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Setting Up Personal Shooting Range on Rented Property

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by 4Freedom, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I know this sounds a bit far fetched, but I am just thinking possibly in a few months or so, I may like to go try to find a rental where I can setup my own personal shooting range. Yes, it kinda been a desire of mine now, since I have taken a great interest in firearms, but sadly where I live I am both too busy to drive to shooting range and very far from most shooting ranges. The decent shooting ranges near me are at least a 45 minute drive and are quite costly.

    Well, I don't have money to buy a place and feel safer, with the economy being in the toilet and all, to just go ahead and rent a place. Around here, most landlords give long leases and seem to be more easygoing. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had advice and tips on what to do if you wanted to rent a property with acreage that you would want to set up as a personal range.

    I know some of the basic answers to this question, be far from neighbors, know where your bullets are going, don't shoot across rivers, roads, etc etc. I would like to learn about how to create a backstop and setting up a safe and legal shooting area. Probably, I am getting ahead of myself, but I like to learn about the proper safety and range equipment most people use on their own property, if they have this setup.

    I am not really sure about the laws and also the legality of shooting on rented land. Perhaps, I am at risk of commiting a crime, seeing I am not a land owner? Also, if I am interested to be shooting on the land, should I consult the landlords in advance or should I just not tell them, seeing they may never know about it anyway? Would notifying local law enforcement also be important, to notify them I would be doing target shooting on the property, so they don't mistake it for a threat or illegal hunting, etc?

    What is the minimum amount of acreage that many would think is feasible to set up a range where you can shoot out to around 500-1000 yards? ANyone know what are some of the best places in Oregon/Washington that to setup a small range in your house's property? This is the main area I am looking to move. I am sure if I lived in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, I would have way more options. I have been considering Eastern Oregon, as I know it is more shooter friendly environment and land more open land, however I do like the greenery and warmer weather in the westside. Its hard to leave where I am based.


    I know most likely I won't be able to achieve this desire, perhaps I will just have to settle moving closer to a shooting range or to rural area where I can shoot. Oh well, I thought it was worth looking into, in case my desire can become a reality.
     
  2. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely!

    As for possibly committing a crime, the land owner might know if there is a local ordinance against discharging a firearm. I can't imagine it being different for a renter than land owner though.
     
  3. JumpWing

    JumpWing NK WA Member

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    Ownership and possession of a firearm are determined by the state constitution, however discharging a firearm is different and there may very well be local ordinances in effect that you'll want to learn about. Your local sheriff's office should be able to fill you in on that.

    One acre is almost exactly the size of a football field (without the end zones) so for your intended range distance, consider that an acre is 50 yds by 100 yds. However, the shape (or aspect ratio) of an acre isn't guaranteed to be a perfect 1x2 rectangle; and a 10-acre property is usually shaped like a widescreen TV. So while ten "football field" acres laid end-to-end will give you the 1000 yds you need, you're not likely to find a piece of property that's 50 yds wide and 1000 yds deep.

    You probably aren't going to find 1000 linear yards on a property smaller than 40 acres. And then, as you already mentioned, if the geography doesn't provide a natural backstop (like a hill) then you'll have to build one. The size of a backstop at 1000 yards will need to be pretty big to be effective.

    Yes, it's best to be up front with your landlord. He *might* not be able to do anything about you shooting on the property (I am NOT a lawyer) but why create an issue where you don't need one? Besides, God help you if he's out there for who-knows-what-reason and he didn't notify you, and then he gets shot.

    Good luck!
     
  4. CaseyPod

    CaseyPod North Vancouver Member

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    I agree with Jumpwing! Make sure you do all the appropriate stuff here:

    You've got to get something from the Sheriff's dept. I would go as far to say that you should get something about the area in writing in case they decide to show up one day- you aren't left saying "but 'you guys' said xxx back in March..." - if the guys show up and you show them a document provided by the Sheriffs Dept - you will be good to go!

