92ºF

Senators seek to curb backyard gun ranges

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. – A Senate committee Thursday unanimously approved a proposal aimed at preventing people from shooting guns at backyard ranges in residential areas.

The vote by the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee readied the bill (SB 130) to go to the Senate floor during the 2016 session, which starts in January.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, would make it a first-degree misdemeanor for people to intentionally shoot guns in outdoor areas that are "primarily residential in nature" and include one or more residences per acre.

Ponce Inlet Police Chief Frank Fabrizio, who represented the Florida Police Chiefs Association at the committee meeting, said the bill addresses situations such as people using wooden palettes and dirt to fashion backyard gun ranges.

"This legislation clarifies the law without compromising the Second Amendment rights,'' Fabrizio said.

Committee Chairwoman Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said the bill also could help address problems with people shooting guns into the air during celebrations of events such as New Year's Eve.