Friday, October 10, 2008

Guns: Public Range Musings (alternate post title: What is Free has no Value)

There are a couple of free public rifle ranges near Gainesville. Both are fairly far away, though - there's a rifle range in Lake City, and another in the Ocala National Forest. I've only been to the Lake City one, but what I saw there was instructive.

The first thing you notice when you walk towards the range are holes. Bullet holes. In everything. The concrete range walls, the bathroom stalls - hell, even the sign out in the front of the facility has - or has had - holes in it. It's a dirty thing, human nature; apparently, when no one's around, people think they have license to act like idiots.

The range has only a few rules about what you can fire - no tracers, no shotguns. Machine guns are permitted, as well as exploding Tannerite targets. You'd think that'd be fun enough for people, right? Until some jackass shooting tracers lights half the woods behind the berm on fire, and my friends have to haul water to put out the flames.

And it's not even a large number of people causing the trouble. The range has a lot of good folks caring for it, and most shooters do follow the rules. But if there was ever a case of a few bad apples spoiling the barrel, this is it.

Shooting at a private range might be a bit more solitary and dull to some folks, but it's sure as heck safer.


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