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Hi people! First post, so shooting on a fairly small piece of private property?

Discussion in 'Connecticut Laws' started by Hogwit, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    I live on a fairly small piece of land (not like city size...but nothing huge) and was wondering what the consensus is of the members of this forum regarding shooting on private property. I know hunting is 500 feet from house, 10 acres...but this is target shooting which the state's law basicallyis that so long as it doesn't cause a hazard to others it is fine.
    *I have yet to look into ordinances of my town but will prior to shooting if I so choose to.*
    If I were to shoot in one direction there is what I'd estimate as 75-100 feet long followed by a 7-8 foot berm, beyond the berm is about another 400 feet and a rise of about 10 feet before a person's house/driveway. In the other direction I could have the same 75-100 feet but it is then followed by just woods...on someone else's property. In the direction of the woods, I'd estimate about 0.3-0.4 miles of woods before someone's house, but the bullet/shot would certainly leave the property and end up on a tree before anything else.
    Assuming there would be no violations of town ordinances what would you guys say?
    Anything that could be (relatively easily) done to improve it?
    Any case law that is pertinent?
     

  2. jibbr71

    jibbr71 NES Member

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    Neither sounds particularly safe to me, but I'm notoriously paranoid about what happens to a projectile after it leaves my gun. Some may call me overly cautious, but there seems to be a lot if potential for mayhem with either setup you describe.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  3. Palladin

    Palladin NES Member

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    in MA.....join a club
     
  4. one-eyed Jack

    one-eyed Jack Manufacturer Dealer NES Member

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    Agreed. Know your target and what's beyond it. I'd stick to pellet guns. Jack.
     
  5. new guy

    new guy NES Member

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    Is this true in Conn? That's pretty loose if so.
     
  6. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    This wouldn't be a frequent thing, just once in a while (probably 4-5 times a year) and I've never (at a range) had a problem which this height wouldn't fix...but that doesn't mean it can't happen, I know.

    Shooting into the neighbors 0.3-0.4 miles of thick woods would be safer (in my opinion) but I don't know what happens with the law when you are discharging a firearm from your private property ontosomeone else's.

    Why does everyone assume I am in MA? I am in CT, hence posting in the CT section...

    Our STATE law is:
    Sec. 53-203. Unlawful discharge of firearms. Any person who intentionally, negligently or carelessly discharges any firearm in such a manner as to be likely to cause bodily injury or death to persons or domestic animals, or the wanton destruction of property shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than three months or both.
    Town ordinances are likely much more strict.
     
  7. Kevlar

    Kevlar

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    Welcome to NES!

    AFAIK you are only bound by CGS 53-203, and any applicable town ordinances.

    I forwarded this link to dcmdon, our resident CT law guru...
     
  8. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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    Kevlar is correct. His citation is the only STATE law around this.

    Check with your town and make sure there aren't any ordinances related to this. If not, then use your best judgement. It doesn't sound like there is anyone particularly close. If you shot at the berm, you should be good. Some of the Mass folks might be shocked. But there are a lot of ranges in CT where a high shot will go long into something it shouldn't. At my gun club, if you put a shot over the berm on the 200 yard range the round will be sailing over I95. And you know how little elevation it takes to go over a berm on a 200 yard range.

    The real issues here aren't legal. They have to do with being considerate and neighborly. My house in CT is on a half acre, surrounded by others on half acre lots. Nobody is afraid of guns there, but I'm confident they wouldn't be comfortable with me shooting within 100 ft of their homes.

    I regularly discharge firearms in my barn, facing down, into a bucket of either sand or shredded rubber. Its typically function testing, so its a quick string then its done. I don't do it constantly and I don't do it at night. Nobody cares. I know and like my neighbors, and they know and like me. They know I'm a gun person. In fact many have taken pistol courses or purchased firearms from me.

    In summary. There is no legal prohibition. But I suggest you let simply be a considerate, good neighbor. It wouldn't hurt to talk to your abutters first to discuss things and to show that you are a safe person.
     
