Florida 'Stray Bullet' Bill Clears First Hurdle

AP Photo/Wilson Ring

The first rule of gun safety is to know your target and what’s beyond that target. You’re responsible for every round you fire, whether at the range or in self-defense. It’s the reason I’ll argue in favor of expanding ammunition until my dying breath.


A stray bullet is a dangerous thing. You know it. I know it. Anyone with a lick of sense knows it.

Yet in Florida, some jackwagons have decided to live up to the “Florida Man” stereotype and not do any of that. They’ve shot without any kind of backstop, which wouldn’t be the end of the world except the rounds didn’t stay on their property.

And yes, people have been injured, though not severely thankfully. How long will that continue, though?

A Florida bill seeks to punish those who aren’t careful, and it just cleared its first hurdle.

Legislation that would make it illegal to shoot a firearm over or through someone else’s property in Florida has cleared its first hurdle.

Senate Criminal Justice committee gave Senate Bill 270 the nod Tuesday to legislation Democrats are touting as a property rights bill. The bill’s sponsor, Boynton Beach Democratic Sen. Lori Berman, said she wants to keep property owners safe and out of harm’s way.

“Just as people have the right to fire guns on their property, people who are on their own property should have the right to be safe,” said Berman.


Some pro-gun groups are less than thrilled with the bill, saying people have a right to shoot in their backyards.

I agree, people should be able to do so as long as they can do it in a safe way. Taking steps to avoid stray  bullets flying off your property just seems prudent even without a law.

If the bill is too restrictive, then that needs to be addressed. I’ve read the bill, though, and I’m not sure that it is particularly restrictive.

All the bill does is say that if you fire a round that you know will leave your property, thus becoming a stray bullet, and ends up on someone else’s, you’re guilty of trespassing. Let’s remember that this bill came about because someone was, in fact, struck with such a round. That’s something that needed to be addressed and from my layman’s point of view, this bill does just that.

I’ll be happy to see the debate on this and if it turns out my reading is wrong, I’ll admit it and move on.

Yet I will point out that if shooters took care with their backyard ranges, no one would have even considered a law like this.


Understand that I don’t like seeing bills like this. However, if people aren’t taking care in where their rounds are likely to end up, states are going to step in and offer up bills that will address it for them. If you don’t want something like this, then do all you can to make sure people who are shooting on their property are doing is in a safe way.

It’s just that simple.

Stray bullets can kill. It doesn’t matter if it’s from an irresponsibly setup range on someone’s property or from celebratory gunfire shot up into the air. Know where your round is going and where it’s likely to end up.

We shouldn’t have to see a law to deal with what should actually be good sense.

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