Ezra Titus

1966 – 2009

ON FLORIDA GUN LAWS (EXCERPT)

Note: The following is an excerpt from a story my son wrote in 2008. Just one year later he took his own life. He used a gun that he purchased easily in Tampa, FL and bullets from Walmart. My life will never be the same without Ezra.

– Libby Titus

 

Look, I have to admit that living in Tampa, Florida has its … oh, shall we say, “conveniences.” After all, what other place on earth (excepting possibly the Ukraine or Kazakhstan) would allow someone as full-on, rhino mad as I am to legally purchase an arsenal of military caliber weapons that even my best friends call, “ridiculous”? – No problem here in Florida. Where else can I go to buy ammo at Wal-Mart and have the attendant tell me I look 16 while I purchase the new Winchester “Megakill” bullets? I asked the guy, “Wanna’ see my identification?” He said, “Umm, I don’t think I have to.” I said, “You do realize what exploding, hollow-point bullets are, don’t you? You don’t exactly need these for hunting squirrels.” (Yes, it even concerned me!) – Nope. No problem – discount on packs of 100 – out the door – done

 

A girl I met, call her Reneé goes to a shooting range down the street .  “It’s just what we do here for fun. In other states, maybe people play video games. We shoot, for real.”  On my birthday, she bought me a .45 caliber Glock pistol with four extra 17 round clips. It’s essentially a hand-held cannon. I said, “Renee, this is a gorgeous gun, but aside from saving rental charges at the range … why?” She said, “You’re new to this part of Florida. Trust me. Hang on to this. Lock it up when you’re not carrying it, but keep it loaded and close to you when you’re home.”

 

This brings us to Florida gun laws: Essentially, this is the deal – As long as you’re not Jeffry Dahmer,  you can buy just about anything you want after a 45 second background check. You can have it in your car. For $45 more dollars, you can get a permit to carry it wherever you want, and when you’re home? – Oh baby. Look, if you want to sleep with a rocket propelled grenade launcher on your nightstand, not only is it legal; Florida law says that if you feel endangered at home in any way whatsoever, “shoot first.” – Check it out for yourself. I kid you not. Anyone that wants to break into  an apartment better be faster than a speeding bullet … or, make that a multitude of speeding bullets – bullets designed to expand then shatter on impact leaving “massive wound channels,” and just about guaranteed to kill a Tyrannosaurus Rex on the first shot, even if you just hit it in the foot.

 

Renee brought me to Shooting Sports on North Dale Mabry in Tampa.   Fritz, the paranoid salesman told me that most folks find the larger weapons unwieldy for quick action.  He suggested keeping the same pistol Blackwater uses in Iraq on the nightstand.   “And yeah, with that thing and its attached flashlight,   one can sleep pretty soundly in regard to personal safety.  Just get yourself  a nice copy of a military assault rifle, a scoped sniper rifle”   And, a few gigantic shotguns, and maybe even a stolen Soviet nuclear missile … should the need arise. – A word of advice: If you get angry at somebody in this city, do not go banging on their door!  In that scenario, the police here encourage us not even to open it, but to shoot through it!

 

One day, I woke up to hear an “argument” (though entirely one-sided) in the parking lot. A guy was yelling at some kid, pointing a 10 gauge shotgun at him. I heard the guy say, “Don’t you never mess with nothing again! Next time I’ll send you off to Jesus, you hear?”

 

Florida may not be for everybody, but some of us would never consider leaving the state. I’ve heard people refer to New York as “The USSR.” I’ve heard people say, “I will NEVER cross the Dixie line!” And I’ll never forget what then Governor Jeb Bush (Einstein’s brother) said after one of our famous hurricanes: “I guess it’s just the price the price we pay for living here in Paradise.”