GUN RANGE ISSUE ADVANCES - Mitch Perry

02/17/04

Legislation continuing to move in the Florida Senate would make gun ranges IMMUNE from existing lawsuits brought by environmental regulators.

The measure would shift cleanup costs to the state. The issue is extremely disliked by the environmental community, who say it endangers public safety and may violate federal clean water requirements.

Under the new proposal, any existing lawsuits by state or local government agencies against gun ranges MUST be withdrawn, including the lawsuit that led to the bill.

The Skyway Gun Club in Pinellas County is being sued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which owns the adjacent land and says it's worried about lead pollution in a lake where children fish.

But the National Rifle Association says the water district and the state DEP use cleanup lawsuits to harass gun ranges.

Phil Compton is the Program Manager for the Florida Consumer Action Network. He met with medical officials today at the Skyway Trap and Skeet shooting Club- across from Sawgrass Lake to discuss the existing legislation, and spoke with WMNF afterwards (roll tape# 1 o.q". .here in Florida")

According to a pending lawsuit, shooters at Skyway Skeet Club contaminated Sawgrass Lake with lead pollution as a result of firing lead bullets over the water and the adjacent grounds.....The suit claims that an individual case of lead pollution clean-up caused by shooters can cost more than a million dollars each.

The pending legislation in the Senate and House would make ALL shooting ranges in Florida immune from paying the cleanup costs of lead pollution and contaminants. More on the bill from FCAN's Phil Compton (roll tape#2 o.q."and clean up the environment")

The National Rifle Association's lobbyist in Tallahassee, Marion Hammer, is a powerhouse whose membership carries considerable clout in the state capitol. But FCAN's Phil Compton says the issue has NOTHING to do with 2nd Amendment rights or restricting the use of guns whatsoever (roll tape#3 o.q."the state taxpayers")

And Compton urges listeners to call their state representatives in the House and Senate if they're concerned about the issue, because the bill will come up in front of both houses this coming Legislative session.

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