Column: Give Knight’s Trail range another chance

 Jim Wormley, Recreation Manager for Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, shoots Lee's STG 2000c at Knight Trail Park in Nokomis. STAFF PHOTO / MIKE LANG

Jim Wormley, Recreation Manager for Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, shoots Lee’s STG 2000c at Knight Trail Park in Nokomis.

Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 8:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 8:52 p.m.


The ink wasn’t even dry on the column I wrote about the range staff at Knight’s Trail Park before Sarasota County officials were taking action.

The story pointed out something that wasn’t really news to anyone who has ever shot there.

The range safety officers on the pistol and rifle ranges use a bit too much zeal, and volume, in their handling of even the most minor infractions.

Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Manager Jim Wormley was at the range the day after the column ran. He oversees the guy who oversees the range. The RSOs are his county employees.

Wormley took the complaints seriously, and he invited me back to the range as his guest after he had time to meet with the range managers and staff.

Mike Lang, the Herald-Tribune’s photo director, and I met Wormley and four other county officials at the range Wednesday morning.

We liked what they had to say.

There have been staffing changes. Some of the older range cadre have retired, but whether the RSOs went too far was moot.

If any customer has a bad experience in the future, Wormley and the current staff want to know about it immediately.

They can be reached by phone (941) 861-5000, or by filling out a complaint on the main page of the county’s website: https://www., or on the county’s Facebook site.

You can read the rest of my column here.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. So the Range Safety Officers at a gun range are too over zealous. It bothers some people to get yelled at when they make a mistake and don’t follow the rules, get some thick skin you pansies’ . It’s a gun range not a bingo hall. Your are an adult ,there is no crying to mommy because you get sent to the principles office. Look at what has happened at other ranges where the RSO are not as diligent . They are there to keep you from shooting yourself in the foot or your buddy who is down range. The rules are posted and enforced for a reason. I have been yelled at there before for mistakes I have made when I wasn’t paying enough attention to what I was doing. And when I left I shook there hand and thanked them for keeping me safe and focused.

    And I wonder if those RSO wanted to retire or had to. If the were forced out then the people that complained should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. Richard Berthiaume on

    I am …I believe… the longest continuous regular user of Knights Trail shooting range on the bools. I have purchased one to two range passes every single year for 13 years. Each and every time I’ve been there I have had to listen to
    ” Get back behind the red line.” or similar each and every single time a range has been called cold. Generally its repeated to the same patrons time and time again. The same patrons it would seem who whine that their feelings have been hurt over the humiliation of being called up over an infraction.
    It truly amazes me that the writer …Lee Williams… who claims the firearms experience that he does could even hint that there is such a thing as “MINOR SAFETY INFRACTIONS” at a public shooting venue.
    It needs at least the effort to be 100% safe ….
    Mr. Wormley …you are listening to the wrong people.

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