By Cammy Clark
BIG PINE KEY -- Near the National Key Deer Refuge in the Lower Keys, on a sleepy street called Mango Lane, retired sheriff’s deputy Huey Gordon checked the waterway behind neighbor Doug Varrieur’s home for boat traffic.
“All clear?” asked Varrieur, an author of diet cookbooks and owner of rental properties.
“Yes, sir, you are,” Gordon said.
To which Varrieur replied: “The range is hot.”
He put on earmuffs and, within a few seconds, the peace of the residential neighborhood was replaced with the burst of small-caliber gunfire. Varrieur fired seven shots that traveled 21 feet to a target that had three cans inside a box and a picture of a zombie holding a screaming woman.
“All right, one dead can,” said Varrieur, 57.
It has been a month since the friends first fired their guns in this makeshift shooting area — surrounded by a chain-link fence, a shiny RV and the canal. The shots sent shockwaves through the neighborhood.
It became even scarier once the neighbors learned that on Varrieur’s side was a state law on the books since 1987. Varrieur said most gun owners like himself had just assumed they couldn’t shoot in residential neighborhoods.