The Florida Sport Shooting Association
P. Daniels / C. Vargas 12/2/03
By the late 1970′s there were separate state associations for Highpower Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun. In each of the other states in the United States there was a single state association and there was a desire at NRA that Floridashould have one single state association also. South Carolinaand Californiamay have had separate Police Combat State Associations that were approved by the NRA. About that time the NRA created the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and designated it as the official state association from Florida. The expectation was that members of the existing state associations would merge into the new official state association. Some did, but they also maintained their membership in their original shooting discipline associations. NRA competition rule books require, then and now, that applications for state championship matches must be approved by the official state association. These applications were being forwarded to the Unified Sportsmen of Florida for approval.
Early in it’s existence the Unified Sportsmen of Florida became a legislative activist organization focusing primarily upon anti-gun laws and identifying pro-gun candidates for elective office. Considerable NRA/ILA resources and money were used to help accomplish this. About 1980 the leadership of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida voluntarily relinquished the Official NRA State Association designation and became a State Association “Other.” Approval for state championship matches reverted back to the original Florida discipline associations.
About 1982 a Task Force on State Associations was appointed by the NRA President. In it’s final report the Task Force recommended that each state have a single official state association. There was little interest by the four state associations in Florida to voluntarily merge.
About 1984 a group ofFlorida competitive shooters involved in “Silhouette Shooting” made application to NRA to be recognized as the official state association for silhouette. This served as the catalyst for NRA staff to make a recommendation to the NRA Board of Directors that a new state association be created inFlorida and that the separate disciplines be mandated to merge.
In 1985 the NRA Board of Directed passed a resolution creating the Florida Sport Shooting Association and directed that it become operational January 1, 1987. It directed the separate officialFlorida state association status of Highpower Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun would be discontinued after that date. During 1986 the NRA Field Representative staff hosted several organizational meetings with leaders of the separate associations and the “silhouette” shooters, which resulted in a set of bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for the Florida Sport Shooting Association. Three director positions were created for each of the shooting disciplines of Highpower Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun and Silhouette with autonomy to direct the affairs of their discipline. Six Directors at Large, Legislative, Editor and Junior positions were created. . At the final meeting of the planning group late in 1986 a slate of candidates were nominated. These new FSSA officers were then elected at the first meeting of the FSSA, which was held at theTampaPoliceRanges in January 1987. Some time later three director positions for Police Combat and a single Membership Director was created.