    The landlord is another issue. You absolutely should tell him what you are going to be doing. Find one who doesn't mind you shooting. You would hate to have a headache on your hands and a lease you can't break. The shooting should probably be signed into agreement on your lease terms.

    I'm not a lawyer either, but I had a lot of classes on maritime law when I was at the Maritime Academy... It is always best to have things in writing.

    If you let some of us know where this place is when you set it up, you might be able to get some agreement to shoot with other members here. It might help defer your costs if you have a few people paying 50 bucks a month or so, and say you have 20 people - there is $1000 off your rent payment. (also if you do this, make sure you have a signed agreement from people that using your site is at their own risk, etc...)

    Good idea! If your close by - I would love to come shoot at your site!
     
  5. Abe Froman

    Abe Froman West of Salem Active Member

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    I am currently renting, and I have 40 acres, I have a good landlord who not only doesn't mind my range, I can also hunt. My closest neighbor to my range is almost a mile away, and there is a great backstop to shoot into.
     
  6. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    First, I want to thank everyone for the good advice. I am looking into it all the details of doing this and the advice everyone has given is quite helpful. As far as runnigng a public range or a range that has people frequenting it, I think there is lot of liablity issues with that and I may have to pass on that for the time being. Not only that, but I have odd hours and don't think I can handle people randomly stopping by and shooting. Since it is rented land, I would feel even more liable for problems that may occur.


    Wow, I envy you and sounds like you have the exact setup I have been looking for. If you don't mind me asking, what area do you live in and in what price range do you pay for rent? Also, do you get high speed internet, like Cable broadband or DSL where you live? I run a home computer biz on the side and that is one of the requirements for me to be able to pull this off.
     
  7. Abe Froman

    Abe Froman West of Salem Active Member

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    I live outside of Dallas a little ways, my rent is 900 bucks a month, not bad. Up until about six months ago there was only dial up and satellite internet available, but we know have quest DSL and it makes a world of difference. I am not looking forward to the day that I have to move, but I think it is inevitable, the house is currently on the market.
     
  8. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    Since you are in Vancouver WA, you will almost certainlly be renting in Clark County. First issue: SOME areas of Clark County rural (that is, NOT within city limits) are NO SHOOTING zones. Where are these? Best way is to get onto the county webside (google "clark county washington", find the section on County Ordinances, or the County Codes.... I think there is a search term box, put in "shooting", "firearms", etc. until you come up with the appropriate codes which define NO SHOOTING zones. These should be direct linked to maps which will locate these zones. If the subject property is in a NO SHOOTING zone, its all over. Find another place, you're done. Now, having FOUND a place to rent in a legal to shoot zone, you're just about done. Of course, you already mention things like backstops, not across roads, etc. You're on most of it. As to specifically asking the landlord, I'm not sure I would. In Washington, renting a place gives the tenant all right of tenancy, which includes ALL LAWFUL ACTIVITY. In other words, if the owner can legally do it, so can you. Unless the landowner spells out specific "no no's" in advance, ANY lawful activity is something you can do.
    As to renting out the shooting facility to others (you're already not keen on that, so it may not become an issue) you would actually be "subletting" partial use of the property, something you are, in general, NOT allowed to do without the owner's permission. Unless the lease specifically states you CAN sublet, you cannot. The sublet permission will, unless specifically restricted, allow you to charge any person for any lawful use of the property. Again, if its legal, it can be sublet.... IF subleasing is permitted.

    Most landlords won't have any problem giving permission for you to sublet, say, an extra bedroom to a second tenant, or, say, part of a barn or outbuilding for storage. Involving firearms, though, I'd be a real terror and insist the "guests" (actually, paying tenants) carry their OWN personal liability insurance, and that the policy NAMES you as specifically indemnified for the actions/errors/commissions/omissions of the "tenant".
    Now, having some friends whom you know and trust come round for an afternoon of directed noisemaking, that would be a horse of a nother colour. But collecting money for the priviledge, be CAREFULLLLLL......

