I mentioned last week about the Florida state parks coming up with standards for blackpowder safety and historic weapons firing. There are two issues that I need to raise in this area where there will be some discussion; and probably for quite some time in the future.
But before I bring them up, let me say that as a participant at a historical event in a state park, you are required to fill out a registration form. You become a volunteer at that park which covers you under worker's comp if anything bad should happen.
And also, I am only the messenger about these issues that I am bringing up. As they say, “Don't shoot the messenger.” If people disagree with what I say, they are welcome to their opinion. I certainly get a lot of grief from explaining these new rules. I am really wondering why I even bother.
The first issue is the debate over FF (2F) verses FFF (3F) powder. More is to be hashed out here, with still a lot of work to be done. Presently that park service only allows FF (2F). But they will allow FFF (3F) if they know what historic weapons are recommended for 3F. Believe me, I have debated this issue and really need someone else besides myself to speak up. I have expressed my opinion here. Afterall, I have only been doing this for 25 years. Maybe someone else needs to speak up and add their voice.
The second issue is the age of participants at reenactments. Yes, children are welcome and encouraged to participate at historic events. But the age of firing historical weapons will be 16 for the state parks. This is an issue that has changed up and down the past few years. It has now settled on age 16, and will stay there. Sorry, no exceptions; for several reasons:
1. 16 is the same minimum age limit to participate for firing historical weapons at national parks, and most state parks like Georgia and Missouri.
2. By law, nobody under age 18 is allowed to purchase a weapon.
3. Children under 16 are not allowed to fire weapons in a lawful marksmanship competition or practice in recreational shooting activities. Granted we are not shooting projectiles, but we are still shooting.
4. Child labor laws do not allow children age 15 and under to use explosive or highly flammable substances. And further, there are restrictions for children age 16 to 18 working in and around explosives.
5. The Florida Park Service cannot guarantee a minor's safety.
It is no secret that if an accident happens, the state will cover their own bee-hinds and look out for their own interests. The state is also self-insured. That means that if there is an accident, and a juvenile under age 16 is injured as a result of firing a historic weapon at a reenactment, I can just about guarantee that the state will not cover worker's comp and hospitalization. Thus, the family will be stuck with the bill. Sorry, but that is just the way I see it happening. The family and other reenactors involved will get thrown under the bus for ignoring the minimum age limit.
More than one person has told me to kiss their *ss about the age 16 limit. In fact, most everyone whom I have mentioned it too. That's fine; as I said, I am only the messenger. If you feel you need to respond to what I have said, do not do it here, because nobody will listen to me and nothing will be resolved by mentioning it here. Get involved and make your voice heard; maybe they will listen to you instead.