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Backyard gun range bill gets go-ahead

Then it's Christine's turn to show her competency in handling and firing the gun safely.
Then it's Christine's turn to show her competency in handling and firing the gun safely.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Trying to address issues such as backyard gun ranges, a Senate panel Tuesday approved a bill (SB 130) that would put restrictions on people who recreationally fire weapons in residential areas.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee unanimously approved the measure, which Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, filed for the 2016 legislative session.

A staff analysis pointed to reports about people constructing gun ranges in their backyards, with neighbors being concerned for safety.

The bill would prevent people from recreationally firing guns in areas with residential densities of one or more dwelling unit per acre.

It would include some exemptions, including an exemption added Tuesday to make clear people would not be prosecuted for accidentally firing weapons.

The bill also was unanimously approved last month by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

A similar House bill (HB 41), sponsored by Rep. Neal Combee, R-Polk City, and Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, is scheduled to go before the House Local and Federal Affairs Committee on Wednesday.