    If discharging a firearm on the specific property you rent would be legal activity for the owner, it will also be legal for you. With or without his permission... unless his lease specifically states no firearms right on the paper. In which case, he's likely not YOUR landlord anyway. IF shooting is legal on that piece of dirt, the neighbours and landlord can say/do nothing to restrict or limit it. Except, there are ordinances in Clark County that would restrict such noisy activities to certain hours..... but you'd not be shooting at two ayem anyway, so no bother.

    I WOULD, as a matter of courtesy, go ahd chat up the near neighbours, apprising them of your plans to do a bit of shooting, and don't worry about it, you've taken care the rounds can't go astray, nor near any sensitive areas. Such as their house, barn, cow pasture, kids.... who knows, you may well find a neighbour that is keen on firearms, and may already have a safe area set up for his own use. He'd likely invite you over to share it.... thus alleviating ALL the issues of landlord, the labour to set up your own safe situation, that sort of thing.

    One other thing... I know anywhere in Washington, if any animal is stalking, threatening, or harrassing your livestock, you may shoot to kill with no warning, and with no consequences. Washington is one of those states that has a "stock law" on the books. I lived in Clark County years ago, raised ducks and geese. Awoke one morning to the sound of agitated geese... and saw a large German shepherd driving half a dozen ganders into a fence corner. My /2 carbine put one hole in him, and as he ran back toward his home, I hit him at least three more times. A few hours later the county sheriff came round asking "hey, what was all the shootin here all about early this morning?" A dog was after my geese, so I shot him I THINK I hit him, maybe three or four times. "I told that lady that if her dog was after your geese, I wasn't even going to come back and tell her". He also told me I did, indeed, hit him.... he died shortly after arriving back home. Not bad work for a Ruger 10/22 at 150 yards......
     
  9. SheepDog223

    SheepDog223 Salem Well-Known Member

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    You can not shoot within an urban growth boundry. You are not required to ask your landlord about shooting on the land. Any laws one breaks is between him or her and the law enforcement agency. Backstop is a great idea. That, you would probably need to ask your landlord about if you planned on making a dirt berm. I'd double check this stuff, but this is how my mindset would be heading into it.
     
  10. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    You can not shoot within an urban growth boundry.

    perhaps in Oregon this would apply, but I live in Thurston County Washington, within the urban growth boundary (which absolutely stinks, but they made those rules after I got this place), and I know absolutely this is NOT a no shooting Zone. Surest way to find out whether a specific property is within a no shooting zone is the county ordinance itself, and the county's GIS mapping utility. You can select from various menus all the special use areas, zoning classifications, wetlands, streams, anything else that has a geographic boundary of any sort. I can't speak for Oregon's laws on this subject, but Washington I do know, cause I live here and am affected by all that nonsense. The folks who make up the urban grown boundaries are a different lot than those who decide where one may/mayn't discharge firearms.
    '
    Of course, I've little doubt they will, eventually, restrict THAT activity along with the rest, they've tried many times to ban shooting here, but there is too much livestock and farming activity, and the locals keep tabs on the county monkeys and put a halt to every attempt to ban shooting here. So, for now.... and hopefully, before they get round to adding shooting to the long list of forbidden activities, I'll have managed to remove myself from their treacherous grasp and control.....
     
  11. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Nice setup.. I am paying more money than that to be stuck in a residential neighborhood with no land. :( Quest DSL usually should do the job. Verizon DSL sucks from my experience.. They told me I would get 3000kbps at a place I moved and it ended up being only 250kbps. I quit that service right away.


    Actually, I am planning on probably relocating back to Oregon. My business is based there and seeing that Washington has bit more draconian gun laws than Oregon, I think it be better bet. I just lose out on the benefits of no state income tax, which may soon end anyway. However, if I find a good place in WA, maybe I would consider that instead.


