One of the best things about living in the country is the fact that I can walk out my back door and in less than five minutes be shooting safely and responsibly on my property. This time of year it’s not unusual for me to hear gunshots from all around my property as well as hunters geared up for whitetail season by sighting in their rifles and taking target practice before taking to their tree stands in search of fresh meat and trophy bucks. It’s just a fact of life that most people where I live own firearms and have places to shoot on their property, and that’s true for most of rural America.
One couple in Florida are learning this the hard way, after a neighbor began building a 100-yard range on his property behind their house in Weeki Wachee (which, incidentally, is almost as fun to say as Walla Walla, Washington).
The backstop ends just feet from where the property line of another home in the Weeki Wachee neighborhood begins.
“I think a sane person would not even remotely consider doing this,” Misty Cintron said.
Cintron and her husband Jason said they built a home in the rural community for a better life. A few weeks ago, they noticed a large clearing behind their house.
“The fact that he can shoot at me, and I can’t shoot at him is not equal protection. The fact that there is not a clear distance, and he is shooting military-grade weapons that are not accessible to the average person in Florida, that’s not equal protection. My local enforcement is not able to fully protect me, so they are violating my right my civil rights.”
First of all, Cintron’s neighbor isn’t going to be shooting “at her.” He says the backstop is going to be 45 feet high, which will be more than enough to prevent any bullet from going anywhere near Cintron’s home. I don’t even know what she means when she says he’s shooting “military grade weapons” that the average civilian can’t get their hands on, but the gentleman in question told WFTS-TV in Florida most of his shooting will be using handguns.
The builder told us he plans to finish the home and range in the next 10 months. He invited us out to shoot and verify for ourselves how safe it was.
Cintron said he invited her too. She isn’t taking him up on that offer.
“My daughter is going to be fully prepared to at my death to take on the state that they failed me,” Cintron said.
Before I go any further, let me say that I am somewhat sympathetic to Cintron and her husband. When they moved in, they were expecting a quiet rural place. Now a guy’s building his personal gun range with a firing line about 175 yards from their house. Their life will undoubtably change once this guy moves in and starts shooting, and they’re probably going to be miserable. That sucks, and if I hated the sound of gun fire and didn’t want my neighbor to have a backyard range that backed up to my property, I’d probably be looking for another place I could move into within the next ten months.
However, the homeowner’s not doing anything against the law. He’s within his rights to have a range on his property, and Cintron is not, because her parcel of land isn’t big enough. He’s building his range safely, and there’ve been no code violations. More importantly, if this guy really wanted to hurt Cintron, as she seems to believe is the case, I don’t think he’d go through all the trouble of building a range in his backyard, and then try to fake an accidental and negligent shooting.
I’m guessing this guy is exactly what he told Cintron he was; a dude who’s excited and happy about having a place on his property where he can go shoot safely. I totally get it; it’s a wonderful feeling. In fact, just thinking about it makes me want to cut this piece short and head down to my shooting spot, but I will force myself to push through and reward myself with a quick trip to empty a few magazines as soon as this gets posted.
Should he have moved the range to make the couple happy, even if that meant shortening the range to 75 yards? I don’t think I would have, because if I were this guy, I wouldn’t be convinced that the move would ultimately satisfy the Cintrons.
This couple went to the local news station hoping for sympathy because they have no legal recourse, and they largely got it. If you watch the video in the link above, she’s portrayed very sympathetically, even though to me she and her husband come off as a little unhinged.
While I don’t think Cintron’s in any danger from her neighbor’s backyard range, at least based on what I’ve seen, she will be hearing gunshots on a regular basis, and from not too far away. Her neighbor is doing his due diligence to ensure the range is safe, but I don’t know what he’ll be able to do about the sound short of using suppressors. You just know as soon as that range starts getting used the local TV station’s getting another call. The homeowner says he wants the range to be finished within the next ten months, so look for an update on this story featuring an angry couple complaining about the loud booms destroying their quiet sanctuary in about ten months and two days.