)?

      But for the sake of discussion, what if you DID manage to incapacitate the car? You would have no way of knowing how many of the passengers might also have weapons would you? Something tells me you’d be finding out real soon. Suddenly you could be facing a situation where you’ve got 4 people coming out of the car carrying high powered weapons against the one of you. What do you do now, Mr. Bond? Yell “Cut” and ask for a re-write? The real world doesn’t work that way.

      If you think attacking the vehicle without knowledge of how many armed people there are inside is a good idea, you’re one of the reasons people on the left call for gun control. We don’t need gun control. We need idiot control.

      You write:

      “You have to prepare yourself mentally and strategize before strapping on tools.”

      Yes, but you left out two of the most important accessories: intelligence and common sense. And that is why liberals insist on gun control.

      Thanks, Chewbacca, but I think I’ll follow the sane, rational advice offered by Tony who also managed to do so with common sense, intelligence and without insults or insolence. You know, all those public skills you lack.

      • Pat says:

        His response: “The fact that they were running away from you means you were no longer under attack. To shoot at them at this point, would have exposed you (me) to a charge of illegally and recklessly discharging a firearm within city limits, because the perps were fleeing at the time. Had you actually hit one of them, you’d be up on aggravated assault charges.”
        I would be curoise see how this stood up however I would not want to be the one picking up the cost. In a drive by as soon as the vehicle is past you they could be considered fleeing. However still engaging you as the target.
        The additional problem which arises in any public setting is that you are responsible for the final resting place of your shots and everything in between. In this case the best bet is probably seek cover (not concealment) but cover and escape. Just because someone does not return fire it does not mean theya re not a man.

      • Rustmeister says:

        Please understand, the gun community, like all others, has a cross section of society amongst its members.

        We get our share.

    • But for the sake of discussion, what if you DID manage to incapacitate the car?

      Hell, I’d say that disabling the car isn’t only a shortsighted goal, it’s an unrealistic one. Realistically, you’re very unlikely to stop the car or incapacitate the shooter in this scenario. The best thing you’re likely to accomplish by shooting back is showing the shooters that this isn’t a game, and scaring them into retreating.

      … Which is kind of redundant when they’re already driving away. Returning fire at that point? Legal or not, I can’t think of any likely scenario in which that improves your situation. You may have been a bit off track on your assessment of an airgun’s risk, but your instinctive misgivings about shooting back in this case were spot on.

  6. Robb Allen says:

    Greetings Gerry, my name is Robb Allen. I’m a blogger in the Tampa area ( and am an avid firearms enthusiast and Second Amendment activist.

    At any point that you would like to try out some firearms, please let me know. I will be more than happy to sit down with you and familiarize you with the rules of safe gun handling as well as provide range time and ammunition. No preaching about gun rights or trying to convert you to a card carrying NRA Member / SAF supporter. I am more concerned with someone who is interested in purchasing their first firearm be informed about guns than hopping up on my soapbox (that’s what my blog is for).

    If you’re interested, please feel free to contact my on my blog.

  7. […] Don’t be that guy, please? Firearm Training , Self Defense , The Stupidity, it BURNS Someone has decided that maybe it’s time to buy a gun. Thoughtful gun owners step in and give advice. Then suddenly, an asshole appears and shits all […]

  8. mike w. says:

    Congratulations. My advice would be to research before making your 1st purchase and if possible, handle and shoot several guns before you pull the trigger on a purchase.

  9. tkdkerry says:

    Gerry, ignore the idiot CoT. You’ll find the vast majority of gun owners are happy to welcome you into the fold, and would do our best to help you out. Glad you came through the incident OK.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Thanks, TK. Yes, I can see there’s a lot of really great folks willing to share knowledge instead of waving their “stupid” banner. It’s too bad we had one of those respond so near the beginning. Thankfully, I saw him for the blow-hard he is. You’ll notice I didn’t get intimidated by his stupidity. I don’t indimidate easily, but I understand the importance of making sure when it comes to guns and self-protection, there’s a responsibility to use thought, caution and intelligence before taking off the safety. Maybe TOC never had anyone teach that to him. We certainly know nobody taught him manners.

      Thanks again to you and all the sane folks out there.

