Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Target practice on private property

    Hey everyone,
    New to the forum here so take it easy on me. I have been trying to search online for specific ordinances and regulations regarding discharging a firearm on private property for target practice. All I have found is general information about having an approved backstop that prevents ricochet of 45deg in any direction. However, I'm looking for more specific information on how to lawfully shoot on my property and other regulations to consider. Per site regulations, I'm not here for legal advice.

    To give anyone who reads this some context, I live on a farm zoned Rural Resource in Penn Township with a mailing address 15644. I moved in a year ago. I was outside one day, and a guy was running down the road and stopped to chat. He said he lived up over the hill and sees me outside a lot when he runs. He also mentioned that a couple weeks prior he heard people shooting. I told him it was probably me that he had heard, and he loved it. I've heard gun shots on the next adjacent farm as well, so it seems like the only people that live nearby are okay with it. However, a couple weeks ago, a Prius was on that same road, and I was outside shooting (in the opposite direction of this road, downwards, into a hillside that is ~100 ft tall with ~33% grade). They stopped and must have called the cops because within 10 minutes a cop comes up the driveway. He said the hillside is not an approved backstop, although its not the worst spot he has seen. A cop is obviously not someone I'm going to debate with about this when there are ARs, shotguns, and pistols laying out. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Have a good day, officer."

    I've searched all of Penn Township's ordinances and can't find anything about discharging firearms or approved backstops. How do I search Westmoreland County's laws? Should I contact the sheriff? I'm just trying to exercise my rights without p'ing off people, especially local cops. I would also say "... and without endangering people," but that's not even in question here. Has anyone gone through this before?

  2. #2
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    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    I couldn't even begin to guess where tell you to start looking for answers, but thought I'd say "welcome to the forum" and that you're welcome to come join us at the upcoming group shoot that isn't too far from you. Check the link in my sig line for details!

    A Prius? Ugh.
    PAFOA GROUP SHOOT - Sat April 20th - ALL WELCOME!!! - link to thread (click)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    Call your local township zoning board they can tell you everything you need to know. I shoot on my property in areas where the landscape provides me a natural back stop and I have recently invested in some proper AR500 steel targets, may want to do the same.

    I also happen to drive a Prius for commuting reasons but will admit many of their drivers are dicks.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    The NRA has recommendations for range design, but I doubt that the phrase "approved backstop" appears in the local ordinances.

    I'd stop by the local police and ask for some input, ask to see what ordinances apply. If they give you a blank look, go to the nearest public library and ask to see the ordinances for your municipality, they usually have them. There's a difference between what the zoning code requires for a "public range" used by many, and what you're allowed to do yourself on your own land.

    Statewide, there are criminal statutes involving recklessness and endangering others, but not much in the way of regulating shooting at dirt on your own land. The locals tend to do that, which is NOT preempted by state law (although regulation of the possession and carry and transport transfers of firearms are limited to state law, "use" is still fair game for the locals).
    Attorney Phil Kline, AKA gunlawyer001@gmail.com
    Ungawa's M16A1 is for sale, see the NFA ads! http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.ph...06#post3835606

  5. #5
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    Quakertown, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    In cases like this you should always give preference to the professional lawyer. That said, I would just continue on as before instead of asking anybody for permission. I'm also assuming you are being safe and not just doing idiot mag dumps at all hours of the day.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    This would also be a situation where the use of NFA-registered silencers would avoid a lot of controversy. If the backstop is solid (and no rounds go flying off the property), and the Prius-owning types don't hear shooting, there will be no battle for you to lose. I believe that the Art of War speaks of the wisdom of avoiding fights that you may lose.
    Attorney Phil Kline, AKA gunlawyer001@gmail.com
    Ungawa's M16A1 is for sale, see the NFA ads! http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.ph...06#post3835606

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    What's the worst that can happen even if there an ordinance against it?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyd2 View Post
    What's the worst that can happen even if there an ordinance against it?
    Summary conviction, confiscation of the guns as "derivative contraband", and revocation of any LTCF. Plus, they shoot your dog and stomp your kittens.
    Attorney Phil Kline, AKA gunlawyer001@gmail.com
    Ungawa's M16A1 is for sale, see the NFA ads! http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.ph...06#post3835606

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    Quote Originally Posted by GunLawyer001 View Post
    Summary conviction, confiscation of the guns as "derivative contraband", and revocation of any LTCF. Plus, they shoot your dog and stomp your kittens.
    How about in the real world where real men don't have kittens?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Target practice on private property

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyd2 View Post
    How about in the real world where real men don't have kittens?
    They bring a few spares along, just in case they need to stomp a few.
    Attorney Phil Kline, AKA gunlawyer001@gmail.com
    Ungawa's M16A1 is for sale, see the NFA ads! http://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.ph...06#post3835606

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