Florida lawmakers to kick in $3 million for NRA-backed gun-plex

Guys, we're pretty sure this isn't what those teenagers were talking about.

An aerial view of the gun range complex, which is currently under construction in a remote part of Palm Beach County. - myfwc.com
An aerial view of the gun range complex, which is currently under construction in a remote part of Palm Beach County.

Some news headlines appear as though they're ripped from The Onion.

The Florida legislature's allocation of $3 million in taxpayer dollars for an NRA-backed South Florida shooting range complex is one of these.

The money (line item 295 here) is helping fund a Palm Beach County facility that's also seeing some financial backing from the National Rifle Association.

Not that there's anything wrong with shooting ranges. They're places where gun enthusiasts can safely observe their Second Amendment right, places that are far away from our back yards, running trails and the beaches we frequent. Cool.

But...the NRA.

In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, which happened to take place in the middle of Florida's legislative session, Florida lawmakers thought it wise to cool it on the NRA love notes.

Well, the overt ones, anyway.

The money will aid in the building of the Palm Beach County Shooting Sports Park, which the Tampa Bay Times notes "will feature five gun ranges and skeet shooting in a remote area of the county."

Again, far from beaches and campgrounds and stuff, though adjacent to the Everglades Youth Conservation Center Camp and the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. Cool, cool, cool...

The state is helping fund the project through Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, while the NRA, Palm Beach County and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida are also chipping in.

Needless to say, this is not the kind of gun legislation all those terrified kids have been talking about.

Since the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland that killed 17 and wounded 15, students from Douglas and other schools have been vocal in their advocacy of a ban on assault-style rifles.

Given the NRA's stranglehold on Florida legislators (well, the Republican ones, anyway), that's probably not going to happen. At least this year. And probably not next year, either, unless the Dems do the impossible in November.

The Florida Senate has postponed debate over a gun reform package by one day due to gun lobby pushback and a spate of Democrat-proposed amendments.


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