October 1, 2011
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Albany: The state of Florida has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for passing HB 45, which guts the ability of municipalities to impose noise standards on gun usage. The law, which took effect October 1, 2011, makes all local gun laws null and void. It also threatens a $5,000 fine and removal from office for any local official who tries to enforce a local gun ordinance.
Because of the Florida state legislature’s action, property owners in Florida are no longer protected from gunfire noise. Local officials cannot restrict the excessive, intrusive noise from guns even if they wanted to. Florida residents are now subject to the crackling sound of gunfire any time of the day or night.
According to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, in early October, “Sandy Dziak and her husband were riding horses on their 20-acre property in Lake County where they were jolted by an explosion. ‘We heard what sounded like a cannon,’ Dziak said. ‘And then we heard rounds whizzing over our heads.'”
The gun user was target shooting on his property. However, the bullets were traveling thousands of feet, “flying onto and over the Dziak’s property.” The Dziaks approached the shooter and asked, “Are you trying to kill us?”
The gun owner responded that he was “within his rights and there was nothing they could do about it.”
Unfortunately, it turned out that the noisemaker was correct, because of HB 45, signed into law in July by Florida Governor Rick Scott. In September, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi stated that under section 790.33 of the Florida Statutes, “a county may not regulate the recreational discharge of firearms in residentially zoned areas when the discharge is not on a ‘shooting range,’ but merely recreational shooting on private property.”
Florida’s new gun law is a threat to public safety and the right to peace and quiet. “It’s a life-threatening situation,” Mrs. Dziak said. “And it isn’t just the bullets. It’s also the noise. I had a horse rear up and fall back on one of our trainers. And horse bolted on me.”
In spite of being told that Florida’s new state law prohibited Lake County officials from helping her, Mrs. Dziak continued to call the police, begging for help with her noise problem. The police told that “that if she kept calling, they’d have to arrest her for harassing her neighbor.”
Mrs. Dziak stated that she now has to figure out when her “neighbor” was at work so that she could schedule her horse training and exercise during brief moments of silence. She concluded, “What they’ve created is a situation where it’s a living hell for any person who lives next to somebody who has a gun.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, commented that “the National Rifle Association and other noisemakers constantly boast about their ‘rights.’ There is no right to make noise. Everyone has a right to peace and quiet, especially on their own property. The Florida state legislature’s decision to strip the ability of local jurisdictions to impose noise standards on gun usage is outrageous. Florida is becoming the Wild, Wild West.”
Noise Free America is a national non-profit organization devoted to noise reduction. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Florida Marlins; the Sarasota, Florida ACLU; and the city of Tampa.