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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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38 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.

  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.

  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.

  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 ordinances..so 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 #

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nwfdailynews.com/article/20140214/NEWS/302149992%3Ftemplate%3Dampart

      Article regarding okaloosa county where local laws banning guns in yards were not passed because state ordinances superseded them

    • Ray April 11, 2019 at 5:17 am #

      Jacob,
      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).

  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.

    • 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.

    • 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?

  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.

  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

  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+

  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.

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