Does Texas Law Allow Me to Shoot My Handgun in a Rural Area?

Target practice is fun at the shooting range, but taking your handgun outside can provide you with an equally enjoyable experience. Many new firearm owners wonder exactly when and where they can use their guns legally, and it just makes sense that you might want to shoot in an outdoor area. In Texas, you can generally expect to be able to use your handgun in a rural area. However, you’ll need to do a few checks to make sure it’s legal and safe. Here 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. 

Know Who Owns the Property

Many rural areas in Texas are privately owned, and knowing who you’re dealing with can ensure you shoot legally. For example, you wouldn’t want to be caught trespassing and firing your firearm at the same time, since this could lead to criminal charges or worse. If you or someone you know owns the property, your options for shooting your handgun open up.

Check the City Codes

Some areas that appear rural may still be governed by local codes and ordinances. If you’re unsure of your right to shoot on a property that’s just outside the city limits, you can contact the local municipality to find out if it falls within any boundaries. For instance, some cities outlaw shooting on properties within a certain distance of residential neighborhoods. If there are city ordinances restricting your shooting and you’re on land that’s 10 acres or greater, may still be able to shoot, according to Texas Government Code.

Consider the Size of the Rural Area

People often think that just because they’re in the country, they have the ability to choose to shoot their firearms. There are some stipulations regarding when you can use your handgun that are designed to keep other people safe. For instance, you’ll need to be on a minimum of 10 acres to fire a BB gun or air rifle. If you want to shoot a rifle or pistol, you’ll need to be on at least 50 acres of land.

Analyze Your Position before Shooting

Even on rural private property, you have a responsibility to make sure your ammunition doesn’t cross property lines or pose a risk to anyone else. This may require making sure your shooting position is located far enough away from a road. You might also need to check for hiking or riding trails that could be located nearby. You never want to be surprised by someone coming too close while you shoot. Always make sure to shoot into a backstop. This can be a manmade berm or something that already exists.

Treat It Like You’re at the Shooting Range

Once you know you’re in a safe and legal area for shooting, you’ll be ready to set up your target practice. Texas law forbids reckless firing no matter where you are, so it’s best to set up a makeshift shooting range. Designate an area to set up your target, and communicate with the other people in your party to make sure everyone knows to verbalize when the range is hot or cold. Keeping up your safety practices is extra important when you could be miles away from emergency services. 

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.