Is shooting on my private property in Florida legal?
I have been a firearms instructor for over 10 years. Over that time I have seen changes to many of our gun laws. When it comes to guns, something that is important to remember is that it is our responsibility to understand the law.
Students and friends routinely ask me, “can target shoot on private property here in Florida?”
The relevant Florida statute is 790.15
In essence residents, homeowners, and lawful gun owners are not permitted to shoot firearms on the private property of homes in residential neighborhoods where the land is less than one acre.
However, when it comes to gated communities or ‘zero lot land’ things are different. You cannot shoot in your backyard, unless:
- the land is 1.25 acres
- have one home (or more)
- and your surrounding neighbors have one acre or more
Of course, even though it is legal to do so, you need to think about the following:
- Shoot safely
- Shoot responsibly
- Ensure your ammunition will not injure or kill someone on neighboring property
In almost every circumstance, you will want to shoot into a backstop that will catch the bullets.
Building a backstop in your backyard:
There are many different ways to build an acceptable backstop to shoot into. Go ahead and do a search, and you will find specs and diagrams to suit your needs.
Although there are many materials that can be used, sand and dirt tend to be the cheapest and most accessible material to use in a backstop. Remember that bullets that hit rocks or hard objects can ricochet in unexpected directions. Naturally, this can be a major safety concern for you and your neighbors. So make sure whatever material you use, does not contain material that can cause ricochets.
Unfortunately, I live in a gated community with homes stacked on top of each other like sardines. Alas, my dream of sitting in my lawn chair while shooting bottles is not going to happen. But if your situation may be different.
Here is Flordia Statute 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:
It isn’t just Florida gun law that changes. Gun laws in many states change across the country every year. Some of these changes are substantial and can have huge ramifications if unknown.
We have an unbelievably useful resource for any gun owner, especially those who travel. We have authored a comprehensive book called Legal Boundaries by State.
This book covers all 50 states and Washington DC. You can order it in print or digital copy. I know what your thinking, won’t it be outdated within a year? Well, your digital copy is routinely updated any time there is a change to gun laws.
If you know someone who is new to guns or needs a refresher course on safety, I highly recommend checking out and sharing the new Gun Safety Course. It presents gun safety from a self-defense perspective and is totally free!