Just this past February, Governor Rick Scott signed into law Senate Bill 130 which restricts backyard shooting ranges. Under the new law, backyard gun ranges are prohibited if the population density is greater than one house per acre.
While this put an end to people setting up backyard gun ranges in most neighborhoods, it created a gray area that is coming to light in a Lake County neighborhood.
Residents in the 44 Gables subdivision in Eustis, which are on less than an acre each, are complaining that the new law does not address a problem they are facing with a neighboring gun range. However, the gun range is located at a home on several acres that is just outside the subdivision and in the county.
The new law provides little comfort to the residents of the subdivision, especially those home that back up to the gun range.
Jonas Morgan, the gun range owner, is a certified NRA Instructor and owns Morgan’s Gun Vault in Leesburg. Morgan said the range is faced away from homes and that his berm, a mound that stops the bullets, is built to NRA standards. Further, he claims to only shoot three or four times per week.
Morgan’s range faces an unpaved road with a large orange grove on the other side. However, the back side of his home is bordered by nine single-family homes in the Gables subdivision. While there are some tall trees and fences to mitigate the noise, residents have recorded the sound of gunfire from blocks away, saying it’s not a safety issue, but rather one of noise.
The neighbors have sought to stop the activity at the gun range by way of a noise abatement or complaint.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports being called to the gun range 17 times in the last year. However, according to the Sheriff’s Department, the rule and laws do not consider the noise from gunfire. The department has asked for an opinion from State Attorney Pam Bondi on the issue, citing the need for clarification of the law.
We have previously reported on this new law.