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Discussion in 'Legal' started by film495, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. film495

    film495 Member

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    live in NH - was thinking about setting up a pistol range on property. so - when people call the cops, what does the local PD do? how do they evaluate if what you are doing is acceptable? do they have any criteria to work from or is it kind of random and the officers are as much up in the air as property owners are about target practice on private property.

    I've never heard any 2 people in NH explain the law the same way - so, my perspective at this point is just to start shooting, probably just blanks to make some noise, and then when the cops show up - I can figure out if I'll need to hire a lawyer or not based on what unfolds.
     
  2. drband

    drband Member

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    My opinion only: I don't think that is a good plan.

    You need to give us lots more info if you expect useful info... how close are homes, rural or subdivision, size of range, berms??, local laws??, what kind of weapons/ammo??, which LEO/dept has jusridiction--police/sheriff/game wardens??, have you called local LEOs??, what do zoning regulations/city-county ordinances say??

    And, You need to fully explore this with local govt and not rely on some guys on the internet for your decision. We would try to be helpful, but have no real info to help.
     
  3. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    I have the same question, as i am doing the same thing. I doubled the legal footage indicated by the state of maine. Will be making a very nice back stop and also curious what the LEO will say. I live is a rural area and people shoot all over. So i should not have any problems, but you never know
     
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  4. shooter1niner

    shooter1niner Member

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    As drband said you need to explore the legality first. In NY it is not legal to discharge a firearm within 500' of an occupied dwelling plus a few other restrictions. I have had LE come to my home range and explain they had a complaint of shooting going on and had to investigate. They saw we were legal, safe, and not out of control. The police officer then said "have a good day" and left...

    My range is about 105 yards long. I'm shooting into a shallow shale pit with sides. Back wall is about 8-10 ft tall with 3 ft of dirt on top of it
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I don’t think I’d go the “see what happens” route. Why not figure out the laws where you are first?

    You could always call them yourself vs having someone else call on you.
     
  6. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    I'm setting up a private range in my area and I would not advise anyone to shoot first and figure the details out later.

    In my case I am working with 2 other partners. We have talked to lawyers and realtors so far and plan on sitting down with insurance providers, a CPA and local law enforcement BEFORE we move one shovelful of dirt. The last we want is to have a problem after all the work we have put in this project to date.
     
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  7. film495

    film495 Member

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    In NH there are no local laws that have any jurisdiction or authority at all, none, not one - only the state law applies to firearms. It may just not be worth it until I can hire a lawyer up front, so - if I am charged with unlawfull discharge or something I already have a defense in place. I may be foolishly expecting a battle, but I'd rather find out up front before going through the trouble to set up an expensive backstop with baffles and the whole 9 yards.

    I'd most likely shoot pistols 30-50 feet, and keep it subsonic; 9mm and smaller. There are houses 400-600 feet in all directions, so - I anticipate some inquiries to go to local LE when people hear it and get jumpy. The lots are 3ish acres and we are zoned Residential/Agricultural. I haven't done any work to set it up yet - every time I think about it, it becomes too complicated and I'd just assume go to the local pistol range, but honestly long term would rather just walk outside and shoot on my property. This would be especially convenitent if I just want to test something or try a different ammo quick - and very cool when out of state friends come visit ..
     
  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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  9. film495

    film495 Member

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    right, the spot I want to shoot falls follows that law - and it is the only law, there are no local laws that apply, that is the NH state law.

    So, why would I not go shoot some blanks up there to see how much attention it draws or does not draw before building a backstop and spending a bunch of time and money?

    I'm also curious about the safety of it and how to build backstops and baffles to contain rounds if I ever actually do live fire up there - which is a major concern. Does anyone review or examine home ranges to see if they meet some type of basic design and safety standards? Are there people who can be hired to build that type of thing who know what they are doing?
     
  10. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    The NRA has guidelines for building a proper range. You likely won't find anyone who makes legitimate ranges or has practical experience with them. It really isn't hard to push up a 25 ft berm (as recommended by the NRA) with a 40 degree slope. there's instructions online as well for how to build baffles.
     
  11. film495

    film495 Member

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    I've seen some pretty extensive guidelines on building ranges. The root of my question is when someone calls the local PD to investigate, what qualifications do they have to even know if what you are doing is safe? Do they design and evaluate ranges? If they decide by their opinion that it is not safe, they could charge you with negligent discharge. Then it would be up to the property owner to defend that the activity is indeed safe. So, having someone sign off on a design or whatever - would be something I'd think people would be interested in.
     
  12. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    You can be charged by an incompetent police officer (or even a competent one truthfully) for just about anything and have to prove it later. I have dealt with several officers and read accounts here and elsewhere detailing accounts of LEOs who didn't know the laws they were supposed to be enforcing. A properly constructed range IMO should leave no doubt to anyone of it's ability to contain projectiles.

    Having someone sign off on your build won't provide you with much security unless that entity is recognized by the appropriate authority. Currently the NRA guidelines for ranges are the most universally accepted that I am aware of nationwide. They are likely overkill for most personal/private applications, but that doesn't mean they are equally over complex.

