New Florida Laws Address Gun Ranges, Gun-Owner Database

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

( - A Second Amendment group is congratulating Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for signing two bill that protect the interests of gun owners.

One bill prevents police from keeping a database of law-abiding gun owners. Such lists amount to "de factor gun registration," said the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).

Under the law, police and government agencies could be fined up to $5 million for maintaining an electronic database of gun owners. The law provides a "reasonable exemption" for creating such a list if it is part of a criminal investigation, CCRKBA noted.

"There is no sensible reason for a police agency to maintain a list of law-abiding firearms owners, who have committed no crime and are not suspects in a crime," said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron.

"This new state law will provide one more layer of security for the privacy of law-abiding gun owners in Florida," he added. "Henceforth, without legitimate cause, the identities of private citizens who exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms will not be available to police or government bureaucrats who might exploit that information for their own political agendas."

Gun range immunity

Governor Bush also signed legislation giving the owners of gun ranges immunity from lead clean-up lawsuits. Such lawsuits would be financially devastating for gun range owners, CCRKBA said.

The law Gov. Bush signed on Thursday will set up environmental guidelines for gun range owners to follow so they can minimize lead contamination on and near their property.

"Anti-gunners will not be able to litigate a gun range into bankruptcy as a means of shutting down the range," Waldron said. "At the same time, responsible range operators will now have a set of protocols for keeping their ranges clean."