Something’s in the water in central Florida. There’s been a spate of suicides at gun ranges in the greater Orlando area. And one range in particular has been the site of three incidents…
A man walked into the Shoot Straight range in suburban Casselberry yesterday, rented a gun and shot himself. Shoot Straight was also the site of a much-publicized murder-suicide in April of 2009 when a mother shot her son and then herself.
Three weeks later, apparently taking a cue from the earlier incident, another mentally disturbed man committed suicide at Shoot Straight in the same manner prompting the range to suspend gun rentals until, as the range’s attorney said, “until the state lets gun ranges conduct background checks on customers.”
Background checks probably wouldn’t have prevented any of these shootings. Federal databases can’t look into the hearts and minds of renters standing on the other side of a rental counter. And while convicted felons can’t own firearms, is there a prohibition against renting one at a range?
It seems that after the world-wide publicity the mother-son shooting caused, at least some of the subsequent shootings were probably copycat incidents. Which doesn’t minimize their tragedy. At all.
The fact remains, though, that a determined suicidal individual will find a way. Gun rental is just one option. That it happens so infrequently at gun ranges – central Florida excepted – only proves the point.