  10. Justin Buist says:

    Well, welcome to the club! I’d take Robb up on his offer, if I were you. That’s how I got into firearms as an adult. Well, not Robb, but another gun enthusiast took a bunch of us from the office out shooting and brought along some of his firearms.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      You bet, Justin. And I’m going to contact him very soon to take him up on the offer. Education has got to come first. Sound, responsible actions…

  11. […] And finally a reformed liber turned conservative, realizes guns are a tool and having such a tool s … from → 2nd Amendment, Barack Hussein Obama, Democrats ← A Letter from Congressman John Kline No comments yet Click here to cancel reply. […]

  12. Pat says:

    One of the key things I have learned once I started down the self defense and concealed carry road. Is that possesing the capability to escalate a situation to that of the use of deadly force places us in a situation where de-escalation is key. Just because I carry does not mean that I should go into the worst parts of town. Matter of fact I am more aware of them and try harder to avoid them. The same goes when the guy in the parking lot starts yelling because he thinks I took his spot. Since I can escalate to the highest level of altercation I need to be the bigger person and do everything I can to prevent it from reaching that point.

    • Robb Allen says:

      Before I started carrying a gun for self defense, if you rode my ass in traffic, I had no compunctions about slowing down and matching the speed of the little old lady in the right lane and making your life hell.

      Now that I know that a road rage incident might require me to use my firearm, I no longer do such foolish things. I pull over when it’s safe and let the idiot pass by.

      The responsibility that comes with gun ownership has made me think twice about even putting myself in a situation where I might need it. I avoid places that are seedy if I can help it. However, as you’ve seen, crime happens anywhere, even in the nicest of neighborhood.

      • Gerry Ashley says:

        This thread is one of the best we’ve had here on Grand Rants in some time. The advice here is deeply appreciated. Like you, I think just the knowledge that a stupid road rage incident can quickly turn deadly is enough to cause extra thought and caution. Add to that the fact that I would be carrying the means to turn it deadly means I have an even bigger incentive to AVOID these situations. As you know, there’s no shortage of people in the Tampa Bay area who don’t have that strength of character. It’s those folks I simply want to avoid. But if they ever cross that line and attempt to take it to that level, it would be nice to know I have the training, education and the hardware to wind up top dog and, hopefully diffuse the situation or, at least, be the one who survives it. Again, I’ll be in touch soon. Thanks again.

  13. MadRocketScientist says:

    Regarding the mindset:

    Welcome to the community, we are a pretty calm bunch.

  14. JRebel says:

    Gerry, I’d like to say welcome to the fold. You’ve made a choice that you can be proud of, that being to refuse to be a victim (again anyway). As for a first purchase, like many have said here, try out a lot of guns at a range that has rentals. The best gun for you is the one you are comfortable with and will return to the range with to practice A LOT. So it has to be comfortable to shoot as well as hold, if you intend to get the CCW permit then it has to be comfortable to carry as well.

    Personally if I had the opportunity I’d definately take Robb up on his offer, he is a font of information on various firearms. Also a person I’m glad to call my friend as well as one of the people that got me to start blogging. Even though we’ve never met face to face. You’ll find, as you go deeper down this particular rabbit hole, that guns cause friends…not crime. You will also find that while we do have a few fringe elements (as evidenced above) gunnies are typically friendly people that merely want to enjoy life and be left alone by the darker element of society, only to be feared if trespassed against.

    • Gerry Ashley says:


      Yes, after a rocky start with Chewbacca, I’m quite pleased to see the kinds of responses people are coming back with. I’m very much looking forward to educating myself and THEN getting the hardware that best fits me.

      My hope in owning a gun is that I never HAVE to use it, but can take comfort in knowing it’s there.

      • Crotalus says:

        Gerry, I too wish that Chewy hadn’t shown up here. You clearly are not a Brady-type gun grabber, but someone who is in the midst of making a difficult decision. Most of us “gunnies” understand that, and save our vitriol for those who spew first, usually the gun grabbers who will not stop inflicting their agenda on us.

        Now, for a way of looking at things: if you are uneasy about guns, or people with guns, then buy one of your own, and learn to use it well. When it is your own gun, then you can trust that gun, because it is yours. You then become a person that you can trust with a gun.

        We all hope we never have to fire in self-defense. Most of us will not see that situation, but it does happen, just as most of us will not see our house burn down. But we do keep fire extinguishers, just in case.

        I do have a question, though. Why do you blame America for the decision foisted upon you by these thugs? Or, so it seems, judging by the last line in your blog.

  15. Gerry,

    There is a lot to consider in making the decision to carry a firearm. Unfortunately, most people get hung up on the “what kind” issue and don’t get into the training and mindset issues as much.

