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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.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.