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
A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

News  

Monday, November 11, 2019

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

Former Texas Congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke abandoned his run for President last week, once again leaving a void for the most strident anti-gun candidate seeking the Democrat nomination. Even before declaring his candidacy for President, ...

New Hampshire: Firearm Seizure Bill Headed to House Floor

Thursday, October 31, 2019

New Hampshire: Firearm Seizure Bill Headed to House Floor

On October 30th, the New Hampshire state Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee sent House Bill 687 to the House floor for further consideration after a motion to kill the bill failed by a vote ...

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

Friday, September 20, 2019

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

On September 19th, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Representative Melissa Sargent (D-48), and Senator Lena Taylor (D-4) held a press conference calling on the Legislature to violate the Second Amendment by: 1) ...

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

News  

Gun Laws  

Monday, November 11, 2019

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Tremp In recent weeks, gun owners have been given two prime examples of just how important strong firearms preemption laws are to the vibrant exercise of Second Amendment rights. On October ...

Bloomberg’s Gun Control Apparatus Lies to Virginia’s Firearm Owners in Election Mailing

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bloomberg’s Gun Control Apparatus Lies to Virginia’s Firearm Owners in Election Mailing

Here’s a hint for Virginia gun owners and sportsmen: When you get a firearm-related election mailing with a New York City return address and proudly proclaiming that it’s printed on soy ink, you can safely ...

NRA Statement on 2019 Election  Results

News  

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

NRA Statement on 2019 Election Results

The National Rifle Association released the following statement on the 2019 election results: "As if Gov. Northam’s legacy of ineptitude wasn’t enough, Virginians are about to experience life under a distant tycoon’s thumb."

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

Photo Courtesy of Silencer Shop On October 28th, the National Hearing Conservation Association sent its new position paper on firearms suppressors to the American Suppressor Association. The paper, in short, recognizes the important role that ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

NRA Member spotlight: Meet the Man Who Helped Turn an Anti-Gun Townhall into a Pro-gun Rally

News  

Monday, October 28, 2019

NRA Member spotlight: Meet the Man Who Helped Turn an Anti-Gun Townhall into a Pro-gun Rally

At a townhall meeting in Michigan this month, Congresswoman Haley Stevens appeared to lose control when the NRA came up and began emotionally screaming, “The NRA has got to go! The NRA has got to go!” ...

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.