The Lakewood Estates neighborhood is filled with families and children. On any given day, you’ll see kids climbing trees and playing on swing sets.
That’s why news of a residential gun range did not sit well with neighbors.
“I don’t know if this idiot is going to start popping off rounds,” said Patrick Leary. “I’m furious.”
Moms and dads are extremely upset after their 21-year-old neighbor, Joseph Carannante, told them he built a homemade gun range.
“I don’t want to hurt myself or any neighbors. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I just want to use this as my enjoyment,” Carannante told News Channel 8. “I don’t want to have to go to a gun range, when I can just go outside my door.”
Carannante wants to fire his 9mm in his St. Petersburg yard, which happens to be just feet away from children. According to St. Petersburg Police, legally he’s allowed to do it.
“I wouldn’t have done all this if I didn’t know the reaction,” Carannante told us, who claims he has all the proper paperwork for his weapon.
He says he will inform neighbors when he intends to fire his gun, which he hopes to do every other weekend.
Residents tell us that’s not good enough.
Leary added, “You heard him say, I’ll tell the neighbors when I’m getting ready to fire. What, do we gather our children and hide? Ridiculous. C’mon.”
Another parent, Kendra O’Connor, promises she will fight this every step of the way.
”I don’t consider it responsible, I don’t consider it reasonable. He’s asking me to go inside my house, go to the other side of the house, as he’s informing me he’ll fire his weapon,” she said.
Neighbors tell 8 On Your Side they feel as though they’re being held hostage by this 21-year-old, who they claim is putting everyone’s lives at risk.
In fact, residents have enlisted the help of their neighbor, County Commissioner Ken Welch.
“Even to the most pro-gun person, to have a gun range in the middle of a residential neighborhood doesn’t make any sense at all. I’m hoping we can get to some common ground and common sense,” Welch told 8 on your side Sunday night.
Welch has already made calls to the St. Petersburg Police Department and the city attorney. He plans to look into the issue.
“People don’t want this near their homes,” he said.
Meanwhile, police admit they’ve been to Carannante’s home and that he is obeying the law. They tell us they will “monitor the situation closely.”