Article Courtesy of The
North Port Sun
By Craig Garrett
Published August 21, 2020
NORTH PORT — Aside from stockpiling beans and sanitizer, Americans have racked
up record gun and ammunition sales in the coronavirus era.
In fact, more than 2 million of us became first-time gun owners through July,
according to federal agencies documenting such data. Chaos, imagined or real,
was driving firearms’ sales, experts insisted. Possible gun restrictions years
ago had prompted a similar run.
North Port’s Phil Ludos would hear that anxiety, on the golf course or poolside
at the city’s Cypress Falls at The Woodlands, a 55-and-up community where he
A retired police chief and certified gun instructor, first-timers had turned to
him for guidance.
“Concern about what was going on around you,” he said of expressed fear.
So Ludos formulated an “Introduction to Handguns” class, he said. He would
present simple basics using a police bluegun, a simulator, to explain things.
“Even the anti-gun (people) didn’t know where to start, to do it the right way,”
Social-distancing rules would limit the class to 15 participants — with a
waiting list — which Cypress Falls’ lifestyle director had supported, Ludos said
of the planned Aug. 26 class at the community’s clubhouse.
Once word got around, however, Cypress Falls’ management pulled the plug.
“Since this class is an educational class about handguns,” Cypress Falls’
lifestyle director Susan Darcy messaged Ludos in an email, “I did not think it
would be a problem to hold. I did not get approval for the class from the HOA
(Homeowner Association). The class has been brought to their attention and the
HOA (Pulte) felt it might give the impression to residents that we are OK with
residents carrying guns at the amenity or in the community. The class will have
to be canceled.
“You might be able to use a room at the library and still hold the class,” she
Neither Darcy or Rose Wallace, the HOA representative at Cypress Falls,
responded to the Sun.
Ludos, 74, couldn’t grasp the HOA’s denial.
“But saying ‘no’ isn’t going to stop this,” he said. “It seems discriminatory.”
Mike Udstuen, a retired Chicago truck driver new to North Port, had registered
for Ludos’s program. He had owned a handgun “but got rid of it years ago.”
Still, he said, “something like a class shouldn’t be regulated. Not when
everywhere is less and less safe.”
Not to be deterred, Ludos vowed to press forward with classes in his home.
“It’s about safety, pure and simple,” he said. “And explaining the difference
between pistols and revolvers. The majority want to feel safe in their homes.”