  9. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    Well umm...how/were does apply in my case?So I did all the internet research I could and basically found just Sec 53-203 as being pertinent even for town laws. I was uncertain as I could only assume that my town would be more restrictive...I went to town hall where they handed me an ordinance book and told me to look. Blah, I found the giant section in which it was (about 10 pages with a font of like 6 and double sided). I googled one sentence from that section and found a digital version (YES!) I did a "find on page" and there is all they say. It only said that police can make laws and the town clerk suggested I go there (Doh! I hate police! Especially my town's). The town clerk suggested I go there (Doh! I hate police! Especially my town's). Whatever...doodadoo here I go to the police...Stand at the window for 10 minutes and a cop asks how he can help me, I ask if there are any restrictions above Sec. 53-203, unlawful discharge of firearms and he replies, ok just wait a minute and I'll have them for you. 10 minutes later he comes back to the window and said basically I found no laws regarding gun use, I'll ask my supervisor. Well you're an idiot, you can't find anything even though I read you a section. Blah I'll wait for him. 30 minutes later here he comes with two pieces of paper; one is what I read to him and I was just like...why!? I already knew this and you know I did. Then his other paper confuses me (I'll write it below):
    Firearms hunting
    The holder of a firearms hunting license may use rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, and high-velocity air guns subject to certain restrictions.
    500 foot zone: It I




    The holder of a firearms hunting licen
    The holder of a firearms hunting license may use rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, and high-velocity air guns subject to certain restrictions.
    500 Foot Zone: It I

    - - - Updated - - -


    Well umm...how/were does apply in my case?So I did all the internet research I could and basically found just Sec 53-203 as being pertinent even for town laws. I was uncertain as I could only assume that my town would be more restrictive...I went to town hall where they handed me an ordinance book and told me to look. Blah, I found the giant section in which it was (about 10 pages with a font of like 6 and double sided). I googled one sentence from that section and found a digital version (YES!) I did a "find on page" and there is all they say. It only said that police can make laws and the town clerk suggested I go there (Doh! I hate police! Especially my town's). The town clerk suggested I go there (Doh! I hate police! Especially my town's). Whatever...doodadoo here I go to the police...Stand at the window for 10 minutes and a cop asks how he can help me, I ask if there are any restrictions above Sec. 53-203, unlawful discharge of firearms and he replies, ok just wait a minute and I'll have them for you. 10 minutes later he comes back to the window and said basically I found no laws regarding gun use, I'll ask my supervisor. Well you're an idiot, you can't find anything even though I read you a section. Blah I'll wait for him. 30 minutes later here he comes with two pieces of paper; one is what I read to him and I was just like...why!? I already knew this and you know I did. Then his other paper confuses me (I'll write it below):
    Firearms hunting
    The holder of a firearms hunting license may use rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, and high-velocity air guns subject to certain restrictions.
    500 foot zone: It I




    The holder of a firearms hunting licen
    The holder of a firearms hunting license may use rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, and high-velocity air guns subject to certain restrictions.
    500 Foot Zone: It I
     
  10. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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    He gave you hunting regs. You are not hunting. End of discussion.

    You are good to go. Just be considerate and safe.

    Don

    p.s. Never ask the police a question of law unless you already know the answer and are just using their answer to cover your ass. As you have learned, they know less about the specifics of any given law than an average citizen who takes the time to do 10 minutes of research.

    p.p.s. Just because you are legal doesn't mean there will not be a police response. Know the law. Be firm but polite and take it from there. One other law to know inside and out is the CT statute around Breach of Peace. This is the threat commonly used to intimidate shooters into stopping. Remember, you are not breaching the peace unless your INTENT is to cause fear, inconvenience, etc. If its not your intent, but you happen to frighten people, its not Breach of Peace.

