By Lee Williams
MANATEE COUNTY — It’s hard to name a shooting discipline that Angie Weldon doesn’t enjoy.
She’s a shooter’s shooter and an accomplished instructor who’s well known and respected throughout the region.
Weldon, 55, is certified by the National Rifle Association as a pistol instructor, range safety officer and range management and operations specialist. She’s also certified to teach the NRA’s popular “Refuse To Be a Victim” and “Personal Protection in the Home” courses. Weldon is certified by the United States Concealed Carry Association to teach pistol and personal protection, and she attended the week-long pistol instructor course at the prestigious SIG SAUER Academy.
When she’s not teaching Weldon leads the Sarasota Chapter of the Well Armed — a national organization that seeks to “educate, equip and empower” female shooters. Her chapter has 48 members and is growing rapidly.
She was recently chosen over several other well-qualified candidates as the new manager of the Manatee Gun and Archery Club.
“From the field of applicants the board was presented with Angie’s superior qualifications and experience in the firearms and training field made her a great choice for the position,” said Chris Baden, a board member of the club.
In my humble opinion, she was a great choice.
For Weldon, shooting is more than just a sport.
“I get the satisfaction of knowing I can defend myself when my husband’s not around,” she said. “I don’t need a knight in shining armor. I can take care of myself.”
Before she met her husband of 30 years, she’d never fired a gun.
Her father, a World War II combat veteran, forbade firearms in the home.
“My dad got a Purple Heart, and he vowed that no one would ever touch a gun in his home,” Weldon said. “And then I married my ‘gun nut.'”
Her husband, Richard, gave her a Benelli SuperNova 12-gauge shotgun — for Valentine’s Day.
“It’s guns and ammo at our house every Christmas,” she said. “When both of our daughters got married the same year, both hubbies got initiated at our family firing range, and they got guns and ammo.”
The couple owns their own firearms training firm: Armed and Responsible Personal Protection.
Weldon plans to offer more programs at the club, more new-shooter orientations and to increase the club’s hours. Now, it is only open Thursdays through Sundays.
“I want to see more families and more kids out there,” she said. “I see a few kids shooting with their fathers while their moms sit in the car. I go get them and encourage them to try shooting. Education is the key to safely handling firearms. That’s why I like being an instructor. I love new shooters and I love working with kids.”
— Senior investigative reporter Lee Williams, The Gun Writer, can be reached at (941) 284-8553, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or lee@TheGunWriter.com, or by regular mail, 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You also can follow him on social media at facebook.com/TheGunWriter or Twitter.com/ht_gunwriter.