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Differing Bills Banning Backyard Gun Ranges Head To House, Senate Floors


Two bills banning makeshift firing ranges in residential neighborhoods are now heading to the House and Senate floors. But, they’re now a bit different.

Both bills originally made it illegal to fire a gun in a residential area for recreational and celebratory reasons. Now, under Rep. Neil Combee’s (R-Polk City) measure, it’s only recreational.

“There was some concern that it might leave the impression among folks that celebratory shooting was not a good idea in residential areas, but a good idea or necessarily permitted or allowed in other places,” said Combee. “So, we decided to remove that.”

Despite the change, the House measure still has the support of the NRA and the Florida Police Chiefs Association, which wrote the bill. Ponce Inlet Police Chief Frank Fabrizio says it’s important to crack down on makeshift backyard gun ranges.

“These backyard gun ranges: they’re palettes stacked up with dirt, they’re four by four landscape timber stacked up,” said Fabrizio. “It’s not these built ranges that are very nice with big berms. That’s what we’re seeing this law will allow us to deal with.”

While the House and Senate measures now differ, they still provide for two exceptions: lawfully defending life or property or an accidental discharge.

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.