    Don

    http://law.justia.com/codes/connecticut/2005/title53a/sec53a-181.html

    Connecticut Code - Sec. 53a-181. Breach of the peace in the second degree: Class B misdemeanor.
    Sec. 53a-181. Breach of the peace in the second degree: Class B misdemeanor. (a) A person is guilty of breach of the peace in the second degree when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person: (1) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior in a public place; or (2) assaults or strikes another; or (3) threatens to commit any crime against another person or such other person's property; or (4) publicly exhibits, distributes, posts up or advertises any offensive, indecent or abusive matter concerning any person; or (5) in a public place, uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture; or (6) creates a public and hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which such person is not licensed or privileged to do. For purposes of this section, "public place" means any area that is used or held out for use by the public whether owned or operated by public or private interests.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  11. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    500 Foot Zone: It is prohibited to hunt, shoot, or carry a loaded firearm within 500 feet of any building occupied by people or domestic animals, or used for storage of flammable material...unless written permission for lesser distances is obtained from the owner and carried. Landowners, their spouse, and lineal descendants arr exempt from this restriction, providing any building involved is their own...

    There is no mention of a penalty and the key thing that sparked my interest is, "The holder of a firearms hunting license..."
    So does that mean that this doesn't apply if you don't have a hunting license? Or that without that license you can't shoot guns (even with a pistol permit)? And what about those of us who have nothing but a rifle and permission? And when we go to a gun range...we are much less than 500 feet from occupied buildings without written permission...and at a range there is no problem with someone shooting regardless of age or license...
     
  12. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    Hunting or not it says...taking out unnecessary parts...
    It is prohibited to...shoot...a...firearm within 500 feet of any building...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hunting or not it says...taking out unnecessary parts...
    It is prohibited to...shoot...a...firearm within 500 feet of any building...
     
  13. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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    hogwit - great point.

    I believe that 500 ft language is in a DEP REGULATION. Not in a statute (law). As such it doesn't apply if you aren't hunting. But I'm not sure.

    Can you find the citaiton for that? I can't seem to find it. I've searched all my normal places. I must have a mental block. I can practically see it in my head. or 250 ft in tidal areas away from buildings containing people or livestock. . .

    Don
     
  14. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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  15. SpaceCritter

    SpaceCritter NES Member

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  16. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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    He was charged with reckless endangerment. Not anything relating to a 500 ft distance.

    Unless we can see how close to other's property he actually was, its hard to have a valid opinion on this.
     
  17. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    If you want to see where he was shooting type in his address into Google maps...one direction looks to be appropriate provided he has a burm in place and he knows his neighbors aren't in their houses (stray bullet into woods where a neighbor may be).
    Also, if he was a hazard to others, would it not be a "unlawful discharge of a firearm" charge rather than "reckless endangerment?"

    - - - Updated - - -

    If you want to see where he was shooting type in his address into Google maps...one direction looks to be appropriate provided he has a burm in place and he knows his neighbors aren't in their houses (stray bullet into woods where a neighbor may be).
    Also, if he was a hazard to others, would it not be a "unlawful discharge of a firearm" charge rather than "reckless endangerment?"
     
  18. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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    Hogwit, this is where talking to your neighbors comes into play.

    Just because its legal doesn't mean you won't get hassled or arrested.
    I've been shooting on friends land more times than i can count and had a police response. In one case I invited the officer to arrest me after he threatened me with breach of peace. I told him that I had explicit permission from my wife to get arrested in situations like this and I was much more afraid of her than i was of him. That made the second officer, who was very even tempered, laugh out loud.

    In several cases the officers saw our set up, understood that we were being safe, and left. If someone calls, they have to respond. So it pays to start out polite and welcoming unless their behavior warrants something different. (Like when we told the officers they were unlawfully trespassing on private property since their right to be there ended once they saw that a crime was not being committed).

    If you talk to your neighbors, let them know you are a careful person and maybe invite them over, it never hurts.

    In my case the discussion was always polite, but we were clear that we were giving them notification, not asking permission. Although you don't have to even bring that up unless you get push back.

    "I just wanted to let you know I'll be doing some occasional shooting in the back yard. I didn't want you to be alarmed if you heard gunshots. We won't do it early in the morning or late at night and it won't be very often. If the noise ever happens when you need some quiet, liike when your child is napping, just give me a call, here's my phone number. By the way, if you would ever like to come over to shoot, you are always welcome."

    This brings up another point. Silencers are perfectly legal in CT. Get one if you are going to be shooting in proximity to others. They're fun and its a great excuse for another toy. Although the new AWB considers anything with a threaded bbl to be an AW. You could still use it on any firearms you may already own with a threaded bbl.

