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Shooting on private property within the state of Florida

As a firearms instructor for over 10 years, the laws have changed from time to time and it’s your responsibility to know the law in Florida.

Ignorance of the law is not a defense that will work well in court. I have had numerous students and friends ask me if they can target shoot in their backyards. The law has just changed again in Florida and residents, homeowners and lawful gun owners are not permitted to shoot firearms in residential neighborhoods that have a dwelling (home) on it if the land is less than one acre.

So if you happen to live in a gated community that is ‘zero lot land’ you cannot shoot bottles in your backyard. If you own 1.25 acres, have one home (or more) and your surrounding neighbors have one acre or more than shooting is allowed.

The caveat is you need to fire safely, responsibly and ensure your ammunition will not injure or kill someone on neighboring property. So it would behoove you to build some sort of bullet trap
or build a large sand or dirt berm.

I myself live in a gated community with homes stacked on top of each other like sardines so my dream of sitting in my lawn chair while shooting bottles is not going happen. (Florida State Statute below)

“Prepare the battlefield for success.”

Jay Lacson

Concealed Carry Instructor (Florida)

790.15 Discharging firearm in public or on residential property.
(4) Any person who recreationally discharges a firearm outdoors, including target shooting, in an area that
the person knows or reasonably should know is primarily residential in nature and that has a residential
density of one or more dwelling units per acre, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. This subsection does not apply:

(b) If, under the circumstances, the discharge does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk to life, safety, or
property; or
(c) To a person who accidentally discharges a firearm.

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80 Responses to Shooting on private property within the state of Florida

  1. Jerry May 1, 2018 at 8:48 pm #

    It does clearly state that if under the circumstances the shooting does not pose a reasonable foreseeable risk to life safety or property then the law does not apply. That seems clear that if you had a back stop that was overkill even by well accepted standards you could set up a target and shoot irrespective of the units per acre stipulation and not be in violation of the law, or why put that language into the statute. No?

    • Javier May 2, 2019 at 1:44 pm #

      Jerry, you are correct. The NRA was successful in getting that language so that if one has a backyard range that eliminates the risk to life, safety and property it is legal irrespective of the lot size.

      • Rhett January 29, 2020 at 4:47 pm #

        In St. Louis in the 90s we had a mysterious homicide by head shot of a man putting on a golf course green on the Missouri side of the Mississippi river. It was eventually traced to a stray shot from an Illinois police firing range about a mile away on the opposite side of the river. The bullet went over the police range’s berm.

        The only safe range that I can imagine is one that is fully enclosed with walls impenatrable by the largest round allowed at the range.

        • Mark April 5, 2020 at 11:50 pm #

          This subsection does not apply:

          (b) If, under the circumstances, the discharge does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk to life, safety, or

          I just bought a new firearm, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic all ranges have been closed. If I was to fill a metal bucket with sand, stand directly over the bucket, aim down, and shoot a test shot into the sand, is that still a punishable offense. The risk to life, safety, or property has thoroughly been eliminated by the sand, the bucket, and the earth.

        • Paul June 7, 2020 at 9:00 pm #

          That comes down to carelessness an the firearms owner, it must’ve been a rookie cop.

        • Ryan July 2, 2020 at 11:13 pm #

          I had the sheriff leave my home a few hours ago after a neighbor 2 houses down called them on me. I was shooting a variety of firearms in my backyard of my home. I live in a community of various sized lots, mine being 1.4 acres. My neighbors are all comparable to my lot but I’m not sure the exact average but it would be safe to assume at least an acre on all sides and a retention area that buts up to my backyard. Granted I have built a handgun range consisted of stacked railroad ties as a backer, sand piled up all around and a downward trajectory slope dug out 2 feet below ground level to give you a 5 foot berm if your target is set at the bottom of range. The sheriff was a nice man and was actually very polite and we had a nice conversation aside from his reason for visiting about gardening, chickens, pesticides, even fly traps. But at the end of the day I presented him with my case that I owned more then an acre and so do my neighbors. That I was shooting in a responsible manor by using a range with a berm, not inflicting damage and shooting into the earth at a downward trajectory. That it should be within my rights. He told me he did not think I could so because it’s a residential r1 zoned area. He stated that he had to speak with his departments legal advisor to determine the actual final say but he said for me to not shoot anymore until he got back in touch. I told him no problem, stop by anytime, thanked him for his services and told him to have a good night. As soon as it got dark though I lit a 100 pack of firecracker in my culvert pipe and a bunch of mortors in the air just to be a richard to my female dogs bottom neighbor

      • MackMcVey April 18, 2020 at 3:10 pm #

        Sir, I live on a half acre lot with nonresidential, heavily overgrown property behind me. Am I allowed to with the use of a proper backstop, discharge my handgun ?

