Colbert Takes on Florida's Gun Laws and a Keys Man Who Just Likes to Shoot In His Backyard

The most important constituents to Florida Republicans are old people and gun nuts, but what happens when these two groups come in conflict? The Colbert Report dug deep last night on residents of Big Pine Key, hardworking people who just want to enjoy a bit of peace and tranquility without the fear of getting shot, and their gun nut neighbor who insists on firing weapons in his makeshift side yard shooting range.

Colbert introduces us to Doug Varrieur, a "difference maker," who was profiled earlier this year by the Miami Herald. Thanks to a state law that dates all the way back to 1987, Varrieur, and well everyone else in Florida, is allowed to shoot guns on private property with little regulation. The only restrictions: you can't shoot over paved roads or occupied dwellings, and you can't shoot in a way that would be considered "reckless or negligent." No other safety requirements are outlined.

No provision for Floridians who just want to chill out in the Sunshine State without hearing their neighbor shoot off guns all the time is included, either.

Complicating the situation is a 2011 law signed by Governor Rick Scott that declared any local ordinances concerning gun restrictions null and void. Meaning that local leaders don't even have the power to create laws to put stricter requirements on backyard gun ranges.

Varrieur's neighbors are of course upset not only by the noise but also by the threat they could be hit by an off target or ricocheting bullet.

Varrieur's answer: "I don't care."

Palm Beach and Broward meanwhile have joined together in a lawsuit to regain the power to control firearms within their borders.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >