Front-Yard Pistol Range: Bad Idea
February 04, 2015
I am fortunate enough to live in a semi-rural area, and am one of the few on my road who doesn't have a personal shooting range. I pay good money to be in a gun club, so I do my shooting there, but I don't have a bit of a problem with my neighbors shooting in their yards, which run from a couple acres to more than 60.
On the other hand, we have the case of a Florida man who made an impromptu backstop out of a dirt pile and a couple of pallets so he could shoot in the front yard of his subdivision house.
At this level, it's not a gun rights issue; it's a safety issue and a public perception issue. I don't care how good a shot you think you are. If you haven't had an accidental discharge, you just haven't shot guns that much. If it hasn't happened, it will. That's why ranges have tall backstops, side berms and all too often anymore, baffles.
Florida has strong range-protection laws, but they weren't intended for "ranges" like this one. Neighbors are already calling for state laws forbidding this sort of thing, and if those measures were enacted, you can be sure that bureaucrats would be turning them on perfectly safe ranges.
A farmer near me has pushed up a berm next to his house and is happily popping away. I'm sure he is having fun with it. But there's a split-level about 400 yards directly behind his backstop. Were I that neighbor, I'd be pretty nervous, and probably would be calling the county to have the shooting stopped.
It's good to assert our rights and use them fully. The public needs to get over the irrational fear of guns that's been peddled for the last 50 years. But if you pile up some dirt and a couple pallets in the front yard and start wailing away, your neighbors are going to have a perfectly rational fear and act accordingly. Don't do it.