        • MackMcVey April 18, 2020 at 3:13 pm #

          I live in a subdivision in the County of Marion, the state of Florida.

    • Jared Smith September 27, 2020 at 9:51 pm #

      How big of a dirt mound is required to have on you land in order to shoot your guns?

  2. Briar Lee Mitchell, EdD August 1, 2018 at 3:41 pm #

    What about the noise? That is a HUGE problem regarding backyard ranges.

    • Joe May 26, 2019 at 2:27 pm #

      Firearms are exempt from noise ordnance during certain times on week days and weekends check the local noise ordnance in your county.

    • Donna Holland July 31, 2019 at 11:53 am #


  3. Trevor September 28, 2018 at 12:54 pm #

    Indeed. What about noise?

    Does noise pose a risk to life? To safety? To property? To each point the argument for ‘no’ can be made that is somewhere between strong and overwhelming.

    Noise might be actionable as a nuisance. But that’s a another can of worms. And not a new one.

    • Tom May 26, 2019 at 10:22 am #

      Most counties have local noise ordinances. In Pasco county it’s from 10:00PM to 7:00am. As long as you do not fire a weapon in your backyard during this time period, you’re good.

      • Nora July 5, 2020 at 10:35 am #

        Thank you for that info. I was live in Pasco and wanted to know for training in dark, (while warding off the mosquitos) but wasn’t sure.

      • William Jester October 18, 2020 at 1:42 pm #

        How about discharging a automatic weapon in a residential area

    • Dean May 10, 2020 at 4:15 pm #

      “Ignorance of the law is not an excuse… .” Then the article goes on to say if you live on an acre or more you can shoot, but the law it quotes says very plainly that it is illegal to shoot on an acre or less. If you’re in a neighborhood of acre lots, it is illegal to shoot. This article doesn’t even know how to read the law.

  4. Don Dunlap January 2, 2019 at 8:47 am #

    I believe we are discussing shooting legally and no noise ordinances. I could shoot with a suppressor and you never would even know.

    • Ays June 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

      It’s pretty obvious, you watch way too much television. Suppressors do not silence a firearm. So yes, your neighbor might very well know if you were in your back yard discharging a firearm.

      • John m August 28, 2019 at 10:33 pm #

        My 22lr with subsonic rounds through a suppressor is quieter than the action on the rifle. So i guess it depends on the implementation.

      • Jim December 13, 2019 at 11:26 am #

        No, you probably think you just know everything.
        Any small caliber rifle or pistol with a good silencer and/or subsonic rounds will be more quiet than a BB gun. You just proved your own incompetence

      • Crazy February 22, 2020 at 7:50 pm #

        Went to jail for shooting in my ditch outside city limits and guns were put up already

        • Pie man August 22, 2020 at 3:32 pm #

          Too close to a road way. 100 yards or something is the law i believe.

        • Randy September 16, 2020 at 10:57 am #

          Any further details about this would be appreciated.

  5. Michael Moore February 3, 2019 at 10:57 pm #

    Sorry don that’s not true because a suppressor only suppresses the sound of the firearm does not cut it out completely

    • James May 1, 2019 at 8:45 pm #

      I have multiple suppressors, all of which I could use on my backyard and neighbors outside in their backyard next door would NEVER have a clue. A suppressed rifle on the other hand, everyone would know.

  6. Glenda Jernigan February 10, 2019 at 6:52 am #

    Is there a time set for target shooting on your private property, outside the city limits? Example can you target shoot at midnight and it wouldn’t be against the law in the state of Florida. Just a concern citizen.

