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After Drawing Concerns, Backyard Gun Ranges Bill Could Go Through More Changes

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A bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers say a gun bill filed for the 2016 legislative session is a good start, but it needs more work.

The measure by Rep. Neil Combee (R-Polk City) makes it illegal to shoot a gun in residential neighborhoods for celebratory or recreational purposes. It’s meant to target people constructing makeshift gun ranges. Lawmakers changed it to allow some exceptions, like accidental discharges. But, some lawmakers want more changes.

“1) I want to see celebratory shooting taken out. 2) I want recreational shooting defined. 3) I want to see accidental discharge, the words added, ‘of not more than one round.’ Even if I’m shooting an automatic weapon, that’s going to discharge potentially more than one round. I shouldn’t have it loaded, if it’s not in one shot, if I’m going to be shooting at a range,” said Rep. Charles Van Zant (R-Keystone Heights).

After more than an hour of discussion Wednesday, the House Local and Federal Affairs Committee passed the measure. Meanwhile, its Senate companion passed another committee Tuesday with no debate.

The measure also has the backing of the NRA and the Florida Police Chiefs Association, which both helped write the bill.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.