Big Pine Key Homeowner Has Gun Range In His Yard,

And It’s Totally Legal





” Near the National Key Deer Refuge in the Lower Keys, on a sleepy street called Mango Lane, retired sheriff’s deputy Huey Gordon checked the waterway behind neighbor Doug Varrieur’s home for boat traffic.

“ All clear?” asked Varrieur, an author of diet cookbooks and owner of rental properties.

“ Yes, sir, you are,” Gordon said.

To which Varrieur replied: “The range is hot.”

  It has been a month since the friends first fired their guns in this makeshift shooting area — surrounded by a chain-link fence, a shiny RV and the canal. The shots sent shockwaves through the neighborhood.

  It became even scarier once the neighbors learned that on Varrieur’s side was a state law on the books since 1987. Varrieur said most gun owners like himself had just assumed they couldn’t shoot in residential neighborhoods.

“ I honestly had hoped no one would catch wind of it and it would become public knowledge,” Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said of the state law that pre-empts local ordinances. “I’m concerned now that people know. This isn’t about the right to own and bear arms. My concern is public safety and quality of life.”

  Ramsay is not the only one who is worried. Since word got out about the legality of Varrieur’s “Gun Day” — he shoots from 3 to 4 p.m. every Wednesday — citizens and lawmakers up and down the island chain have become concerned that gun owners less responsible than Varrieur will begin shooting in their own yards.”




The 2000 Florida Statutes


Title XLVI
Chapter 790 
Weapons And Firearms
View Entire Chapter

790.15  Discharging firearm in public.

(1)  Except as provided in subsection (2) or subsection (3), any person who knowingly discharges a firearm in any public place or on the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or whosoever knowingly discharges any firearm over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over any occupied premises is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. This section does not apply to a person lawfully defending life or property or performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm or to a person discharging a firearm on public roads or properties expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Division of Forestry.

(2)  Any occupant of any vehicle who knowingly and willfully discharges any firearm from the vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3)  Any driver or owner of any vehicle, whether or not the owner of the vehicle is occupying the vehicle, who knowingly directs any other person to discharge any firearm from the vehicle commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

History.–s. 1, ch. 3289, 1881; RS 2683; GS 3626; RGS 5557; CGL 7743; s. 1, ch. 61-334; s. 745, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 78-17; s. 1, ch. 89-157; s. 229, ch. 99-245.

The Miami Herald has the story