    • Joe May 26, 2019 at 3:18 pm #

      Hillsborough county 8am to 10 pm week days and 8 an to 12 weekends. Guns are exempt from noise shoot up if it’s lawful and no person or property. is in danger…

    • Ays June 13, 2019 at 12:30 pm #

      Yup, there’s always one in every crowd. Please, try reading the article before posting.

  7. Jacob February 24, 2019 at 9:10 am #

    So who trumps who… city ordinances, county ordinances or state law? Reason I ask is I was recently confronted by the Volusia county sheriffs telling me I can no longer shoot because I am not in unincorporated territoty. I meet all criteria to be on the up and up. I live on more than one acre, all homes in my community are on 1 acre or more lots. I built a backstop that will stop just about anything (railroad ties stacked 8′ high on 3 sides, then back filled with sand 7′ deep at the bottom tapering to 18 inches at the top, this all backs up to a wooded area).

    Sheriff said I did everything right but local ordinances took precedence. I went to the cities website and searched just about everything I could think of and could only find 1 reference of firearms and that was in a state of emergency situation. Nothing pertaining to discharging a firearm.

    • Zach G April 5, 2019 at 8:19 pm #

      Article regarding okaloosa county where local laws banning guns in yards were not passed because state ordinances superseded them

      • Samantha April 27, 2020 at 8:03 pm #

        My grandmother has over an acre and my husband shot of a round in her back yard. The police were called and told my husband having guns drawn on him that this was his only warning. That it was illegal to fire on our land because there is a hugh residential area across the street. Well, we had a neighbor firing none stop two houses over so being told it was illegal i called. The cops got onto to me and said it was perfectly fine for him. And we find out they are related. So we have one officer of the law saying its illegal and then another officer of the law who is related to the person doing the firing saying it isn’t.

    • Ray April 11, 2019 at 5:17 am #

      Did you ever get anywhere with this? We’re looking to buy in this area. The home we’re looking at says its “Conservation Area, In County, Unincorporated.” All homes are on over an acre. The one we’re looking at is on 3.25. Your issue has me worried though. I thought after Gov. Scott passed that law everything would be good, seems weird city ordinance would trump the state law…

    • Richard August 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm #

      State law trumps, it is against the Florida Constitution for counties and municipalities to implement gun laws and they can be severely fined if not obeyed. (Do your own research).

    • Jason Stigall April 27, 2020 at 6:47 pm #

      What was end result? I have same scenario I’m brevard. Cops just told me the same. I’d like to know what my rights as a homeowner you have any answers or attorney/ official and or office to contact?

    • Jeremy September 2, 2020 at 8:26 pm #

      What’s the update and outcome?

  8. Grey Standish March 10, 2019 at 11:26 pm #

    Living in an area dense with horse farms and a neighbor decides to pop off a few rounds in the direction of your paddocks (but he has a back stop and obviously an ego that never misses) and the people handling horses on nearby properties are endangered by spooking/rearing horses due to the gunfire. How is this not selfish and endangering others?

    • Jacalyn March 20, 2019 at 9:38 am #

      Excellent point, my neighbor is constantly shooting and terrifying my horses, I’ve asked him to limit his “play” to 2 to 5 rounds, but he thinks the law is on his side since we are on acreage.. so he continues hid idiocy. I actually hate the bastard now.

      • Mike December 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm #

        I didn;t know jack about horses have 8 achers set up a range. Found out it bothered the animals talked with my nieghbors and set up time to shoot that would work for all if I had company unexpected I would let them know and for the most part all agreed

    • Joe May 12, 2019 at 6:25 pm #

      What else spooks horses? Are people not allowed to do something on their own property because you choose to own horses which apparently are deadly when they get scared?

      • J June 8, 2019 at 7:01 pm #

        Good point Joe, guess that means no remodeling, even if you need a new roof? I would be a good neighbor and invite/inform my neighbors that we are gonna have some range time though

      • Ays June 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm #

        So, buy him a suppressor as a present.

