Gun range guy backs off plans to shoot at target in his yard

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click to enlarge The illustrious (and now defunct, we hope) "target." - Change.org
Change.org
The illustrious (and now defunct, we hope) "target."

So remember earlier this week we reported on a 21-year-old St. Petersburg man determined to shoot guns at a pile of sand in his yard, which happens to be within the family-heavy Lakewood Estates area?

Well, he has relinquished, as of Wednesday afternoon.

And all it took was a international media attention, a petition with 2,000 signatures, scorn from local media and a free membership to a public shooting range brokered by radio morning talk show host Mike Calta to convince Joey Carannante to back off his plan.
But while many in the neighborhood as well as city and county officials say they consider it a victory, the fact that Carannante really didn't have to pay attention to the pressure (because having a gun range in your yard is LEGAL in Florida), has a lot of people concerned.

"While our neighborhood breathes a sigh of relief, residential gun ranges remain a threat to all families and citizens of Florida," Patrick Leary, a Lakewood Estates resident, said in a press release local activist Lorraine Margeson posted to Facebook. "Until the law is changed by legislators at the state level and signed by Governor Scott we, and we urge all Floridians to keep pressing."

The call to outlaw homemade outdoor gun ranges in residential areas comes from both sides of the aisle. State Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Pete, was quick to come out in opposition to the Lakewood Estates one. Democratic Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, who lives nearby, was also active in getting the thing shut down.

But outlawing home gun ranges means changing state law.

If you'll recall, Stephen Colbert did a piece on a man in Big Pine Key in June of last year who build a target in his side yard, near "one of the most heavily trafficked canals" on the island, who would practice while his neighbors were outside, using his octogenarian parents as lookouts for boaters. He cited a law Florida legislators passed in 2011 that prevents local governments from restricting firearm use.

The concerned Lakewood Estates residents are now trying to push lawmakers to pass a bill that would specifically "prohibit by law the creation or use of outdoor gun ranges in all land zones primarily for residential use and within 500 feet from any occupied dwelling, including off hours when residents or employees may not be present." 

Find that petition here.

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