    IMO you are likely to have issues (if you indeed have any) from two sources:

    A. Someone who doesn't like the noise you are making (or guns altogether). This obviously falls into the category of a noise complaint. Whether they have a legitimate complaint or not will depend on the ordinances particular to your region.

    B. Someone who suffers personal/property damage or who finds projectiles from your shooting on their property. This is only likely to result if your range is constructed improperly or if you are not using the space properly. This would include a range that is improperly maintained. This is by far a more likely scenario to be criminally charged for since it involves life and property. It's also far easier to plan for and prevent.
     
  13. film495

    film495 Member

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    From my learning about ranges, there isn't one in existence that will contain all the rounds. Even the Sig academy in Exeter got shut down for a while because they were finding rounds in the street and on the highway with no explanation of how that was even possible. Maybe it was just someone pranking them and throwing rounds in the street to be activists or something. Don't think anyone ever really figured it out.
     
  14. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I have never known of such a person. The only time I have ever had the
    Sheriffs come out was when we have been playing with unsuppressed machine guns, they did ask how much land we owned (we have land requirements here) and did say he was impressed with the bullet trap, 11 ft tall and 16 ft wide.

    D3187979-99D2-4CAC-A492-3EA4DFD4541D.jpeg

    I generally don’t shoot really early or late and if I’m not using a suppressor, often use this device to reduce noise emissions, keeps the wife happy.

    315E2A80-AE73-4DF3-9067-9F8CE407FEB1.jpeg
     
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  15. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    The police shouldn't be your only concern. Some potential legal issues have nothing to do with the police.

    • Would a range run afoul of any local land use or zoning law?

    • Depending on local law, a shooting range on your property could be challenged by a neighbor or the county as a nuisance. So, for example, if a neighbor is annoyed by the noise, he could sue and ask that the court find your range is a nuisance and order you to shut it down.

    • And there is always the question of your possible civil liability if projectiles leave your property and cause personal injury or property damage.

    You might also want to look into available design resources like:


    These sorts of resources could be used to establish a standard of care for a shooting range (even a private range on your property). So if someone is injured by a projectile leaving your property and if you didn't follow some of the safe design recommendations, your failure to do so could help establish your liability.
     
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  16. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Change that to: "there isn't one in existence that will contain all the rounds fired by undisciplined shooters". Bullets leave firing ranges because:

    1. The range was improperly designed.

    2. Range rules were inadequate.

    3. Range rules were not enforced.

    4. All shooters were not properly briefed.

    5. Shooter/s ignored the range rules.

    i formerly designed shooting ranges, mostly for foreign military and private shooters. i've also testified in court cases involving range wrecks. Your name is engraved on every bullet that leaves your property.

    Built a nice shooting range on a property i formerly owned. Being a trusting dummy i allowed folks to use that range unaccompanied by myself. One day police were using that range and someone killed a neighbors cow. No one saw anything. i paid for the cow, took the D-6 dozer and destroyed the range and posted the place. You would have thought i violated folks civil rights.

    Got to be careful about ricochets. Bullets striking the ground in front of berm often ricochet over the berm.
     
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  17. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    Regardless of where you live or how much land you have or what kind of backstop you have you ALWAYS shoot at your own risk. You do what you can but nothing is certain.
     
  18. entropy

    entropy Member

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    How about reading the State statutes, and your local ordnances for starters? I find it hard to believe that if you have houses close all around you that you could just start blazing away.Just a suggestion.......
     
  19. film495

    film495 Member

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    There are no local ordinances that apply in NH. Only the NH State Law applies.
     
  20. entropy

    entropy Member

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    There is still tort law to consider. If you can legally build a range in the middle of Concord, doesn't mean it's a good idea. A bullet gets outside the wire, lawsuit, and probably tighter State Laws as a result, if local ordnances are verboten.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  21. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    I live in a in a rural maine, Everyone around me shoots, I here it all weekend. Only law i need to follow is 100 yards from any house. I used to shoot in my old yard. And the new land has a private mountain behind what i make for a back stop, So no, i will not even bother the LEO's around here about it when the guy next to the land i own also shoots off his back porch.
     
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  22. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Threads like this remind me how fortunate I am to live where I do.
    It's funny just thinking of the confusion it would cause at the sheriffs department if someone called in just because they heard gun shots in the country.
    If more than a few days went by with no gunfire from my house my neighbors would come to see if I was OK.
     
  23. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    I agree "fine figure". The sheriff's have to respond if someone calls it in. They stopped by my old house (same town as now) every weekend. He would just chat and say the lady down the road called. Which was maybe 1/4 of a mile. After 3 weeks of that, i asked him if there was something you could do so i was not wasting his time and mine. He chatted with the lady as said we were safe and that there is nothing illegal about it, so unless it was past 10 pm or before 6 am. Do not call. They never stopped by after that. That was in 2006. Plenty of Gravel pits around here that you hear shooting all the time.
     
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