    If you already own a 10/22 and purchase a threaded bbl, the gun will have to be registered by 1/14. I'm not sure about the legality of buying the threaded bbl after 4/4. But it would get you the ability to shoot silenced.

    Don
     
  19. usp45ct

    usp45ct

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    To add to this, exercise some good common sense. You said a bullet would leave your property and most certainly end up in a tree or something to that effect. Most certain me not be 100 percent certain.

    In the winter, can you see your neighbors house with not leaves? I am not trying to be a jerk but statistically raking, if you fire enough rounds to own your own range, you probably will fire enough rounds where one will make it through the trees.
     
  20. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    One of our neighbors is the nicest group ever...we've set up a pool for s few years and let them use it, this year we weren't going to...so they set it up in the same spot...we borrow their kayaks whenever and I take care if their dog whenever they're away. The next neighbor down I don't know, behind us is very nice, but they keep to themselves, across and down the road is an angry old man who complains about everything (he reported me for driving an unregistered vehicle on the road because I had a bicycle...and again for riding a dirtbike on our property) so he'll definitely be the one to report it...but if it isn't illegal...like all the other times...then no problem...
     
  21. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    Ihad said one direction is into trees, one is a berm...

    And for the purpose of this arguement, again I am taking out the unnecessary parts of that sentence:


    It is prohibited to...carry a loaded firearm within 500 feet of any building occupied by people or domestic animals, or used for storage of flammable material...
    Well lets see...cops walk around with a loaded, and chambered, firearm on their person and MOST of the time they are in a building or near one which is occupied...the law has no exception for law enforcement officers, or military, or anything...so either they break the law every day they work or it doesn't apply...and when a leo is on my property talking to me I'm pretty sure he/she will be within 500 feet of my house...which I know is occupied by cats...which are domestic animals...so if you (as if I'm talking to the cop) want to arrest me for that, which doesn't even have a statue, you best be getting another, unarmed, cop over here to arrest you for breaking the same rule (because it isn't a law).

    Although I know it's not the ideal, and there could probably be much better options, I want someone, above my town's police, to say that is just hunting. I prefer emails becauee when someone says something and you want proof it's like, oh you didn't? Look right there...email from you at xx:xx on xx/xx/xx in reply to my email at xx:xx on xx/xx/xx in this email you said, "........."
    I had tried the DEEP, because it's THEIR rule, right? So they should know...instead I was given a phone number for state police and told to contact them. Call the number and it's bureau of oil or something, transferred me to state police, transferred me to firearms, directed me to special licenses or whatever it is called, transferred me to a detective and he wasn't in. Ugh.
    Well...loop-de-loop it's a failure calling them.

    Now...that $200 tax stamp thing...
    You can buy a Ruger 10/22...
    You can buy a barrel...
    You can buy a pistol grip...
    Hmmm...it is legal to buy each thing, and by the PURPOSE of the AWB it's illegal, but by what is written I believe it to be legal...but grrrrr...I just bought a $1100 gun so I don't have much of any spare money...actually I have no spare money...but hmmm...maybe...just maybe...I could find a way...hmmm

    If I do decide to start doing this I'll probably just make up like a little thing that says I'll be doing some occasional shooting on my property, as you said, leave a phone number they can call, and invite them to join. Everybody within a fair distance will receive one in their mailbox...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ihad said one direction is into trees, one is a berm...

    And for the purpose of this arguement, again I am taking out the unnecessary parts of that sentence:


    It is prohibited to...carry a loaded firearm within 500 feet of any building occupied by people or domestic animals, or used for storage of flammable material...
    Well lets see...cops walk around with a loaded, and chambered, firearm on their person and MOST of the time they are in a building or near one which is occupied...the law has no exception for law enforcement officers, or military, or anything...so either they break the law every day they work or it doesn't apply...and when a leo is on my property talking to me I'm pretty sure he/she will be within 500 feet of my house...which I know is occupied by cats...which are domestic animals...so if you (as if I'm talking to the cop) want to arrest me for that, which doesn't even have a statue, you best be getting another, unarmed, cop over here to arrest you for breaking the same rule (because it isn't a law).

