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
Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

News  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

Last Thursday, a federal judge in Austin, Texas, dismissed a lawsuit by several professors who sought to block the University of Texas from implementing a state law that provides for the lawful carrying of concealed ...

California: Anti-Gun Bills to be Heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, July 19

Monday, July 17, 2017

California: Anti-Gun Bills to be Heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, July 19

On Wednesday, July 19, anti-gun bills SB 464 and SB 497 are scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee at 9AM in State Capitol room 4202.  Assembly Bill 424 remains eligible for third ...

CMP Sales of 1911s One Step Closer With House Passage of 2018 NDAA

Friday, July 14, 2017

CMP Sales of 1911s One Step Closer With House Passage of 2018 NDAA

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. Included in the bill is a provision that would make U.S. Army surplus 1911 .45 ACP ...

The Danger Of A “Not In My Backyard” Mentality On Shooting Ranges

News  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Danger Of A “Not In My Backyard” Mentality On Shooting Ranges

Muscatine County, Iowa, is home to about 40,000 people, and like too many places around the country, gun owners there have no public range where they can practice or compete safely. That may be changing, ...

Gun Control Groups: Good at Gloating, Bad at Counting on Advancing National Reciprocity Effort

Friday, July 14, 2017

Gun Control Groups: Good at Gloating, Bad at Counting on Advancing National Reciprocity Effort

Apparently, Michael Bloomberg is good at counting money but not so good at counting votes. This week, Breitbart reported that Everytown for Gun Safety, Michael Bloomberg’s gun ban conglomerate, was claiming a “win” for congressional ...

Run, Hide, Perish – Survival Do’s and Don’ts from Across the Pond

News  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Run, Hide, Perish – Survival Do’s and Don’ts from Across the Pond

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advises persons at risk of harm from an active shooter to “Run, Hide, Fight” (in that order), recommending “fight” – incapacitating or “attempt[ing] to take the active ...

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.

California: DOJ Releases Proposed Regulations Regarding Ammunition Vendor Licensing

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

California: DOJ Releases Proposed Regulations Regarding Ammunition Vendor Licensing

On Friday, July 14th, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms (“DOJ”) claims to have released its anticipated proposed regulations for the issuance of ammunition vendor licenses.  Under the Administrative Procedure Act, a government ...

Commerce Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson Steers Pro-Gun Spending Bill to House Floor

Friday, July 14, 2017

Commerce Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson Steers Pro-Gun Spending Bill to House Floor

On Thursday, the House Committee on Appropriations approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, which funds various federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, for the next year. The bill ...

California: Help Save Cordova Shooting Center

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

California: Help Save Cordova Shooting Center

Tomorrow, July 19, the Cordova Recreation and Park District (CRPD) Board of Directors are scheduled to vote on the future of the Cordova Shooting Center. 

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.