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Florida Protects Shooting Ranges From Dangerous Lawsuits

Thursday, April 22, 2004

FAIRFAX, VA -- After overwhelming support in the Florida Legislature, National Rifle Association (NRA) backed legislation (SB 1156) to stop government lawsuits against shooting ranges is headed to Governor Jeb Bush`s desk. The Governor has stated that he will sign this bill into law. SB 1156 passed both houses by a better than 2 to 1 margin.

"This bill protects shooting ranges, but it also protects the environment," said former NRA president and current board member Marion Hammer. "This law will stop damaging lawsuits by state agencies, protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, and encourage environmental clean-up of shooting facilities. On behalf of the thousands of Florida gun owners and NRA members, I want to thank supporters in the Legislature and Governor Bush for acting to save the state`s shooting facilities. I also want to recognize the efforts of Sen. Durell Peaden, Rep. Dennis Baxley, Speaker Johnnie Byrd, and Senate President Jim King."

SB 1156 prevents government lawsuits as long as ranges make a good faith effort to exercise sound environmental management practices. Government employees who proceed with such a lawsuit in violation of the act will now be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.

"Shooting ranges are owned and operated by lawful businessmen and women who work to improve the environment and avoid contamination," added Chris W. Cox, NRA`s chief lobbyist. "I want to commend Marion Hammer for her diligence and dedication to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the entire shooting sports industry in Florida."

"It was vital to protect these lawful establishments from malicious state agency lawsuits that could ultimately force them out of business," added Hammer. "SB 1156 will help ensure that Florida`s firearm ranges will continue to serve law-abiding gun owners."

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The 133-year-old National Rifle Association is the nation`s oldest civil rights group, and advocates enforcement of existing laws to prosecute and punish violent criminals. The NRA is the leader in teaching gun safety and promoting marksmanship. The Association has approximately four million members across America.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.