    Although I know it's not the ideal, and there could probably be much better options, I want someone, above my town's police, to say that is just hunting. I prefer emails becauee when someone says something and you want proof it's like, oh you didn't? Look right there...email from you at xx:xx on xx/xx/xx in reply to my email at xx:xx on xx/xx/xx in this email you said, "........."
    I had tried the DEEP, because it's THEIR rule, right? So they should know...instead I was given a phone number for state police and told to contact them. Call the number and it's bureau of oil or something, transferred me to state police, transferred me to firearms, directed me to special licenses or whatever it is called, transferred me to a detective and he wasn't in. Ugh.
    Well...loop-de-loop it's a failure calling them.

    Now...that $200 tax stamp thing...
    You can buy a Ruger 10/22...
    You can buy a barrel...
    You can buy a pistol grip...
    Hmmm...it is legal to buy each thing, and by the PURPOSE of the AWB it's illegal, but by what is written I believe it to be legal...but grrrrr...I just bought a $1100 gun so I don't have much of any spare money...actually I have no spare money...but hmmm...maybe...just maybe...I could find a way...hmmm

    If I do decide to start doing this I'll probably just make up like a little thing that says I'll be doing some occasional shooting on my property, as you said, leave a phone number they can call, and invite them to join. Everybody within a fair distance will receive one in their mailbox...
     
  22. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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    Shoot into the berm.

    If the old man down the street is not a direct abutter, then I wouldn't worry so much about him.

    One other thought. It never hurts to get lettters from the neighbors you have good relationships with stating they have no concerns with you shooting.

    I got those when I was dealing with zoning when I was applying for my FFL. It was a huge help.
     
  23. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    This makes me a LOT more confident:

    A few private land questions...

    Assuming the poster is who they claim to be, and it's still current, I have an official on my...or rather our...side. I emailed him to ensure it's up to date and real.
     
  24. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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    Which is exactly what I said. DEP Regs have no relevance when you are on private property and are not hunting.
     
  25. Hogwit

    Hogwit

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    I agreed with you and I knew that to be true, but I wanted an "official" to say that.
     
  26. Billsail

    Billsail NES Member

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    You need written permission from any neighbor within 500 ft, not just the closest one. Even if they are on the other side of the street!


    That's in MA.
     
  27. Kevlar

    Kevlar

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    Written permission is not required by statute (MGL 269-12E and 131-58).
     
  28. dcmdon

    dcmdon NES Member

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    What part of Forum: GeneralGun Laws: Connecticut Laws Don't you understand?
     
  29. Mbourja

    Mbourja

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    I've been looking for the same reference, I found the answer below on the CT D.E.E.P. FAQ website which still leaves some unknowns and questions. I guess nothing is absolute. I would echo the other reply's by saying, "play it safe, check your local ordinances, and remember you will find citations on what you CANNOT do and not what you CAN do. I am being careful on wording this as to not ignite a "Rights" discussion, but the only way to truly be compliant would be to create awareness around your intentions and gain some sort of consent from neighbors and local authority (which is unfair to your privacy, a trade off you may or may not be willing to make).

    DEEP: FAQ:

    Is it legal to conduct target practice on private property?
    Yes. However, the shooter must consult local regulations which may prohibit discharge of firearms within the town's limits. Additionally, the location of the property for target shooting must satisfy concerns for down range safety. Also, if local regulations allow target practice, and the property satisfies concerns for down range safety, noise from gunfire may disturb neighbors. To help prevent alarm and misunderstanding, notify neighbors and also local law enforcement officials when and where the target practice will occur.
     
  30. LouBraun

    LouBraun

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    A lot of folk do target shooting on private property around here (northwest corner of CT). The key to success is to get your neighbors (anyone within reasonable hearing distance) involved so that they are OK with your target shooting. It is legal to target shoot on private property unless your local town has rules that state otherwise.

    Police are required to investigate any complaint. If there are no complaints, you will be good to go.

    Lou Braun
     

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