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SWFL gun ranges react to Sarasota accidental shooting

Posted at 6:45 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-05 18:45:31-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- People at Southwest Florida gun ranges say a tragedy could have been prevented in Sarasota, had gun safety measures been followed.

Fowler Firearms and Gun Range was buzzing with business, Tuesday. One first time shooting at the range was 14-year-old Rachel. "I felt safe [at the range]," she said after shooting.  

She's the same age as Stephen Brumby, who lost his life at High Noon Range in Sarasota. Deputies say his father was shooting in the range when a hot spent shell casing flew into the back of his shirt. He reached to get it out of his shirt while still holding his gun, and then accidentally fired at his on.

Fowler Firearms and Gun Range manager Jon Dezendorf said hot shell casings will fly any time a gun is fired, and shooters must stay calm when it happens. "The last thing that we do is forget the safety rules because a piece of brass has touched us and it's a little bit hot," he said.

"One flew back and got stuck in my hair, but you just have to set the gun down," said 14-year-old Rachel.

She knew what to do in the situation after being taught about guns by her father. Dezendorf makes everyone who shoots at his range sign a waver after reading a long list of rules. He says Brumby's father was not following standard gun range rules at the time of the accident. "As far as keeping your gun pointed in a safe direction at all times, that did not happen."

Major rules of the range include keeping your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot, and wearing protective gear like goggles and headphones. Most importantly, Dezendorf said to treat every weapon as if it's loaded.