Monday , 22 December 2014
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Legislators, is a bazooka in the backyard okay?

Thanks to our fabulous Florida Legislature we can, unobstructed by county or municipal government protestations, build and use a gun range in our back yard.

First, let me thank our esteemed legislators for limiting the shooting to the backyard. Heaven forbid a person might get hurt from a ricocheted bullet if someone was shooting from behind his or her mailbox.

Live in Coral Gables? Going to paint your home? Visit city hall and select a color from the pallet of colors so you blend into the community. No bright pink please!

Live in Miami Shores? Want to plant a vegetable garden in the front yard? Sorry, municipal ordinance limits such ugly things to the backyard. Ditto, Orlando has an ordinance that prohibits vegetable gardens in the front yard.

But, thanks again to our elected officials in Tallahassee you can have a gun range in your backyard and, if a local government official tries to stop you they can, by Florida law, be fined $5,000 and removed from office, personally bearing the cost of any legal action taken by the community at his or her direction.

When did this all happen? Florida statute 790.15 was passed by our legislature in 2011 and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. Statute 790.15 requires all counties and municipalities to remove from their books any ordinances that relate to gun ranges on private property. By the way, the law is restrictive — you cannot fire over a right-of-way of any paved public road, highway or street. You can’t fire over any occupied dwelling and you can’t (can you believe this) shoot recklessly or negligently. Now that’s really restrictive!

The next time you see a political campaign sign promoting the reelection of a state legislator you can more than likely thank the gun manufacture’s financial support of the National Rifle Association, for their political contributions to the elected officials’ reelection campaign funds. Where is the AARP?

I can hear it now: “Hey, guys, let’s have another beer and go fire off a few rounds in the backyard. That way I wouldn’t have to drive to the gun range in the morning and pay a big fat fee. What, my neighbors? Don’t worry about them. Their kids should be in the house sleeping. It’s midnight; that’s where kids belong.”

Thank heaven I live in a condo. I can sleep at night. Wait, might we have a “backyard” someplace in the common area? Maybe back by the swimming pool? We know the guys at the gate wouldn’t be permitted to stop the shooting if we build our condo gun range.

Golly, and a guard knocked on our door at 10:01 in the evening the other Saturday and said someone in one of the adjacent units complained about the loud music. It’s amazing. By law we are permitted to control the volume of music from a neighbor but we can’t stop the guy next door from shooting his or her gun in the backyard. What about a bazooka?

I think I have a solution. A silencer. That will settle the whole problem wouldn’t it? A silencer will keep the noise down. We can worry about flying bullets when someone is hit. I am going to recommend the front gate keeps a first aid kit on hand when and if we build that gun range back by the swimming pool. Do you think a first aid kit will be enough?

This is serious. Every one of us should write, call, text, email our representatives in Tallahassee and say, “Come on guys — this is just going too far. Kill that law now, or you will not be returning to Tallahassee come reelection time.”

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