100 signatures reached
To: Lake County Commissioners
Shut down Raptor Airsoft and deny all permits
We collectively ask that the Lake County Commissioners deny any and all permits for Raptor Airsoft and close down the field indefinitely. Raptor Airsoft has a long history of ignoring safety issues, environmental concerns, illegally dumping on the land, using non-biodegradable BBs, sexual discrimination, heavy weight vehicles on the road to the field, and a long list of social issues when dealing with minorities.
Why is this important?
Airsoft is an honor and integrity based sport that brings out all walks of life. We come from all over to gather together to play a game where we use toy guns to shoot each other with 6mm plastic BBs. Airsoft players come from all spectrum of our society and plastic warfare unites them on the field
Airsoft has shown to help overcome some biases and grievances and create strong cohesion and friendships on the field. These connections form strong bonds between players and squads from all different ideologies to work together.
Due to the nature of our sport, where we dress up like army men and play with guns that look extremely realistic, airsoft players know we have to be careful in our communities. A common saying is "We are one bad accident away from being heavily regulated or banned in a state." Airsoft as an industry tends to tread lightly and do a lot of self policing on safety concerns.
It is rare that the airsoft community will step up to say that a field should be shut down. Especially in the time of Covid-19 with fields and companies shutting down, the last thing that airsoft players want to have is another field shut down. Which is why this petition should be taken seriously.
Raptor Airsoft has a long history of being combative with customers and players. It is well documented that the owners have little interest in customer service, instead only look to make a profit. There are a lot of complaints about getting a defective guns from Raptor, and they refused to refund or replace the item.
Raptor has fired a female admin for simply being female. Then Raptor banned anyone who knew that admin, including one of their sponsored players.
Raptor banned an entire team just for wearing a rainbow flag patch, and threatened to ban a large group of people at the Northern Watch event because they were wearing that patch.
Raptor Airsoft ignored the state orders to shut down all non essential businesses. (While Airsoft is life, it is not essential.) Raptor Airsoft was notified on April 18th at 10:31AM that 3 players from the Miami area were coming to their field to play. These three players had tested positive 2 days before for Covid-19. Instead of asking who these players are, the caller was berated for attempting to shut Raptor Airsoft down. The owner said if we did not like it to call the police.
The sheriff's deputies were called and went to Raptor Airsoft to find more then 10 people on the field, people were not wearing any form of PPE masks, and were closer then 6 feet apart. In multiple social media photos, players were seen with no face masks and standing right next to each other.
There are several environmental concerns that should cause Raptor Airsoft to be shut down.
1: Raptor Airsoft does not sell or enforce bio BBs on the field. Considering that their property is adjacent to the Ocala National Forest, this should be mandatory. While playing along the back side of their property people were shooting at players in front of the forest but a lot of the BBs missed and went into the Ocala National Forest. Since several companies make bio degradable BBs at very close to the same price as regular plastic BBs, this should already have been a policy. Instead, Raptor Airsoft only sells plastic BBs.
Since birds can mistake the BBs for food, it is important for the BBs to be biodegradable and not just plastic.
2: The owners of Raptor Airsoft allow illegal dumping on the property. The video can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKa5AegfBNE
The owner, Juan, has a long history of not caring about environmental concerns going back to 1990. He continues to dump illegally on his property. This environmental impact could contaminate the ground water and potentially the aquifer that feeds the natural springs all across the area.
The owner, Juan, even got severe burns because a can of paint he was burning in a pile exploded on him.
3: Raptor Airsoft hosts milsim (military simulation) events. At these events people use various pyrotechnics, including smoke grenades. Since Raptor Airsoft buries its trash on property, the chemicals in these smoke grenades can leak into the soil and ground water.
Impact to infrastructure:
Another major reason to deny any permit to operate Raptor Airsoft is the impact to the roadways leading up to Raptor's field and surrounding areas. Since Raptor Airsoft hosts milsim events, it is not uncommon for heavy machinery to be used for events. At Operation Northernwatch, an event that happened in December of 2019, there were 3 Humvees and a functioning decommissioned tank used at the event. The tank was transported in on a semi truck and the weight of just the tank was 15 tons. Considering the road was still wet and soft from rain, it caused some damage to the dirt road leading to Raptor Airsoft. The damage to the road could have been more extreme if the tank had driven down the road and not the semi-truck.
Simply put, the road will not last against the constant traffic to the field.
We implore the Lake County Commissioners to please deny any permits for Raptor Airsoft. They have shown to be bad actors for decades now, ignoring state and county laws by operating illegally. Since they continue to violate county laws, at this time they should not be allowed to remain in business.
We hope you take this petition to heart and deny all permits. Thank you and stay safe.