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
Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1657 by a 7-6 vote.

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Monday, May 22, 2017

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Last week, attorneys on behalf of the NRA filed an amicus brief in Kitsap County v. Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (Kitsap II), the case which challenges Kitsap County’s firearm discharge ban and range licensing scheme.  Kitsap Rifle and ...

Maryland: Governor Hogan Signs Apprentice Hunting Legislation into Law

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Maryland: Governor Hogan Signs Apprentice Hunting Legislation into Law

Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed House Bill 1427 into law.

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Today, May 22, Governor Brian Sandoval signed important pro-gun legislation, Assembly Bill 118, into law.  AB 118, sponsored by Assemblyman Skip Daly, will allow members of the military and those who have received an honorable ...

Kansas: Senate Committee Passes Gun Free Zone Legislation, Again

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kansas: Senate Committee Passes Gun Free Zone Legislation, Again

Last week, the Senate Committee of the Whole referred an amended version of House Bill 2278 back to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

California: AB 424 Passes Assembly - Appropriations Committees to Consider Suspense Items

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

California: AB 424 Passes Assembly - Appropriations Committees to Consider Suspense Items

Friday, May 26th is the deadline for the fiscal committees to pass bills to the floor from the chamber of origin.  On Thursday, May 25, the Senate AppropriationsCommittee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 464 and Senate Bill 497. ...

From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

News  

Friday, May 19, 2017

From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

We have yet to reach Memorial Day, but the fun police have already set their sights on at least one cherished summer childhood activity. In an article for Pupsugar.com, titled, “Why Kids Should Never Play ...

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

The Supreme Court of North Dakota confirmed this week that simply possessing a handgun while on one’s own private property cannot support a finding of "disorderly conduct" under the state’s disorderly conduct restraining order law. ...

California: Draft "Assault Weapon" Regulation Language Now Available

Thursday, May 18, 2017

California: Draft "Assault Weapon" Regulation Language Now Available

Today, May 18, a draft copy of the "Assault Weapon" regulations has been made available

California: Don’t Miss our May 25th Webinar to Discuss the Newest DOJ Draft “Assault Weapons” Regulations

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

California: Don’t Miss our May 25th Webinar to Discuss the Newest DOJ Draft “Assault Weapons” Regulations

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 25, at 12:00 pm (PT), NRA’s legal team will be hosting a free webinar to discuss the recently submitted “assault weapon” regulations.   

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.