If you’re a gun owner in Texas, your backyard might seem like the perfect place to practice your aim. However, not all Texas residents are allowed to shoot guns on their property. Before you start shooting in the backyard, there are a few things you need to know, brought to you by the firearms education professionals from LTC Austin, the experts who provide the highest-quality Austin license to carry online course available.
Rules Vary by City
If you’re inside the city limits, check your city’s laws. Texas law allows municipalities to regulate firearm discharge within the city limits. Even if you’re properly following all the other Texas laws about firearm discharge, if your city doesn’t allow it, you could be breaking the law. Further, Texas Penal Code 42.12 states the following:
“Discharge of Firearms in Certain Municipalities
(a) A person commits an offense if the person recklessly discharges a firearm inside the corporate limits of a municipality having a population of 100,000 or more.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the person may be prosecuted under either section.
(d) Subsection (a) does not affect the authority of a municipality to enact an ordinance which prohibits the discharge of a firearm.”
The Size of Your Property Matters
When you’re on private property outside city limits, there is no law that states how much land or how big your property must be in order to shoot on it. However, Texas law does state that if your property meets certain size requirements, you can shoot inside city limits and cannot be restricted. This is outlined in Government Code 229.002. You need to have a tract of land at least 10 acres in size if you want to shoot a shotgun, air rifle, air pistol, or BB gun. If you’re planning on shooting a rifle or pistol, your land needs to be at least 50 acres.
You Can Only Shoot in Certain Places
Keep in mind that just having a big enough piece of property doesn’t mean you can shoot anywhere. It’s only legal to shoot a gun when you can position yourself in a safe and responsible manner. Any shooting that allows bullets to cross the property line or a public road can count as disorderly conduct, a type of misdemeanor that could result in jail time and fines. Furthermore, you need to be at least 150 feet from a residence on any neighboring property to shoot a shotgun or air pistol. If you’re shooting traditional rifles or pistols, you have to be at least 300 feet away from any neighboring residence or occupied building.
Reckless Shooting Is Never Legal
Texas allows residents a lot of freedom to shoot their guns as long as they’re outside city limits and have enough space to shoot safely. However, this doesn’t mean it’s legal to endanger others. Any shooting that’s done in a way that could potentially hit another person, a vehicle, or a building still counts as disorderly conduct. If you want to shoot in your backyard, you still need to follow all basic gun safety rules. Never point the gun at anyone, always treat the gun as if it’s loaded, and avoid firing at hard surfaces, living trees, or other inappropriate targets.
It’s important for gun owners to be thoroughly familiar with the laws that apply to the use of guns in their jurisdictions. If you have questions about the local laws about gun use in your area, reach out to experienced professionals for guidance. When they need information on firearms safety, training, or CHL online classes, gun owners trust the expertise of the pros from LTC Austin. If you have questions about any aspect of gun ownership in Texas, give us a call today at 512-766-3039.