      • MBarry April 20, 2020 at 9:42 am #

        Sure you’re allowed Joe, but the AH who lives next to me has literally traumatized my horse because he has shooting PARTIES for 5 to 6 hours….no exaggeration ….. with every type and size weapon imaginable, including AR rounds 20-30. That’s not target practice. And so were are my rights Joe. I have to move because my neighbor is a JO.?We tried working with them like Mike. They get drunk and blast away from 2pm into the darkness.They don’t care!!! Must be nice to have money to blow on AMO. And FYI, you CHOOSE to own guns, we CHOOSE to own horses. Both can hurt you if you don’t know what you’re doing. There is such a thing as common decency. Having respect for those around you. The decimal level can exceed 172 which causes deafness in human and animal. I shouldn’t have to tranquilize my horse or plug her ears because my neighbor is a non caring JO. He has animals as well and just doesn’t care. To me this is irresponsibility, unnecessary animal cruelty and abuse.

    • Donna Holland July 31, 2019 at 11:55 am #


    • Theophilus October 17, 2019 at 7:25 am #

      I live in Orlando in the city on a lot less than 1/4 acre and was actually planning to put a range in my backyard until I came across this discussion. I even buy myself well my son a 22lr for this purpose. My question does the law apply to air rifles which is quieter even though some of them pack a powerful punch?

    • John Stratford December 4, 2020 at 9:47 am #

      Yes, and I quit smoking cigars on my porch because the neighbor complained about the smell…NOT!

  9. Larry the Witness March 20, 2019 at 11:00 pm #

    Grey, welcome to the country, if you don’t like the noise head on over to the other side of the pond, but at least for now this remains the land of the free, and not from danger, from tyranny. You are far more likely to die crossing the street walking your doggy or driving to work than killed by a horse spooked by a rifle report, much less the actual bullet. Horse ownership and absolute safety are not promised anywhere in our founding documents, firearm ownership on the other hand is. Please see your way to NZ, OZ, the UK, etc for gun free zones till the cows come home. I really enjoy those saturday and sunday afternoons when you know its the weekend because you can hear all the folks in the area shooting up a storm. Warms my heart to know they will all be well armed and accurate when it becomes needed.

    Noise, this is an irritant at worst, not a reason to outlaw shooting, but I have a compromise. The Hearing Protection Act. Look it up, it’s a start. But we all need constitutional carry, imagine the civility! Did you ever wonder why gun fights in the old west were such a big deal, and stories passed down through time? Because they were exceeding rare…and they were rare because everyone was carrying a firearm, so people were way more respectful. I will admit that if you let 100% of the pop. carry tomorrow there would be an initial uptick in fatalities, but that would be the criminal element, just stay out of the cities for a month or two, let them get it all out, and then let the people take their streets back.

    • Island57 November 9, 2019 at 11:02 am #

      I guess your history lessons came from John Wayne movies. The Wild West wasn’t wild and almost no one carried guns for protection. Guns were for hunting.

      • Turk October 10, 2020 at 8:44 am #

        Constitutions does NOT say anything about owning guns only of you are hunting. No such language exists except in the minds of those who have an aversion to guns.

  10. Anita N April 7, 2019 at 6:04 pm #

    As I am writing this a neighbor next door is shooting. I have a horse and he is running around his paddock because of the gunfire. I am afraid to go outside…of course my mobile home won’t stop any bullets…I want to go yell at him or her but I guess the law is on their side because we live on 3 acres to 5 acres in A-1 zoning. I don’t think they have anything like a safe area with backstop. SHOULD I ASK THE POLICE TO CHECK TO SEE IF THEY ARE BEING SAFE NEIGHBORS? I don’t want them to know which neighbor I am.

    • Glenn July 22, 2019 at 5:35 pm #

      You certainly could contact the police and they would come out but the best they could do is state that a neighbor called in a complaint which could cause more shooting or they could stop shooting as much I think the best bet would be to meet the neighbors and let them know your concerns we own guns we we shoot guns that does not make us evil or want to hurt others

      • John January 23, 2020 at 9:01 pm #

        Epstein didn’t kill himself.

        • me April 27, 2020 at 3:24 am #


    • Craig November 24, 2019 at 5:52 pm #

      You sound ridiculous

    • Joe April 28, 2020 at 9:02 pm #

      Maybe you should move in to a deed restricted gated community, high density living at it’s best. Maybe a mobile home park with pickleball and swimming in a heated pool. I have guns, rarely shoot, and don’t ever remember having bullets cross the property line. As a responsible gun owner I hate those idiots who can’t manage their projectiles. Yes they may ruin gun ownership for everyone. Good luck in your mobile home next hurricane. I would like to see those units banned in south Florida. All that flying metal in a windstorm frightens me.

