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Collier County deputies see increase in backyard gun range property damage, stress safety

Posted at 12:14 AM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 12:16 AM, Sep 01, 2020

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — The Collier County Sheriff's Office has a message for residents who fire guns in their backyard: "please shoot responsibly."

Deputies say they've seen a "dramatic" increase in stray bullets coming from backyard gun ranges causing property damage in the Golden Gate Estates area.

Florida allows residents to fire guns on their property as long as there is no more than one dwelling per unit acre, and it is not done recklessly.

Reckless shooting could result in arrest or civil litigation.

"They need to have a safe backstop that's going to stop any round they shoot," said David Rich.

David Rich, the owner of Naples Gun Shop and School, says having a safe backyard gun range starts by having a proper berm up.

stress safety

Posted at 12:14 AM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 12:16 AM, Sep 01, 2020

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — The Collier County Sheriff's Office has a message for residents who fire guns in their backyard: "please shoot responsibly."

Deputies say they've seen a "dramatic" increase in stray bullets coming from backyard gun ranges causing property damage in the Golden Gate Estates area.

Florida allows residents to fire guns on their property as long as there is no more than one dwelling per unit acre, and it is not done recklessly.

Reckless shooting could result in arrest or civil litigation.

"They need to have a safe backstop that's going to stop any round they shoot," said David Rich.

David Rich, the owner of Naples Gun Shop and School, says having a safe backyard gun range starts by having a proper berm up.

"Dig a hole in your yard, put the dirt next to it, make sure it's heavy packed, let it get rained on, put some more dirt on top, pack the dirt down nice and good. Make it big; make it tall," said Rich.

Rich says people will sometimes use logs as barriers, but with time those deteriorate and won't stop a bullet.

"You don't want any concrete, you don't want rocks, you don't want anything hard that's going to have around ricochet when it hit," said Rich.

The Golden Gate Estates area is a popular place for backyard gun ranges, with many homes sitting on an acre of land or more.

But even with homes spread apart, Rich says people need to think about what's behind their target.

"These rounds are going anywhere between 800 and 1,250 feet per second, if you shoot a 22-caliber rifle at a 45-degree it could go a mile and a half," said Rich.

Rich says bullets cannot travel over a house or paved roadway.

So far this year, there's been 21 reports of property damage caused by stray bullets from backyard gun ranges in Collier County.

There were a total of 12 reports logged in 2019.

"Gravity works; if you shoot up, it's going to come down, and if it leaves the property, travels over any occupied dwelling, it's illegal, and it is arrestable," said Rich.

Rich says it's also essential for people to follow basic gun safety procedures, such as always assuming a firearm is loaded and keeping the finger outside the trigger until certain you're aiming at your target.