FL gun range to scale back explosives, gets OK for flamethrowers

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Florida has a reputation for being…well, strange. The Florida Man meme is the stuff of legend. However, there is some strangeness that goes on down there, to be sure.

Like a gun range agreeing to scale back their use of explosives but will be using flamethrowers.

Flamethrowers are now allowed at Ares Training Facility, the Lake County Commission voted on Tuesday.

After rejecting a continuation of the case, the commission voted 4-1 to change the range’s 2019 conditional use permit to allow the use of flamethrowers. Commissioner Kirby Smith, who argued for fewer restrictions for the range,was the lone dissenter.

It was the only one of Ares’ requests the commission granted. The range had also asked that its hours be expanded and that camping be allowed on site.

“We’re happy with it. We got the flamethrowers added back in, which is a good start for everybody, I think, involved,” said Colin Johnson, manger of Ares. “We were hoping to sit down with the neighbors for another 30 days, but unfortunately they wanted to go ahead and push it now.”

The whole case is…interesting, to say the least, and I don’t want to get into it.

What I do want to talk about is just how gloriously odd this whole thing is. Flamethrowers, for crying out loud.

No, I don’t disagree with the facility being allowed to use flamethrowers. It’s their property and flamethrowers aren’t exactly firearms. I think it’s great. I kind of want to plan a trip down that way now just to have some fun with one.

It seems the neighbors aren’t thrilled with the range, but neighbors never are, and I really don’t particularly care one way or another.

What I do care about is, again, flamethrowers. Why aren’t these at ranges everywhere? We need flamethrower ranges, for crying out loud.

Yes, I want one. What’s your point?

Anyway, this is one of those stories you kind of expect to see out of Florida, but it’s also not particularly wrong, either. The right to keep and bear arms includes all arms, even if they don’t seem particularly practical. Flamethrowers may suck for home defense, at least if you value your home, but the Constitution doesn’t differentiate between certain kinds of arms.

I mean, privately owned artillery was a thing when it was written, so why would it?

I’m glad Ares got the clearance for this, but I also think it’s sad they had to get it in the first place. Again, it’s their property. While flamethrowers are dangerous–it’s kind of the point, really–and they’d be on the hook for any damages that occurred, that’s no different than anything else related to a range, really. It shouldn’t have been a slog for them.

Not that Ares did everything right. Apparently, they were operating without a permit, which kicked off a lot of the problems in the first place. Of course, I don’t think that would have changed all that much in the grand scheme of things.

You know what can change things?

Flamethrowers.