OUTDOOR GUN RANGES IN TEXAS
A gun range, commonly known as a “sport shooting range” in Texas, is a business establishment, private club, or association that operates as an area for the discharge or other use of firearms for silhouette, skeet, trap, black powder, target, self-defense, or similar recreational shooting.1
We have covered how much land you need to shoot in Texas in the past, but in this article, we will be discussing the legal requirements to open a gun range in Texas.
WHERE CAN A GUN RANGE LEGALLY OPERATE IN TEXAS?
In Texas, state preemption law covers sport shooting ranges and prevents counties and cities from passing local ordinances and rules. However, counties and municipalities still have some control over how, when, and where a sport shooting range can operate.
What can Counties Regulate?
Generally, counties may not adopt or enforce regulations relating to the discharge of a firearm at sport shooting ranges.2 However, larger counties with a population of 1 million or more, may regulate or prohibit the discharge of firearms at outdoor sport shooting ranges in an unincorporated part of the county if the range is located on a tract of land less than 10 acres.3
What can Cities Regulate?
Municipalities or cities, may not pass regulations relating to the discharge of firearms or air guns at sport shooting ranges.4 Unlike counties, cities may regulate the hours of operation of a shooting range and smaller tracts of land. Cities may limit the hours of operation for a shooting range, but the hours cannot be more limited than any other business in the county except bars.5
However, a municipality may impose restrictions if it is reasonably likely that a projectile will cross the boundary line in the operation of the shooting range.6
WHAT ARE THE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS?
Texas law requires outdoor shooting ranges in counties with populations of more than 150,000 to be constructed and maintained at a standard that is at least as stringent as outlined by the National Rifle Association’s Range Source Book.7
Sport shooting ranges must also maintain minimum coverage for bodily injuries and property damage resulting from the discharge of firearms on a range.8 In addition, all ranges must prominently display a sign stating that the owner has purchased insurance to cover bodily injury, death, or property damage.
CAN I BE SUED FOR OPERATING A GUN RANGE?
An operator or owner of a gun range can be sued for any damage or harm to private property, personal injury, or death caused by the discharge of a firearm. However, an owner or an operator of a shooting range cannot be sued for common nuisance unless the bullets exit the property or guns are fired within 300 feet of a building on another’s property.9
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR IMPROPERLY OPERATING A GUN RANGE?
The attorney general, a county district attorney, or a county attorney may levy a civil fine against shooting ranges that do not comply with the law. The owner of a sport shooting range who fails to comply with the minimum NRA range standards is liable for a penalty of $50 a day for each day of noncompliance not to exceed $500.10
I WANT TO OPEN A GUN RANGE BUT I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START
As you can tell, gun ranges and the rules surrounding their operation can be tricky. If you want to open your own gun range contact the attorneys at Walker & Taylor. Contact the firm for a free case evaluation by calling (281) 668-9957 today!
I OPERATE A GUN RANGE AND HAVE BEEN SUED
You should immediately consult a gun range lawyer if you have been sued or received a letter threatening legal action. As you can tell, gun range lawsuits can be very serious, and the penalties can be harsh. The attorneys at Walker & Taylor will provide experienced legal representation to help fight the lawsuit. Contact the firm for a free case evaluation by calling (281) 668-9957 today!
I OPERATE A GUN RANGE AND I HAVE BEEN CONTACTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT
If law enforcement is involved, you may face charges for disorderly or deadly conduct. These charges can significantly impact your life, livelihood, and freedoms. The attorneys at Walker & Taylor will provide experienced legal representation to help fight the charges. Contact the firm for a free case evaluation by calling (281) 668-9957 today!
- Texas Local Government Code Sec. 250.001
- Texas Local Government Code Sec. 236.002.
- Texas Local Government Code Sec. 236.003; Texas Local Government Code Sec. 235.022
- Texas Local Government Code Sec. 229.001(a)(2)
- Texas Local Government Code Sec. 229.001(b)(7)
- Texas Local Government Code Sec. 229.003(b)(3)
- Texas Health and Safety Code Sec. 756.042
- Texas Health and Safety Code Sec. 756.045
- Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 128.052
- Texas Health and Safety Code Sec. 756.042