Legal question - TX Gun Laws


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Tactical Rancher
June 7, 2009, 11:07 PM
My 60 yr-old mother just told me that a group of target shooters on land neighboring her land (only 1000 yds away) fired an errant shot into her front yard two nights ago whole she was sitting on the porch. Her husband called the cops, drove over to the shooters and, "explained the error of their ways." While they were apologetic, he discovered there that they were drinking and then returned to the house to wait on the cops. They showed up an hour later, received the explanation, and then replied that it sounded like the situation had been handled.

I (we) don't know if the cops actually visited the shooting location after that, but the next night, there was loud music and lots of rapid-fire shooting, AGAIN. This leaves mom in a constant state of fear that they are drinking again, and could very easily fire another shot into the yard or house.

QUESTION: Is there a "drunken firearm discharge" law in TX that could be used to hold these guys accountable for their irresponsible shooting? If they get out of hand again, can my mother give the cops a copy of the law and ask to press charges?

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mbt2001
June 7, 2009, 11:20 PM
There is a book called "Gun laws of Texas", I would recommend that you order the current edition.

What is between her house and the other folks that are shooting? If there is a right of way, power line, road or road sign, then they might be breaking the law.

I would act as follows to avoid a feud.

1.) Go over and get to know them. Advise them that some of their shots have gone into our yard, one of them darn near hit me...

2.) Ask them to set up their shooting area pointed away from houses. It is illegal to shoot into someone else's house.

3.) Leave it at that. Be nice, make cookies and give them some a few times and be a good neighbor. This isn't a "legal" issue, it is diplomatic one.

The best way to handle a redneck is to be a good neighbor. DO NOT to try to push them around. Rednecks will do stupid things if they feel their pride has been compromised. If you folks are Texas natives, what would make you change your behavior faster a neighbor calling the cops and filing law suits, or sharing a dinner and some lemonade?

If the world had a front porch right?

10

Tactical Rancher
June 10, 2009, 03:34 PM
Thanks for the response, but I was actually looking for the legal solution to be recommended ONLY in the event of diplomatic failure. I figured it was a foregone conclusion that your other suggestions would have been exhausted first. To answer your question, there is a small hill and several roads between the shooting area and the house.

As for how I would handle the situation, my neighbors would never be shooting WITHOUT me! :D

-TR

TexasRifleman
June 10, 2009, 04:29 PM
There really isn't much legally until something bad happens.

Possibly a restraining order against them shooting but that's going to be tough.

They haven't really broken any laws shooting drunk on their own property unless you can prove the bullet landed on her place, then you have negligence and possibly even criminal stuff.

Tough to prove that the bullet came from them, and that it came at a specific time unless it actually hits someone.

But any kind of "drunken firearm discharge" won't work on private property.

DHJenkins
June 10, 2009, 04:46 PM
Just wait a while. I'm sure they'll be out of ammo shortly.

Frog48
June 10, 2009, 05:57 PM
From the Texas Penal Code:

22.05. DEADLY CONDUCT.

(a) A person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.

(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of:

(1) one or more individuals; or

(2) a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.

(c) Recklessness and danger are presumed if the actor knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded.

(d) For purposes of this section, "building," "habitation," and "vehicle" have the meanings assigned those terms by Section 30.01.

(e) An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor. An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the third degree.

Husaberg Man
June 10, 2009, 06:03 PM
But any kind of "drunken firearm discharge" won't work on private property.I think you're wrong. "Intent follows the bullet" is a legal axiom everywhere in the US. If the bullet lands somewhere other than their property, then the intent in implicit.

shiftyer1
June 10, 2009, 06:23 PM
I know that it is against the law for a bullet to leave your property in texas.

bdickens
June 11, 2009, 06:55 AM
And where do we find that in the penal code?

TexasRifleman
June 11, 2009, 10:41 AM
I know that it is against the law for a bullet to leave your property in texas.


No, it's not.

ETA: I was wrong about this one somewhat, Parks and Wildlife code listed below covers it.
If you don't have permission from the landowner, it's a crime.


I think you're wrong. "Intent follows the bullet" is a legal axiom everywhere in the US. If the bullet lands somewhere other than their property, then the intent in implicit.

Which goes to the above. If a bullet lands on someone else's property that by itself is not a crime. And as I said in my post, the problem here is in proving where the bullet came from.

Mom says to cop "a bullet landed in my yard". Drunk shooter says to cop "What bullet?"

Who do you think wins that one?

Like I said, until something actually happens like property damage or injury it's going to be nearly impossible to prove unless an LE happens to be at Mom's place when this shooting takes place.

That and you ignore the fact that I clearly said there was no law against shooting drunk ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY. I also said that one the bullet leaves the private property that potentially changes.

There is still, despite your claiming otherwise, no law being broken simply by someone firing a gun on their own property while drunk.

Until the bullet does something bad, this is not a legal matter.

As Grant posts, that happens when :

A person commits an offense if he knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of:

(1) one or more individuals; or

(2) a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.


Then you are down to arguing what "in the direction of" means when you get to the intent portion of the crime.

shiftyer1
June 11, 2009, 06:29 PM
I don't recall my source but I believe I read it in the state laws somewhere. If i'm wrong I apologize.

As far as proving it happened thats another story.

shiftyer1
June 11, 2009, 06:39 PM
I found my source

Shooting across property lines generally banned
HB 505 -- Adds Parks and Wildlife Code 62.0121

Makes it a class C misdemeanor to knowingly fire a gun, while hunting or for recreational shooting, across a private property line. There is an exception if you own the property on both sides of the line, or have written permission from whoever owns property on the line. The permission must have the shooters name, identify the property, and be signed by the landowner. Being charged under this law does not protect you against being charged under other laws too.

TexasRifleman
June 11, 2009, 06:44 PM
Very interesting. Looks like that was added at the last Legislature.

Here's the whole thing:

Potentially a way for the OP to deal with his problem, though this is more a Game Warden issue.
Good catch.

62.0121. DISCHARGE OF FIREARM ACROSS PROPERTY
LINE. (a) In this section, "firearm" has the meaning assigned by
Section 62.014(a).
(b) A person commits an offense if:
(1) the person, while hunting or engaging in
recreational shooting, knowingly discharges a firearm; and
(2) the projectile from the firearm travels across a
property line.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that
the person:
(1) owns the property on both sides of each property
line crossed by the projectile; or
(2) has a written agreement with any person who owns
property on either side of each property line crossed by the
projectile that allows the person to discharge a firearm on, over,
or across the property or property line.
(d) The written agreement required under Subsection (c)(2)
must:
(1) contain the name of the person allowed to hunt or
engage in recreational shooting in a manner described by Subsection
(b);
(2) identify the property on either side of the
property line crossed by the projectile; and
(3) be signed by any person who owns the property on
either side of the line crossed by the projectile.
(e) An offense under this section is a Class C Parks and
Wildlife Code misdemeanor.
(f) If conduct constituting an offense under this section
constitutes an offense under a section of the Penal Code, the person
may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.

shiftyer1
June 11, 2009, 06:49 PM
house bill 505 was added I believe in 2005

The code your looking at involves shooting on your land not across property lines.

To the op....it sounds as if the sheriff was trying trying to smooth things out between neighbors without conflict. If it continues to be an on going problem they will be forced to do something. How you tried going over and just mentioning that the shoots are getting close. Maybe suggest a form of backstop.

If you talk to them as a shooter not the scared and irate neighbor maybe it'll go over a little better.

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