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Put Away Your Glocks, Backyardigans:
Gov. Scott Signs Bill Banning Urban Gun Play

| February 24, 2016

backyard gun target practice florida

Not in more urban backyards anymore. (Tracy Rhodes)

Surrounded by a group of police chiefs, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a measure dubbed the “backyard range” bill, intended to restrict the recreational discharge of a firearm in certain residential areas.

The proposal was one of nine that Scott signed into law Wednesday.

The backyard range measure (SB 130) prohibits the recreational discharge of a firearm outdoors, including for target shooting or celebratory shooting, in primarily residential areas with a density of one or more dwelling units per acre. (That includes Palm Coast, Flagler Beach and Bunnell.) A violation would be a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The bill, which goes into effect immediately, was backed by the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Robert Hardwick said the legislation will ensure “residential areas are better protected from people using firearms irresponsibly and unlawfully.”

A Senate staff analysis of the bill pointed to reports about people constructing gun ranges in their backyards, with neighbors being concerned for safety. Law enforcement officials complained that they were hamstrung because their lawyers found the state statute barring “recklessly or negligently” discharging a firearm to be “subjective and vague.”

Scott’s signature Wednesday comes nearly five years after the governor signed into law a measure that voided all local firearms restrictions.

The “backyard range” issue received heightened attention in June 2014 when the Comedy Channel’s “Colbert Report” did a satirical piece on a Big Pine Key resident who legally set up a makeshift side-yard shooting range using a state law, created in 1987, regarding shooting on private property.

Scott also signed a measure (SB 228) Wednesday that would remove aggravated assault from a list of offenses that lead to people being sentenced under the 10-20-Life mandatory-minimum sentencing law. Scott said he signed the bill because it was supported by the law enforcement community and “made sense.”

A third bill (SB 158) signed Wednesday would allow people with lifetime fishing or hunting licenses, or boater-safety identification cards, to have a symbol added to their driver licenses displaying that lifetime status. The addition of the symbol, when a driver’s license is issued or renewed, would come with a $1 fee.

Both of those measures go into effect on July 1.

Other bills signed Wednesday (SB 182) would extend several public-records exemptions involving financial “trade secret” information, while a related proposal (SB 180) would make theft of trade-secret financial information a third-degree felony. Those laws go into effect on Oct. 1.

Four other measures signed by Scott Wednesday (SB 1030, SB 1032, SB 1038 and SB 1040) involve technical changes to state statutes.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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8 Responses for “Put Away Your Glocks, Backyardigans:
Gov. Scott Signs Bill Banning Urban Gun Play”

  1. Cold Bill says:

    Just one more “strong arm” hold on the 2nd Amendment. I created a ice bullet that is fired from a air canister. No ballistic trace….And I shoot it in my backyard EVERY day !!!!

  2. tulip says:

    At last, Gov Scott did something right! I absolutely agree that no firearms should be allowed to be shot off in people’s yards. The houses are way to close for that activity and puts the homeowner, family and pets in harm’s way.

  3. Geezer says:

    Imagine your children outside playing while your next-door neighbor,
    Cletus Dingleberry (the guy with the dirty overalls) is firing off shots at
    squirrels or crows in his yard.

    Skeletor finally signed a good bill – hell hath indeed frozen over.

  4. confidential says:

    I had even to deal with target shooting in my street…also in the center of PC. Do BB or pellet guns are included? What about arrow target practicing in the same type residential backyards?
    Finally some common sense from Scott! Thank you Governor. Maybe the first steps to stop this ridiculous weapons to all including mentally ill. This is why the mass murders statistics keep going up since 1969! Thanks to the NRA and its fanatic sympathizers:

  5. Outsider says:

    Under the former rules, the bullets could not leave your yard, so shooting at squirrels or birds would not have been permissible.

  6. Blah, Blah, Blah says:

    There has been laws on the books about shooting in residential areas so this is nothing new. it is just a way of expanding what is already in existence to those who may not live in city limits or residential areas who do now have more than one acre of land. This is the first step….gun rights are going to be taken away slowly…..if we let them.

  7. Anonymous says:

    confidential says:
    February 25, 2016 at 8:46 am
    I had even to deal with target shooting in my street…also in the center of PC. Do BB or pellet guns are included? What about arrow target practicing in the same type residential backyards?

    I would think not as they are NOT firearm’s.

  8. BobbyD says:

    Does this law apply to Daytona North (The Mondex)? I was out there today and it was like a war zone..

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