    • Dawn October 2, 2020 at 12:40 pm #

      Go get’em Karen!

  11. John C Shelton April 9, 2019 at 12:19 am #

    I rent 9 acres with a pond, literally 100 feet from city limits in pasco county, but I’m still considered the county. I wanna shoot my .22 hunting rifle and my shotguns and a couple handguns, am I allowed to do so? I dont wanna break any laws, my driveway is connected to us hwy 301 and there is an apartment complex on one side of my house, (were completely gated in on private property) but the rest of the land is open.

  12. Alan Brown April 26, 2019 at 3:07 pm #

    I live on almost 3 acres I have a dirt mound in my back yard we use as a backdrop for target shooting, there are woods behind my house, and my neighbors also have more than an acre, do I have to have a special permit to target shoot

  13. D Mc May 4, 2019 at 11:51 am #

    Does this apply to just the property owners? We have an empty neighboring parcel owned by a person who lives out-of-town. He has given permission for someone to come by and target shoot….and it isn’t a .22…more like an AK47 with a huge concussion. It totally freaks out our equines and dogs.
    Is it legal for non-property owners to shoot on a parcel of land?

  14. L thimas October 17, 2019 at 7:43 pm #

    Is there a time limit on how long y9u can shoot your guns at one time

  15. Mark Gillespie October 20, 2019 at 8:13 am #

    I have an unreasonable neighbor who has constructed a makeshift range approx. 100 ft from my home and is using it commercially. Recently I suffered a bullet thru my window in my home from a ricochet off a steel target. Law enforcement states they can do nothing until injury or death however code enforcement has shut down these activities. Property owner continues to shoot commercially on weekend when code enforcement is off duty. Recently night shooting has become the norm. I carried a firearm professionally for years, am a gun collector and shoot at an approved, legal range. How do I stop this activity before its too late. My family should not be prisoners in our home while these idiots carry on

    • Gracie Ri November 6, 2019 at 1:48 pm #

      You have the right to sue them for the replacement of your window. No emotional damages apply, so don’t embarrass yourself in front of the judge or your neighbor. Your neighbor will probably get a kick out of that stunt & shoot more. If he is indeed doing it commercially, then I would suspect you would have the right to enter their property & shoot some video as evidence. Of course enter at your own risk. Video evidence of the noise from your yard should be enough to convince the judge to rule in your favor. Cost of the window replaced by a professional with your receipt & picture of the broken window in hand $250.00+ ; court costs $165.00+ ; Price your neighbor will pay for his ignorance $415.00+

    • joe February 10, 2020 at 1:18 pm #

      someone suggested to me, setting up your own gun range with the backstop in line with their shooting line.

  16. Dana November 4, 2019 at 10:06 pm #

    What about city limits? There’s a cow pasture within city limits that has a coyote problem. Could they hunt on the property, it’s well over an anchor

  17. chuck November 7, 2019 at 8:40 pm #

    I live in Florida with a family farm that I have hunted on for over 50 years. They county built a school next door now and I am concerned about shooting a deer on a Saturday since they play soccer next door. I could see the soccer moms being concerned when they hear the gun shot. Does anyone know if there is a law against shooting near a school even if I was there first? Obviously I would never shoot towards the school, only away from it. Thank you.

  18. Audrey January 12, 2020 at 11:53 am #

    Not sure how accurate this is regarding the 1.25 acres. Maybe I am interpreting it wrong. Please clarify. “If you own 1.25 acres, have one home (or more) and your surrounding neighbors have one acre or more than shooting is allowed.” We live in a residential area where the majority live on 1 acre lots. People are stating on our neighborhood social media page that recreational shooting on private property is allowed wehere we live.

  19. Robert F February 24, 2020 at 9:27 pm #

    A retired cop bought the property behind me so he could target shoot into the woods behind his house. There is about 3 acres of woods between us that he shoots into. Problem is the woods are all on my property and the bullets occasionally make it through not to mention I have horses and cattle that go into the woods. When I complained I was told to keep my mouth shut and keep my animals out of the woods when they are shooting which is almost every day. Was told to be careful driving down the road if I keep complaining.

