Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Real Journalism: Reporter Uncovers Wrongdoing at Florida’s Most Popular Public Range

Friday, June 26, 2015

Real Journalism: Reporter Uncovers Wrongdoing at Florida’s Most Popular Public Range

Investigative journalist Lee Williams and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune should be congratulated for their work in uncovering an alleged gross misappropriation of funds at the most popular public shooting range in Florida.

The article, published Wednesday and titled “State gun range officials pocketed funds meant for charity,” outlines a disturbing account of two range officials at the Cecil M. Webb Shooting Range, run by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, using their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of Florida’s shooters. According to Williams, these range employees were arranging for the spent brass collected at the facility to be processed by metal recyclers, with the proceeds ending up in their personal coffers. This was no small sum, as Williams notes that the range has 100,000 visitors a year, who leave a veritable mountain of profitable brass.

This practice went on for several years undisturbed. However, in 2012 assistant general counsel for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission made clear to one of the offending range officials that the revenue from the brass collected at the range belonged to the state. Despite this direction, documents obtained by Williams suggest the practice continued.

The revenue from brass collected at Webb is supposed to be allocated for the Florida Youth Hunt Program.   In fact, this wasn’t a mystery to shooters at the range.  Barrels used for collection of spent brass have signs on them telling shooters that proceeds would benefit the Youth Hunt Program.   

For his article, Williams sought former NRA president and current Executive Director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida Marion Hammer’s thoughts on the alleged misconduct. Hammer explained that these funds should have benefitted youth camps that promote hunting, fishing, and firearms safety. Outraged, Hammer told Williams, “Just think of the improvements we could have made to the existing camps, and we could have built an entire new youth camp somewhere else in Florida with that money,” adding, “Nobody better try to whitewash this, and anything other than prison time is a whitewash.”

Florida’s Youth Hunt is but one example of the countless ways in which the hunting and shooting community continues to serve as the financial backbone of conservation and education programs throughout Florida and the rest of the country.  The most obvious example is the Pittman-Robertson excise tax on firearms and ammunition, which as of 2012 had raised over $8 billion to be used for conservation, education, and wildlife management initiatives benefitting all Americans.  Additionally, revenue from hunting licenses and fees is frequently used to create and maintain public lands used for hunting, wildlife habitat, and other recreational activities.  As gun owners are entrusting these funds to various governments, it remains our duty to ensure that they are being used for their intended purpose. An instance such as the scandal at Cecil M. Webb Shooting Range illustrates the need for gun owners to remain vigilant in the oversight of these funds.

We encourage gun owners to read this important Herald-Tribune story by following this link. Any New York Times or Washington Post employees who happen upon this page might also want to check out Williams’ article; they might learn something about what honest investigative reporting is supposed to look like.

TRENDING NOW
NRA Wins Lawsuit in Washington State, Prevents I-1639 From Appearing on Ballot

News  

Friday, August 17, 2018

NRA Wins Lawsuit in Washington State, Prevents I-1639 From Appearing on Ballot

The Thurston County Superior Court today ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association and ordered a writ of mandamus to prevent I-1639 from appearing on the ballot. The judge agreed the signature sheets did ...

Outrage of the Week: Shopify Targets America's Guns

News  

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Outrage of the Week: Shopify Targets America's Guns

Hundreds of firearms retailers may have to close soon because a powerful Canadian tech company, Shopify, recently decided it was anti-gun and issued an ultimatum: Do business our way or not at all.

No NRA Members Need Apply

News  

Friday, August 17, 2018

No NRA Members Need Apply

Like most people, we understand that educational institutions and staff tend to lean left. The degree and intensity of the bend varies across universities, but a leftward orientation is actually expected today. We’re aware that ...

Fake Blues: The Media’s Worst Enemy Isn’t the President, It’s Themselves

News  

Friday, August 17, 2018

Fake Blues: The Media’s Worst Enemy Isn’t the President, It’s Themselves

On Thursday, over 300 media outlets joined in a coordinated effort to push back against President Donald Trump. That will hardly come as a shock to many Americans, as it seems mainstream news organizations have done little ...

Canada: Montreal to Endorse Nationwide Handgun Ban, Police Content with Current Laws

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, August 17, 2018

Canada: Montreal to Endorse Nationwide Handgun Ban, Police Content with Current Laws

Politicians from the largest city in the Canadian gun control stronghold of Quebec plan to put their weight behind a raft of severe gun restrictions next week. According to a report from Radio Canada International, the Montreal City ...

King County Unveils “Common Sense” Action Plan: Ban “Semi-automatic, High Velocity Weapons”

News  

Friday, August 10, 2018

King County Unveils “Common Sense” Action Plan: Ban “Semi-automatic, High Velocity Weapons”

In a July 23rd op-ed, Joe McDermott, the Council Chair of King County, Washington, introduced a multi-prong “King County Gun Safety Action Plan” aimed at reducing gun violence.

Shopify Targets Law-Abiding Firearm Businesses

Gun Laws  

News  

Friday, August 17, 2018

Shopify Targets Law-Abiding Firearm Businesses

This week, Canadian e-commerce host Shopify changed their company’s firearm policy with disastrous effects for law-abiding U.S. gun businesses that use their e-commerce services. Shopify’s abrupt overnight decision to block the sale of specific firearms ...

Divided Appeals Panel Upholds California Ban on Post-2013 Pistols

News  

Friday, August 10, 2018

Divided Appeals Panel Upholds California Ban on Post-2013 Pistols

Imagine if California, to combat what the legislature considered the serious problem of manmade global warming, required all new vehicles sold by car dealers in the state to run on grass clippings, rather than fossil ...

NoFundMe: NRA Protest March Nets $70 in National Fundraising Effort

News  

Friday, August 10, 2018

NoFundMe: NRA Protest March Nets $70 in National Fundraising Effort

Crowd funding is a relatively recent innovation that allows a person or cause to leverage the vast reach of the Internet to raise money for virtually every imaginable purpose. Even small donations of a few ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

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.