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Ban unsafe gun ranges in residential areas and keep neighborhoods safe

This petition had 7,223 supporters

My 21 year old neighbor decided to erect a makeshift gun range in his front yard just feet away from where my children play and I was helpless to stop him. In Florida, you can build a gun range in a residential area surrounded by houses and playing children, and law enforcement can do nothing about it. This puts both people and property at great risk and should not be allowed. I want Florida to create stricter residential gun range laws in order to keep our children and neighborhoods safe.

Within a day, people in my neighborhood and around the country, were protesting and asking how could it be legal to practice firing a deadly weapon in a residential area. So many things could go wrong.

The answer is that the  Florida statute governing discharging firearms in a residential area is vague and up for  interpretation. State law supersedes local authority and even says local officials can be sued if they try to take action against residential gun range owners even when they view something as dangerous. Currently, the way the law is written you are able to discharge a weapon in a residential area provided you don’t fire over a right-of-way of any paved public road, highway or street, fire over any occupied dwelling and aren’t fire reckless or negligent. Yet,  “reckless or negligent” has no clear definition.

Thus, in Florida it would be legal shoot on private property next to a daycare center. And if someone wanted to shoot a fully automatic weapon, they wouldn’t be breaking any laws, so long as they had the proper license. The danger isn’t just hypothetical, on Christmas Day, 2013 a Florida 69 year old grandfather was working in his backyard when he was hit in the chest by an errant bullet fired from a neighbor's yard. He died less than an hour later.

Luckily, my neighbor has wisely decided to remove his gun range, but the law still is in his favor. We need a stronger, clearer law that is going to create standards and safety measures that will regulate such ranges and make sure they do not pose any risk to neighbors and property. Other accidents are waiting to happen. Responsible gun ownership will keep everyone safe, especially when in our homes., especially when in our own homes.

In the words of former NRA president Marion Hammer: “How anyone rational person could think that this makeshift shooting range is legal or safe is a mystery to me.” Tell Governor Rick Scott, State Attorney Pam Bondi and the Florida State Legislature that its time to make a clear, common sense residential gun range law that takes both the safety of the public as well as as the concerns of the gun rights movement.

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