Bonnie Venable Florida Today Opinion
Published 6:00 AM EDT Apr 9, 2019
I have never really been afraid for my personal safety. However, in these changing times, I firmly believe in the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.
I grew up in Brevard County, Florida, having moved to Merritt Island in 1959. In today’s world, we are surrounded by violence everywhere, both explicit and implicit. We are bombarded with movies and TV shows that seem to glorify mayhem and violence. Our young people are enthralled with war games and other violent ways to deal with the “bad guys” on their Xboxes, PlayStations and smartphones.
We see spectators and athletes getting into verbal and sometimes physical conflicts. We see horrific acts against people, children and animals every day in the news and on social media. Our society seems to be lost in the mire of noncivility toward each other. We see looting and riots in cities in the aftermath of natural disasters. Our political system has gotten divided with the left and the right at highly opposing odds with each other without regard to what is right for our country. All of this is so far removed from my childhood and the country I grew up in.
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Here’s why I, at a mature age, decided to become proficient in firearms usage. Several years ago, I made the decision to obtain my concealed carry permit in order to be able to protect myself should the need arise. I attended the eight-hour course as taught by a local company, completed the required live fire exercises and received my permit.
Since that day, I have continued to increase my skills and have become a certified National Rifle Association pistol instructor and range safety officer. I am also certified as an instructor for the NRA Refuse To Be A Victim course. I participated in the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office eight-hour course in Self-Defense Through Tactical Shooting & Decision-making, which I highly endorse for anyone interested in self-defense.
I “dry-fire” practice with my pistol on a regular basis in the privacy of my home and follow all the required safety aspects in doing so. I can field strip, clean and reassemble my pistols without any assistance from my husband or anyone else — although I do find YouTube to be highly informative when I purchase a new pistol so as to learn as much as I can about maintaining my pistol in the best way possible.
I joined a women’s shooting league, A Girl and A Gun, which has active chapters all over the country. I have made many new friends through this organization and enjoy our shooting “girls’ night out” events twice monthly, where we continue to improve our firearm skills and have fun doing so.
I have made it a part of my everyday wardrobe to discreetly carry my pistol. My friends are well aware that I carry and know that should I be called to do so, I will protect them to the best of my ability. I am confident in my ability to protect my home, my friends, family and myself, and I pray that I am never in a position to do so.
I am proof that you can teach an “old broad” new tricks and that firearms are nothing to be scared of. I will be 72 years young this month and will continue to teach firearm safety and skills to as many interested individuals who want to learn proper techniques, usage, maintenance and safety of firearms.
They have become a way of life for many of us — men, women, younger and older. We will not go quietly into the night. The largest army in the United States is made up of private individuals like me and will take on the mantle of defense to protect our country.
Bonnie Venable is a resident of Merritt Island, Florida. This column first appeared in Florida Today as part of its ”Here’s why I” series.
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