Shooting Ranges And Public Health in FL.


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ysr_racer
December 16, 2003, 03:45 PM
http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artikkel?SearchID=73156556248487&Avis=LL&Dato=20031215&Kategori=NEWS&Lopenr=312150312&Ref=AR



Shooting Ranges And Public Health

Published Monday, December 15, 2003

Gun range owners do not have a constitutional right to poison our land and water with lead, despite what lobbyists say. One of the effects of prolonged exposure to lead, a toxic substance, is said to be reduced intelligence. On the basis of the evidence, then, we can only conclude that state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, must have been spending too much time hanging around gun ranges -- breathing deeply and perhaps drinking the well water.

Baxley, a funeral director in private life, has determined that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution affords gun range owners the right to pollute the soil, air and groundwater with impunity. And he wants to pass a state law to stop the the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from enforcing pollution regulations against any of Florida's 400 or so shooting ranges.

"It is never easy to defend freedom," Baxley sighs, on defending his sop to the National Rifle Association.

Perhaps another aftereffect of lead poisoning is a deeply ingrained sense of paranoia. In the fever-dreams of Baxley and his NRA supporters, the danger of toxic pollution isn't the real threat to the public health and welfare. Rather, the real threat is the "heavy hand of government" reaching out to punish law-abiding gun range owners.

Why? Well, the answer is obvious. Because environmental enforcers have a "politically motivated agenda" to punish gun use, insists NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer, a former president of the national organization.

These would be the same environmental enforcers who work for Gov. Jeb Bush, a politician who is anything but anti-gun. They are the same enforcers who, it's claimed by environmentalists, sometimes have to be prodded into enforcing Florida's pollution laws against industrialists, developers and agribusiness, let alone against gun range operators.

This lead-poisoners-protection bill came about because a gun range in Pinellas County is being sued by its next-door neighbor, which just happens to be the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The district thinks that a small lake, which is part of its environmental education center for children, is possibly being contaminated by lead-laced water runoff from the gun range.

"Children fish on this lake and we've been finding elevated lead levels in fish," William Bilenky, attorney for the district, said this week. "We're not demonizing gun ranges, we just happen to own property next door to one."

The notion that the DEP is engaged in some sort of anti-gun vendetta is not supported by the evidence. Nonetheless, the House Judiciary Committee approved Baxley's lead-poisoners-relief-act last week. It is likely to be one of the first bills to come before the full House when the 2004 regular session begins next spring.

The "public purpose" being served by Baxley's bill is crystal clear: The NRA demands it, and the Florida Legislature is a stooge for the gun lobby. If the state is worried about kids getting lead poisoning, then the answer is obvious: Make the kids stop eating poisoned fish.

Pop quiz:

Question: Why is lead shot no longer used by bird hunters?

Answer: Because lead is a toxic substance that contaminates water, soil and air.

Question: What part of the Second Amendment grants gun range owners the right to poison the water, the fish and our children?

Answer: Ask Rep. Baxley.

This bill is ridiculous. We just hope, for the sake of Florida's children and other living things, that the entire membership of the Legislature hasn't similarly been impaired by the intelligence-lowering effect of lead poisoning.

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dhoomonyou
December 16, 2003, 04:04 PM
a few years now, and I go to the range about once every 2 weeks.

I have noticed no Drain Bamage .....yet.

El Tejon
December 16, 2003, 05:00 PM
O.K., I'll ask, why are they eating and drinking bullets in Florida? And if they are, I'll bet the bullets are served in buffet style.

(Note: I said nothing about voting, not a single word, e.g. "this explains the voting behavior.").:D :D :D

Daedalus
December 16, 2003, 05:26 PM
O h m y g a w d . . .

They do not even have the decency to publish this slanted opinion piece in the editorial section, they put this rant in the local and state section. As a Florida Sportsman (Thats Hunter, Hiker, AND FISHER) I can say that gun range protection really is necessary legislation. The Eco-Nazis in this state are out of control, and unless there is absolute proof that

1. The lead level increase is caused by runoff from a local gun range
2. The lead level is ACTUALLY hazardous
3. There is no way to prevent runoff from reaching the local water area except the closing of the range

There is no need to close gun ranges every time a fish gets a little heavy from an element that is found in nature.

Standing Wolf
December 16, 2003, 07:47 PM
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

thumbtack
December 16, 2003, 07:48 PM
Aren't these the same people who can't read a ballot correctly?

fiVe
December 17, 2003, 02:16 PM
In the Fla panhandle, we know how to count (and how to vote), and we go to the shooting range and shoot to our heart's content with absolutely no remorse! :neener:

Andrew Rothman
December 17, 2003, 04:08 PM
Nice kneejerk reactions.

Lead, folks, is very poisonous.

Yes, it is found in nature. So is arsenic, cadmium and uranium. (Can I mix you a cocktail?) So are rattlesnakes, mountain lions and black widows.

But when we, as humans, start gathering up these dangerous things from where they are, then turn them loose where they will hurt other humans, we are guilty.

If I kept tigers in my back yard, and left big holes in the fence, wouldn't you say I was a public menace? Wouldn't you want my little menagerie to either get a better fence or shut down?

A shooting range is the same thing. You put a ton of lead downrange, the rain washes the lead into the lake, and all of a sudden the fish will kill your brain cells.

It's not about RKBA. It's a very libertarian value: your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Your right to pollute stops at your property line.

This doesn't mean the range has to be shut down. It does probably mean that your range must have features to retain the lead for reclamation. See http://www.oshainfo.gatech.edu/lead/stewardship.pdf or http://www.rangeinfo.org/resource_library/facility_mngmnt/environment/EAofCMofOSR.PDF

It's pretty reasonable. Have big dirt berms. Put a roof over them so that the rain doesn't wash out the lead into your neighborhood water supply. Once in a while, shovel up the dirt and "get the lead out."

Costs money? Sure. What doesn't? The costs are somewhat offset by the money paid to you for the lead.

Simply ignoring the problem and thereby endangering other is just plain selfish and wrong.

TarpleyG
December 18, 2003, 01:45 PM
Mpayne,

I'm right there with you but the fact still remains that this will surely be used as a mechanism to shut down not only the problem sites but ultimately, all of them. That's the way this type of legislation works. Give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile.

GT

TerryBob
December 18, 2003, 02:14 PM
This sounds more like a drainage problem. I bet that a civil engineer can solve the problem with some earthwork, catch basins and/or a little on site retention basin.

TerryBob

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