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Updated: 03/14/2014 08:06:16AM

The life of a range safety officer

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By Billy Carl

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Let’s take a look at the range safety officer and his job. Some of the things I’m going to tell you you’re going to find hard to believe, but having been there I can assure you they’re true. First of all, the primary duty of the range officer is to keep the range safe. As you can well imagine, this can be a really dangerous job. I lost count of how many times I had loaded guns pointed in my face while on duty at the range. We used to have a standing joke with the FWC law enforcement guys telling them that as cops, they only got guns pointed at them once in a great while; we, on the other hand, had it happen almost every day.

So with all this danger and responsibility they must get paid pretty well, right? The unfortunate truth is they work for minimum wage and have no benefits whatsoever. Yep — no insurance, no paid vacations, no nothing — they aren’t even considered full-time employees of the state. When I was there, I bought my own duty boots and pants. If they occasionally gave us a hat or a few T-shirts, they made us feel like they were doing us a big favor. Recently I noticed one of the RSOs didn’t have a state shirt on and I teasingly told him it was out of uniform. He said he was tired of asking and being promised that some would be along soon.

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