This year, Florida gun owners will mark the 30-year anniversary of the passage of the state’s shall-issue concealed-carry law. Back in 1987, Florida’s law—the first of its kind in the nation—was revolutionary, and inspired dire predictions from anti-gunners all over America of OK Corral-style shootouts in the town square and blood running in the streets.
Of course, as we now know, those doom-and-gloom scenarios never came to pass. Instead, Florida residents continued to safely and responsibly defend themselves with firearms, much as they had in the decades before—and much as they have in the decades since, as the following six accounts show.
Luis Enrique Alonso was unloading groceries outside his home in Temple Terrace, Fla., when two men approached, at least one of whom was armed. The robbers grabbed Alonso and threatened him with a gun. Alonso responded by grabbing the criminal’s firearm and drawing his own gun. Shots were exchanged before the armed robbers fled the scene. (WFLA, Tampa, Fla., 02/01/16)
A homeowner in St. Cloud, Fla., was at home with his family and a friend when he heard a suspicious noise. The homeowner retrieved a gun, went to investigate, and came upon someone trying to break into the house. The homeowner responded by ordering the intruder to leave. When the home invader did not comply, the homeowner shot the criminal during a struggle. The home invader, who an investigation revealed had a significant criminal history, later died at a hospital. (Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Fla., 12/24/15)
Two burglars forced their way into the Lynn Haven, Fla., home of Melissa Galarza. Once inside, the men assaulted Galarza by throwing her to the ground and punching her in the face, all while demanding money. On the ground, Galarza reached for her gun on the bottom shelf of her coffee table. Galarza pointed the gun at her attackers—but undeterred, the men charged her. Galarza fired at the attackers, striking one in the abdomen, and causing both to flee. The wounded attacker was discovered to have sought treatment at a local hospital, but left before police could bring him into custody. (NWF Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., 12/05/08)
Thugs, one of them armed with a pistol, ambushed 56-year-old Roberta Andrews and her daughter Leashea in a Gainesville, Fla., mall parking lot. The mother was trapped outside the car, but Leashea was able to jump into the driver's seat, where she fished around in the darkness and pulled out her .38 revolver—the sight of which sent the assailants packing. (The Sun, Gainesville, Fla., 3/22/97)
James Pedersen was in his Waverly, Fla., home when a burglar alarm attached to his father's house went off. Pedersen grabbed a shotgun, drove to his father's, and quickly got the drop on a burglar who was leaving the house with a trash can full of stolen property. An accomplice escaped, but Pedersen turned the one culprit over to sheriff's deputies. (The News, Lake Wales, Fla., 6/4/81)In Jacksonville, Fla., clothier Wade D. Raulerson grappled with two knife-wielding bandits until he fought his way to the counter where his .38-cal. revolver lay hidden. Raulerson killed one assailant instantly, then turned his gun on the other, who fled out the door critically wounded. (Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., 5/1/61)