Sheriff's Office

PR #:
Date Issued:
Apr 07, 2021 - 8:49AM

For Immediate Release

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Deputies will cite non-compliant target shooters, Sheriff urges all outdoor enthusiasts to know shooting laws

Sarah Johns
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407

Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam is reminding all outdoor enthusiasts to be mindful of target shooting, and regulations pertaining to shooting in northern Nevada’s open space.

“Shooting in northern Nevada’s open space has been a hobby for our community members for generations,” said Sheriff Balaam. “But as more people move into the area, and as more enthusiasts enjoy our beautiful wide open lands – it’s even more important for everyone who enjoys Nevada’s wild lands to understand what is and is not legal when it comes to target shooting.

“Over the past several years our deputies have educated the public on where target shooting is allowed,” continued Sheriff Balaam. “Some areas, like the Red Rock Pits, may have been where an adult grew up shooting – but are now deemed in a congested area due to development and are no longer legal.

“There are also areas where it is legal to shoot, for instance south of Golden Eagle Regional Park, but hikers utilizing the Zipper Loop may believe target shooters are within a congested area when in fact they are not,” said Sheriff Balaam. “These examples illustrate the necessity that all of northern Nevada’s outdoor enthusiasts both recreational shooters and hikers alike familiarize themselves with the County ordinances governing congested areas, which are readily available for review on the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office mobile app.”

Due to the lack of winter precipitation and possible early fire season, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will have added patrols this weekend, and deputies will be citing shooters found non-compliant with shooting regulations.

We are encouraging all recreational shooters to take precautions to avoid wildfires, including:

  • Bring water or a fire extinguisher
  • Choose locations with little vegetation, preferably dirt or gravel
  • Use soft targets, avoid steel core ammunition
  • Avoid shooting rocks, metal, pressurized containers, or exploding targets
  • Park your vehicle away from dry grass

Restrictions on the Discharge of Firearms:

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office would like to remind residents of county ordinances governing discharge of firearms in congested areas. Washoe County Code 50.092 to 50.154 states that it is unlawful to discharge:

  • Any gun, pistol, or rifle, with the exception of shotguns, air rifles, or B-B guns, within 5000 feet of an occupied dwelling.
  • Shotguns, air rifles, or B-B guns within 1000 feet of an occupied dwelling.
  • A firearm from, upon, over or across any federal or state highway or any county road or highway.
  • A firearm within a Nevada State Park, unless otherwise designated by the Administrator.
  • Within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, it is prohibited to discharge a firearm in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, or across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in a manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge, or into or within any cave.
  • If shooters follow those parameters; they are generally allowed to shoot in any area not designated as a "no shooting" or "congested area." It is important to understand these four key points:
  • A "congested area" is a geographic location where discharge of any firearm is prohibited. Because congested areas are generally densely populated, it has a high risk of personal injury.
  • A "restricted congested area" is a location where residents must be a minimum of 1000 feet from any occupied dwelling. In restricted congested areas, residents can discharge shotguns, air rifles and BB guns. A person is not allowed to discharge any gun, pistol, rifle, or any other firearm in this area.
  • A "non congested area" is a location where residents must be 5000 feet away from an occupied dwelling. In these areas they may shoot guns, pistols, rifles, shotguns, air rifles, bb guns, or any other firearms.
  • Residents are encouraged to practice safe shooting in established and lawfully authorized and licensed rifle ranges, gun clubs or shooting galleries.

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.


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