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Old May 11, 2011, 12:21 PM   #1
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Shooting Legality

Im looking to re assure the answer to my question. How far away from a building and house do you have to be to shoot a high power rifle. Is it 500 feet?
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Old May 11, 2011, 12:45 PM   #2
Spats McGee
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Welcome to The Firing Line, InTheCountry!

First of all, this question probably belongs down in Law and Civil Rights. Second, a lot of that will depend on your location. It's a matter of state law, county ordinance, etc.
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Old May 11, 2011, 12:52 PM   #3
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Thank you. I will go and search that part of the site.
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Old May 11, 2011, 12:58 PM   #4
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Guess it depends on where you life. I shoot off my back porch. Shot coyotes from the front door.
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Old May 11, 2011, 01:02 PM   #5
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Im in Hanover county VA. Were not real strict on guns compared to northern states, we just have a lot of development going on now. Used to I could shoot whenever I felt the urge, but houses are going up all around me now.
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Old May 11, 2011, 02:27 PM   #6
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VA laws are by county.
Long answer: Google "Henrico County Code" and search "weapons" in the .pdf of the full Henrico code.
Namely, check Sect 13 offenses-Article III Weapons- Sect 13-56 thru 13-61

Short answer, if you live in a "residential distict" or "commerical district" you may not discharge firearms at all.

Your county regulates bows, airguns, airsoft and paintball gun discharge.
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Old May 11, 2011, 02:59 PM   #7
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A friend of mine just told me its 300 feet from a house. I guess thats what ill be going on.
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Old May 11, 2011, 03:46 PM   #8
Don H
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Originally Posted by InTheCountry
A friend of mine just told me its 300 feet from a house. I guess thats what ill be going on.
Wouldn't it make sense to actually look up the law for your locality and verify the distance for yourself? If it turns out that your friend is wrong about the legal distance, is he going to pay your fine or do your time? At the very least, go down to the law enforcement agency that would respond to your shooting location and ask them to show you the law that specifies the legal distance to shoot from an occupied structure or empty building. After all, that's the law that they're going to be enforcing.
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Old May 11, 2011, 03:52 PM   #9
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In Idaho, the law is somewhat vague, in that one is generally allowed to shoot firearms so long as the discharge will not "endanger persons or property". There are other restrictions, but that's pretty much the golden rule.

In Idaho, common sense is expected to prevail. Your state laws may be more specific. The bottom line is that you don't want to shoot in any direction that would allow the projectile to strike said "persons or property", no matter what the official distance is.
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Old May 11, 2011, 04:19 PM   #10
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His father is a former police officer for the county im in. I wouldnt be so focused on getting the right answer if my rifle wasnt so powerful, I shoot my .22 at anytime, only thing is my newest rifle isnt a .22.
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Old May 11, 2011, 05:25 PM   #11
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I shoot off my front porch but I live in the country, I have a target set up and a shooting bench built in. My neighbors do the same thing at their house and they only live 260 yards to the east of me. If I were to go to somebody else's house and we were hunting I would have to be 100 yards from the house before I could legally shoot unless the home owner specifically gave me permission.

That is Wisconsin. You need to check the gun laws in your state. It doesn't matter if it is a 22 pistol, shot gun or high powered rifle, if it isn't your house you have to follow the minimum of your state. The police will not care what type of gun it is.

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Old May 11, 2011, 05:42 PM   #12
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the law is vague for us too but it also goes by county. as long as there is nothing in the background deemed unsafe and it is your private property you can go ahead. we can shoot from garage door, porch, at a tree, wherever(usually pretty much the same area which is the safest and all three can hit the same target anyways). I have even tested some from the doorway going outside but I think that was detrimental on my ears. by the way, I use protection but didnt one time- I kept thinking back to the oldtimer's post about permanent hearing loss on TFL. I'm not messin with that anymore because I didnt realize such little exposure could make a difference // or maybe I should say I had to learn the hard way. I think I dodged a bullet on that one(pun intended). I was kicking myself for a couple weeks
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Old May 11, 2011, 05:42 PM   #13
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Hey old grump. Im on my own land but I have a small neighborhood close to me and a house roughly right to where I shoot. One neighbor said he doesnt care if I shoot but watch out for some of the others becuase theyve been known to call the police for people shooting. Ive searched google readily, and can only come up with dont shoot deer with this gun, dont shoot groundhog with that gun, and dont shoot within 100 feet of a road etc...
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Old May 13, 2011, 08:53 PM   #14
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Where you are matters.
"...I'm on my own land..." Makes no difference. You need to read your State's hunting regs and your local by-laws. Suspect that 'small neighbourhood' is going to cause you grief. There could be a 'no firearms discharge' by-law.
Spelling and grammar count!
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Old May 14, 2011, 07:59 AM   #15
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In New York state you cannot shoot within 500feet of an occupied structure unless you have the owner's and or tenant's permission. Type of firearm doesn't matter. Municipalities may (and probably do) have restrictions too.
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Old May 14, 2011, 08:09 AM   #16
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The law in Hanover county is no discharge of firearms within 100 yards of a residence or a road.

The law can be found here:

The site also indicates that there may be additional local ordinances. So you'd better check with your local authorities.
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Old May 14, 2011, 08:30 PM   #17
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Thank you ^^^^^
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