May
03

Austin Ordanances on Personal Archery and Pellet/BB Gun Ranges

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In case you are not aware, the City of Austin has ordanances that address shooting bows and pellet guns in one’s own back yard.  They include: 
Bow and shooting ranges:
§ 4-3-43 PERMIT REQUIRED.
A person commits an offense if the person conducts or operates, or permits another person to conduct or operate, an archery range or shooting facility on property under the person’s ownership or control, without a permit issued under this article.
Source: 1992 Code Section 8-4-61; Ord. 031023-12; Ord. 031211-11.
Definitions state:
§ 4-3-41  DEFINITIONS.
(2) ARCHERY RANGE means a facility where archery is practiced, excluding an archery range limited to the use of toy bows and soft rubber tip arrows.
(5) SHOOTING FACILITY means an area, either enclosed or outdoors, at which a firearm is discharged at a target, designed to prevent a projectile fired from a firearm at a target from going beyond the boundaries of the area, by use of a backstop or other barrier.
Therefore, the City of Austin considers targets in your back yard as an archery range or shooting range (depending on the weapon that you are using) and if you operate it without a permit you are committing a misdemeanor!
 
Furthermore, here’s what you must have in order to get a permit:
§ 4-3-44  APPLICATION FOR PERMIT.
(5)     for a shooting facility not located entirely inside a building, a site plan showing the existing and proposed topography of the land and all existing structures and uses of property located within:
               (a)     1,200 yards downrange and a 20 degree outward angle from either end of a firing line for a firearm other than a shotgun;
               (b)     300 yards downrange and a 20 degree outward angle from either end of a firing line for a firearm other than a shotgun on a baffled range;
(6) for an archery range not located entirely inside a building, a site plan showing the existing and proposed topography of the land, the location of each shooting position and target, and all existing structures and uses of property located within 400 yards of a shooting position; 
Pellet/BB gun ranges:
So you can have a pellet/BB gun range if you’re 1,200 yards from your nearest neighbor and an archery range if you’re 300 yards from your nearest neighbor.
 
Furthermore, definitions state:
§ 9-6-1  DEFINITIONS.
     (6)     FIREARM means:
          (a)     a gun, pistol, rifle, or device designed, made, adapted, or readily convertible to use explosive energy generated by an explosion or burning substance to expel a projectile through a barrel; or
          (b)     an airgun.
§ 9-6-7  FIREARM DISCHARGE RESTRICTED.
     (A)     Except as provided in Subsection (B), a person may not discharge a firearm:
          (1)     in the city limits; or
          (2)     on, across, or into Lake Austin or the Colorado River within the city limits.
 
     (B)     A person may discharge:
          (1)     a firearm at a gunsmith business or a shooting facility issued a permit under Article 2 (Archery Ranges and Shooting Facilities) of Chapter 4-3 (Amusement Park, Circus, Carnival, Archery Range, or Shooting Facility) if the firearm is discharged:
               (a)     in compliance with the requirements of the permit; and
               (b)     at an approved firing line in the direction of a target;
          (2)     a firearm in the exercise of the person’s express or implied right to discharge a firearm under state or federal law; or
          (3)     an airgun in an enclosed building or shooting facility specifically designed to prevent a projectile discharged by the airgun from traveling beyond the boundaries of the building or shooting facility.
So even you managed to secure a permit for a shooting range, you still can’t shoot a pellet/BB gun within the city limits unless it is in a shooting range in an enclosed building.
 
It’s probably safe to say that other cities have such ordanances.

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