Florida Bill Seeks to Punish Irresponsible Shooters

AP Photo/Wilson Ring

One of my goals in life is to have a big enough place that I can have a range in my back yard. For me, that means living out sort of in the middle of nowhere, somewhere that I don’t know my neighbors because I don’t know where they are.


Some in Florida are apparently putting ranges in their back yard when their patch of heaven is a little smaller than what I envision, which is fine. The world doesn’t revolve around me and what I think.

Yet there seems to be a bit of an issue down there. It seems some people with these backyard ranges aren’t exactly being careful.

As a result, one lawmaker wants to pass a bill that would punish some of these folks.

The Florida Legislature has a chance to undo a mistake that somehow became state law. No one should have to worry about being accidentally shot by their neighbors using a backyard shooting range. Stray bullet shootings, unfortunately, are a problem in the “Gunshine” State.

Filed by State Rep. Katherine Waldron, D-Wellington, HB 259 would make it a first-degree misdemeanor in a residential community for a firearm discharge that fails to remain within the shooter’s property. A maximum fine and jail time, $1,000 and a year respectively doesn’t sound like much. However, given the zealotry of Florida’s gun rights enthusiasts, a law keeping discharged bullets on the property in which they were fired amounts to a big step. State lawmakers should give the legislation serious consideration and pass it.

“It’s a property rights bill,” Waldron told the Post Editorial Board in explaining her legislation. “You should have a right to be safe on your own property. I can’t imagine living like that.”

Waldron took on the issue after a constituent in her district was shot by a .45-caliber bullet while checking on horses housed on the woman’s property. Nicole Adams was fortunate. The bullet had lost much of its velocity, resulting in a graze instead of something more serious.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigating the shooting found assault rifles in an adjacent nursery where target shooters had been practicing. When Adams complained to the property owner, she said she was told: “Go f… yourselves.” The deputies didn’t fare much better. They could only urge the property owners to shoot their bullets into a berm, nothing more.


Now, I’m a gun rights guy. I don’t favor any law restricting our right to keep and bear arms, and if you’ve got the property to shoot on, the only problem I have with you doing so is jealousy.

But if you’re not going to act responsibly, this kind of thing is going to happen. A law like this is going to get passed sooner or later and that’s if you’re lucky.

It could be one trying to ban you shooting on your property at all.

Look, this is basic responsibility, folks. People in Florida, despite the whole “Florida Man” thing, are just as capable of acting responsibly as the rest of us. Basic common sense regarding using a firearm comes into play. The Four Rules include knowing what is beyond your target.

That shouldn’t be the neighbor’s horse barn.

I know Florida is flat and doesn’t have a ton of natural hills or anything, so it’s not like there are hills to shoot into, but that doesn’t negate one’s responsibility to make sure your round doesn’t leave your property.

And if people can’t do that there, then a law like this is going to pass. If not now then later when there’s an incident with more than enough outrage created–say, a young child being shot and killed by a stray bullet–and there’s no choice in the matter anymore.


It doesn’t have to be that way. Act responsibly if you want to be treated like a responsible gun owner.

And, frankly, if the report of how the property owner reacted are correct, a little courtesy wouldn’t be amiss, either.

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