    Carrying a gun is like having a fire extinguisher: The goal is to try to avoid having to use either one, but if you have to, know how to use it effectively and have the will to do so. You have to know your state laws as to whether you have a duty to retreat or not. Generally, you can’t legally shoot at someone who has stopped attacking you; the law and juries really frown on putting bullet holes into the backs of people. But you have to accept the point that if you carry a weapon for personal protection, you may someday have to aim it at someone and take their life in order to save yours.

    Some good instruction is in order, though. Even if you ultimately decide not to carry a weapon, learning how to shoot is a good thing. And hell, you might even come to enjoy target shooting.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Enjoy? I’m looking forward to humbling myself at first, and then building up my confidence gradually. Like any fine instrument, I imagine it takes time to master the care and use of it. Yep, it’s nice to know there’s such a supportive community to become part of.

      Thanks again.

  16. DirtCrashr says:

    By all means go ahead and buy a gun, but spend some time. Shopping for it is as rich in deliberation and anticipation as any well thought out wood-working tool or a motorcycle or any other well-made dangerous thing.
    By that I mean there’s a lot to think about besides the sheer aesthetics of power and delivery – it’s not a magic wand and a LOT of people are put off by the potential for negative consequences, but that’s a part of what you’re deliberating about right now so get it out there and chew on it good. The upsides and the downsides and how you’ll be able to handle them – not the immediate act but the follow-through.
    For my take start with a rifle, it’s a more deliberate kind of choice – but where I live in Silicon Valley I can’t carry a gun around with any freedom anyhow, so a rifle provides a thoughtful place to rest my cheek and learn to squeeze-off small groups at long distances.
    Skill at restful small-groups includes watching the front-sight raise and lower after the shot and making a complete follow-through – a bit like a brush-stroke on canvas.
    I joined a CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) club so I would have access (here anyhow) to a 200-yard range, and to learn the protocols of safe handling and the joys of firing pieces of history. Through the CMP I bought an M1 Garand, learned to re-load, and then built a CA legal AR to refine my match shooting scores – and along the way acquired some pistols.
    It’s a fine sport with a lot of really great people and history – and it’s far harder than it appears. It’s not a magic wand without some concentration, discipline and effort, and it’s worth the time spent to achieve that. As a graphic designer and creative I’d have to say presentation has a lot to do with it.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Again, thanks for the great suggestions. I’m so encouraged at seeing how many really thoughtful people are ready to offer friendly advice and suggestions. Hopefully, it won’t be long before I get to be the one offering encouragement to others looking to address this important right.

  17. freddyboomboom says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I’ll reiterate the comments about getting some training, even if it’s just a local handgun safety class.

    One of the local to me (Portland, Oregon) county sheriff’s office holds such classes, as well as most of the gun stores in the area.

    A quick google search showed similar results for the Tampa Bay area.

    One of the issues is to learn the state and local laws about discharging firearms, and when it’s legal and when it’s not legal.

    Whether or not you actually purchase a handgun, the safety and legal info will be good to know.

    Good luck, and I hope you remain safe.


  18. Fodder4Thought says:

    I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you, but applaud your response to the incident. Not too terribly long ago I came to the understanding that my safety is solely my own responsibility – while there are others who might help if present or so inclined (the police, if they’re there; family, if they’re there; friends, if they’re there; bystanders, if they’re there) the only person obligated to protect me is, well, me. More than that, I’m also the only person who’s really capable of protecting me, so if I don’t/won’t who can/will?

    Unfortunately, I live in Maryland (unabashedly called ‘The Free State’), where only the wealthy or politically connected are given permits to carry.

    As to the practical questions that come with this decision, one thing I’ve found helpful is to choose a handgun that has plentiful ammunition (availability and price reasons), and also one for which a .22 conversion kit exists (price and training purposes). Then again, I’m on a pretty tight budget, so these concerns might not apply to you.

    As others have said, do research – not just reading, but head to the range and rent several. Go with friends and use theirs. Take Rob up on his offer.

    While any gun is better than none when you need one, it would be still better to have a good gun for you when you need it.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      I spent 4 years in Maryland (Laurel/Ft. Meade area). I’m sorry it’s so difficult to get a CCW permit there.

      I’m looking forward to the educational part of the process as much (if not more) as actually purchasing a gun. Because the educational part of it will assure me of making the right choice of weapon for me, ultimately. Give my regards to Glen Burnie. 😉

  19. DirtCrashr says:

    Still think a rifle is the best starter gun. 🙂 By the time you get the 4-Rules and manual-of-arms down pat you’ll know all the safety protocols and be ready for a pocket-sized one – and won’t be muzzling anybody. 😉
    Besides rifles are just kewl, the Minutemen had rifles.