    • Judge Dredd July 1, 2020 at 4:05 pm #

      Your neighbor is a punk and possibly psychopath. Maybe it would be safer for you to find better place to live.

    • notmyname July 14, 2020 at 4:32 pm #

      record your next interaction in secrecy and if he makes a direct threat that whole wire tapping law doesn’t apply. it was decided that what is being recorded decides if the law applies. one day when he’s shooting call the police and say there’s a mad man with a gun running around in your backwoods. maybe you’ll be lucky enough that the cops will drive up in stealth mode, go out there as the retarr I mean retired cops starts shooting again. Then nothing matters if the cop’s on your property and the other guy is shooting in his direction it will be escalated really fast. Also, move.

  20. Tommy d March 21, 2020 at 4:49 pm #

    Been shooting guns for many years . I consider myself a person that takes all the neighbors concerns into account . One or two acres is not much when you consider the noise . I no longer shoot on my back property . I would rather have good neighbors than be a bully and be that guy that is shunned. I now bought twenty acres two miles away with no homes near for shooting and camping that I visit often .

  21. james taylor March 30, 2020 at 1:32 pm #

    what about the people who hunt on horseback? or shoot targets?

  22. Nick March 30, 2020 at 10:08 pm #

    @ Robert F. That’s crazy! Sorry to hear about that. has anything transpired since then?

  23. Mbarry April 20, 2020 at 9:07 am #

    I really don’t have a problem with this law. My question is, what is a REASONABLE allotment of time for target shooting. And, what is the consensous about the number of shooters participating?

  24. Jason Stigall April 27, 2020 at 6:54 pm #

    What was end result? I have same scenario 1 acre, good backstop. Acres of lake/ woods behind me In brevard. Cops just told me the same.i was breaking the law because I live in a HOA deed restricted community. I have neighbors (all acre lots or bigger, even bigger properties all around)that could hear my rifle. Perfectly safe shooting but its noise scares her. I’d like to know what my rights as a homeowner you have any answers or attorney/ official and or office to contact?

  25. Rene June 17, 2020 at 8:45 pm #

    Robert F.
    Go get posted signs which state;”No trespassing, no firearms, hunting..etc”! Post them every 500 feet! I would also suggest getting a Security system with both audio and video”! People do NOT have the right to fire weapons onto your private property; nor do they have the right to threaten your life!

  26. Jack August 31, 2020 at 4:58 pm #

    Why can someone setup a “shooting range” within 300 feet of occupied houses in the state of Florida?

  27. judith adams October 5, 2020 at 10:01 pm #

    I am living in Polk county Fl. and I have 7acres, and each neighbor has 5 and 10 acres each. I do not own a firearm and I am getting shot at by both neighbors! Bullet holes all over my home and barn as new as tis week. I tried talking to the neighbors, but to dice! They just deny deny deny. But there IS NO one else that it could be. Just us three at the cul de sac and my bullet holes are on their sides only. 2+2=4! Im calling the police out tomorrow about the holes this week. They were below neck level and above knee level. I live alone out here. Not cool!

  28. Patty petruff October 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm #

    I too am curious about the statement that you were ok to shoot on your property if you owned more than 1.25 acres. Where is that specified in the law?

  29. Patrick November 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm #

    If I have a .6 acre lot that is in an undeveloped area where there is only 3-4 houses within a half mile of my property and I have a backstop, can I shoot legally on my property?

  30. edwin reynolds December 9, 2020 at 11:51 am #

    Many dogs and cats also become very agitated by the sound of loud gun fire. Back yard gun range noise can be much worse than a simple irritant. The noise emanating from my neighbors backyard range is more like canon fire. It seems old senior citizens who enjoy peace and quiet must move to a zero land gated community here in Florida to experience country serenity. The backyard gun ranges on a few measly acres may be legal, for the time being, but being legal is not always right.

    We bought a 10 acre property with county recorded deed restrictions that not only prohibit the discharge of firearms on our land, but also does not allow this activity on hundreds of acres of surrounding land with the same county recorded covenants. Sadly, we soon learned after we moved in that the deed restrictions are not enforced.

    I am a responsible gun owner and look forward to more responsible laws governing the use of firearms.

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