Rules for Personal Shooting Ranges in Texas

Discussion in 'Legal' started by farson135, Sep 19, 2022.

  1. farson135

    farson135 Member

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    There aren't any gun ranges in my area, and I have a nice piece of flat land that is a decent distance from the nearest house, so I'm thinking about building up a shooting berm for Rifle/Pistol shooting but I want to verify the rules first. If anyone knows which part of the law applies to this I would appreciate the help.

    I'm in a rural area, and I have verified that there isn't anyone living in the direction I am shooting for a few miles and they are out of sight. There is someone at least 100 yards (not directly) to the left and right of the location (with me being on the right). I will have to measure the exact distance since I expect it could come into play.

    I'm not looking to set up a bunch of targets or anything. It will mostly be myself and a friend against a couple of targets, usually paper but some steel.
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    This is usually regulated at the county level, sometimes state.

    100 yards lateral is fairly close.
     
  3. farson135

    farson135 Member

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    For clarity, I did some research before this, but the regulations I could find mostly do not seem to apply to my area; https://guides.sll.texas.gov/gun-laws/shooting-ranges

    My county has less than 30,000 people in it (Gillespie) and the ony county regulations seem to talk about shooting inside city limits, which doesn't apply to me.

    The only thing I can see is that the design of the range should be at least as good as in the "National Rifle Association range manual" (thanks Texas).

    I was wondering if I missed something.

    Yeah, but I don't think there is a reasonable chance of any problems occuring, especially if I build up the edges. I've seen bullets do some weird things, but not that weird.
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I know of a startup small club range that was quashed by complaints to the county commission here in Alabama. The lead complainant had a private range in his back yard.
     
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  5. Atavar

    Atavar Member

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    The first thing I would do is run it by the neighbors. Depending on your county you may need them for a variance. Maybe touch base with the county attorney (and your insurance agent).
     
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  6. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Are there any existing shooting ranges in your county? If so, contacting them might help determine what the county ordinances are. Otherwise, check with the county zoning commission.

    You mention that you're not inside city limits - but are you CLOSE to a city? Texas has a nasty little provision called ETJ - Extra Territorial Jurisdiction - which allows some (all?) municipalities to extend their control to unincorporated properties outside city limits.

    One final thought - on flat land, you'll have to move a LOT of dirt around to make a suitably safe berm.
     
  7. thirty-eight

    thirty-eight Member

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    Definitely. They may not welcome the sound of gunfire. And I agree with Jim Watson, 100 yards is fairly close. Don't think I'd appreciate having someone else shooting that close to my place. My closest neighbors are about a mile away so I'm mindful of when I shoot also. I skip Sundays and those rare nice evenings when others may be outside enjoying some peace and quiet, etc.
     
  8. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    If you can't find anything saying you can't, go for it. If you're still concerned, call the sheriff and ask. They'd be the ones who get called if someone thinks it's a problem anyway. They won't necessarily know the law on the subject, but you might get an idea of how they'd treat the issue.
     
  9. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Incorporated cities only, and the maximum extent is 1 mile beyond published City boundaries.

    Generally, under 5 acres it's "not closer than 100 yards" to a structure, as it's hard to predict if someone is working in a pole barn or hay loft (and keeping bullets out of the pump shed is also a good thing).

    So, generally, you want a 100% sort of berm. Now, down there near Fredricksburg, you ought to be able to find or have a water-cut embankment. And those are pretty sure backstops. Finding a bend or elbow in a dry watershed can be ideal.
     
  10. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I think the County (city if it applies) is going to be the restrictive bodies. My County wants at least 10 acres on private property, at least that’s what the Sheriff said first time we met (we were playing with machineguns). Kind of deflated him when he found out we owned more than that.

    Not to mention I know of out door ranges here including the police range (inside the city limits) that do not have that much land.

    You really need to narrow your search. This is Fredericksburg for example.

    https://library.municode.com/tx/fredericksburg/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH20OFMIPR

    Note: It effects property outside the city limits.
     
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  11. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    I do not think anyone here can answer you questions without know how much land you have.

    It is also confusing using the term Shooting range. ?

    If it is just you and family, friends then you are just shooting on your own property.

    Lots of people with land, shoot on their property

    If you are not in the city limits and have a safe distance and backstop seems it's not a big issue.

    Don't shoot before 9am and stop at dusk No shooting on Sunday *just to be a good neighbor"
     
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  12. farson135

    farson135 Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    Talking to the county sheriff was such a good idea that I don't know why I didn't think of it.

    Their answer is that there are no regulations that apply to me beyond the obvious negligence issues.

    For my neighbors, "don't be an ass", was a part of the planning stages. I've talked to them, they have my number, and they can tell me to knock it off whenever. I plan to limit the times when I shoot anyway. I have been thinking about getting a few suppressors for my favorite firearms.
     
  13. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

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    I have learned in Texas there were a few cases where we talked to neighbors and they were asking if they could come by as well for some fun.

    We were east of Dallas and we actually had a few sheriff deputies show up asking if they could join as well since we had some binary stuff for "tree removal".
     
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  14. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    That's the minimum to lease land for Hunting per State law (and really, that's for land used solely for hunting leases).

    All kinds of obscure in Texas law on this topic. Like, if in a County with a city with a population of 1 million or more, you need 100 acres to operate a shooting range as a business. County abutting one with a population of 1 million or more, it's 50 acres. Counties with populations of half a million require 25 acres. But, all those are predicated on gun range as a business.

    Such things get quoted incompletely and inaccurately all the time, and by those who ought now better (to include some LEO, too).

    These things are as obscure as the State Laws on making a Lake (o_O)
     
  15. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    100 yards is really, really, really close to be setting up a range near someone else. You need to figure out how far away they are. I believe in Iowa the rules require at least 200 yards and that seems rather close unless they are 200 yards behind you when firing.
     
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