  20. Linoge says:


    Thanks for sharing your story with us… It is definitely unfortunate that you were encouraged in the direction of carrying a gun by an incident like this, but I think you are well on-track for taking something as senseless as a pointless drive-by and turning it into a positive.

    I hope you do not mind, but I took the liberty of writing up my response here: (My trackback appears to have been devoured by the monsters lurking in the intertubes… no worries, it happens.) As I am prone to do, it got a little long-winded, and I did not want to flood your comments section.

    So, in short, welcome aboard, and feel free to ask (pretty much any of us) if you have any questions… And I do hope you continue to post about your concealed carry experiences – it is always good to see the topic from the eyes of a newcomer :).

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Thank you, Linoge. I was just thinking about that this evening. I think I will chronicle my journey here on Grand Rants… there are so many of you who have been so supportive, it seems as if I’m already amongst friends. So, I will be happy to share the journey in hopes it will inspire other people to take the time to do it right.

      Thanks for your response (and to everyone else in case I don’t respond to all of you).

  21. PhillipC says:

    Gerry, it sounds like your instincts are already pretty much in line with what the law is here in FL. If someone takes a shot at you and runs away, you call the police. If they stick around to take another shot, you shoot back.

    As long as you keep a clear head and the right frame of mind, you’ll make the right choices on when to actually use it. I hope you never have to. But it’s like that fire extinguisher I keep on my wall: it’s there if I need it.

    I’ve met Robb Allen in person, he’s a nice guy and I think he can help you down this road pretty well. I live an hour’s drive north of Orlando, so if there’s anything I can do, just send me an e-mail.

    Good luck!

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Thank-you, Phillip. I plan to contact Robb some time this week. But I’ll be sure to look you up if I head over to Orlando. Maybe there’s a range over there where I can practice.

      Again, thanks.

  22. Bill says:

    And this is why I carry – not to attempt to intimidate of to get into a “whose is bigger” contest, but to protect myself if and when the need should arise.

    I’m sorry that you were put into this situation, but I welcome you to the world of defensive carriers.

    I do hope that the perps are caught and prosecuted, and I’m happy that you and your dog are safe, if rattled and disillusioned.

    • Gerry Ashley says:


      Thanks for your response. The fact is, this is turning out to be a positive experience in that it has made me aware of a wonderful supportive group of individuals I didn’t realize existed: All of you. This is going to make the transition to “educated gun owner” a much less daunting or intimidating task for me.

      Sometimes blessings are disguised in misfortune. I think this is one of those times.

  23. Ted N(not the Nuge) says:

    Welcome to the community, it’s a strange, fun rabbit hole to start down! 😀

  24. Sadly, It's Time To Buy A Gun « Grand Rants…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  25. Carol Watkins says:

    “We don’t need gun control. We need idiot control.” …would make a great bumper sticker!

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Great idea, Carol! That would take care of two problems: Idiots with guns that don’t know how to use them properly and it would virtually clean out both houses of Congress at the same time!

  26. Jason E. says:


    Your story saddens me, because I live just a few miles from the area you speak of and agree with you… it should be a safe one.

    It seems like you are in the process of making a decision to put yourself in the position of being able to defend yourself, and your family. This is not a decision to take lightly, education is the key.

    Since I love to teach, and love firearms and the ability to protect myself and family should I ever need to, I became an NRA Instructor. This allows me to help people, like yourself — learn about firearms and enjoy what I like.

    I make you this offer Mr. Ashley — give me a call, or drop me an email, and I will provide you with a day of firearms instruction starting at the basics of safety, right up to firing successful shots at the range… for FREE.

    My details can be found on my website, the address was entered when I posted this.

    I hope you take me up on this offer.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Hi, Jason…

      Thank you for your generous offer. I am thinking very seriously of chronicling my journey of becoming a gun owner on this blog. I appreciate your willingness to be part of that journey. I will most likely be contacting you. Again, thanks.

  27. Scott McCray says:

    I look forward to reading the chronicles of your journey into the gunny community – it’s a strange and wonderful thing. (They’re all strange, and I’m wonderful – or vice versa, I forget which!) BTW – Robb is one of the pillars of the community, so you’ve got an awesome start to the trip…

  28. Ace says:

    Welcome to the community.

    Read up as much as you can. Learn safety. Learn the skills, the mindset, and legal implications of armed self-defense.

    And go join Robb for an introduction. He’s good people.

  29. Dave says:


    Let me add my +1 to the “ignore the jerk” comments. Welcome to the club. Just take guys like Robb up on their offers; learn from folks like him, educate yourself, and dive in. We’re the good guys.

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