    You know I am wondering about this. Almost everyone on another gun forum told me I better tell the landlord. I am wondering if I can face some legal repercussions if I am caught firing on the landlord. Perhaps he can consider firing on his land as damagin to the land and can even file a lawsuit. I am thinking it may be best to have it in writing from the landlord that he would accept me building a private range on the property. Seeing, that having your own shooting range has enough legal loopholes, I think I would be worried if I get on bad terms with the landlord. After resarching and discussing with others, I think I would probably have to notify them, even though legally, I may have the right, but these days it seems people are getting sued for anything and I don't want a court battle for any reason.

    It really sucks.. I am told that a lot of anti-gun mentality is going through state of Oregon and Washington. Even the Douglas Ridge rifle range that I am planning on visiting is getting sued by some people in the area, accusing them of damaing the environment. Its a bogus lawsuit, but it goes to show you that its real tough out here in Pacific NW to be able to freely discharge your guns without nosy libs or antis coming after you.

    Well, I have more research to do. Maybe I will post a "Rental Wanted" ad or something. Maybe I can even rent a piece of land near a residence I will live. That way the place i am shooting and renting won't be on same land, but near by. I am thinking if I want to achieve the freedom I want, I may have to move out to the no mans land in Eastern Oregon :(. Well I know if I seek I shall find, just have to keep looking, I have plenty of time and not obliged to move out right away where I am at. I really love mountains and was hoping I could get some area to shoot around Mt Hood, Columbia Gorge, but there just doesn't seem to be much available around there, too much urban growth and no-shoot zones popping up.
     
  12. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    I know some folks in rural Skamania County (isn't it ALL rural?) who have no issues with shooting in their area, on their own property or close by. There are also large tracts of land open for such activities. Rents in that area are relatively cheap, as it's a ways from Hood River and the tourist trap made famous by the Gorge Scenic Area. Of course, if you WORK on the Portland side, you've sentenced yourself to a hefty commute... not bad now fuel prices are down again (how long?) and traffic is reduced. But what a pain to drive an hour each way? All part of why I'm so set on developing my own business which I can run from home. Once established, I can move anywhere the Brown Truck goes... and trust me, it won't be Washington OR Oregon.....
     
  13. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, well I love the beauty of the Pacific NW, but now some of the fascist liberal laws that rule over us around here. So, if I may ask, what are a few places you would go if you had a home business? BTW.. I am also working for a home business, from my home. Meaning, right now I have a home based job and can live about anywhere I have high speed internet. I am working on having my own home based business in the future. I have considered many times of leaving this place, but moving always seems like a hassle.

    Also, it seems a majority of the states in USA where you have more freedom have real crappy weather or lack in scenery, activities, etc. I know Colorado seemed interesting to me, but I hear people from Rep of Kaliforniastan have invaded it and have been pushing their agenda and doing all they can to socialize the state. I am not really too hot on living in Montana, Wyoming, Alaska or North Dakota were I get to enjoy a nice 5 month winter with temps below 0F everyday :(.

    As far as I know the once free states, like Texas has been overruned by illegalas and liberals from Kaliforniastan and New Yorkistan and have recently seen some strict anti-gun legislation in the state. Arizona and FLorida are the two places when I think good weather, but so many minorities have settled in these states and they have perhaps some of the highest crime in the c9ountry now. How nice that these people have turned our American paradises into 3rd world trashheaps.
     
  14. Redrum

    Redrum Portlandia Active Member

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    if you build a shooting range on rental property and the Landlord doesnt know about...you run a very good chance at the very least of getting evicted when he finds out..and he will find out...in Oregon thats a 30 day notice and your out.

    things to think about....

    insurance IE who gonna get the sued if an accident happens...normaly its the property owner..If your landlord carries insurance does the insurance company know about the range? is it part of his premium?

    lead...lead is a hazzardous material...make a designated range and even the smallest amount of lead in the ground can cause a HUGE problem for your Landlord..esp if hes trying to sell the place. think about when the realitor takes anti-gun John Q public on a tour of the place because hes looking to buy it..or when the tax man comes by to do an assesment.

    If I was your Landlord and you put a range on my property without asking me or getting my permission. I would think hard about burying you in the backstop when I found out...if you catch my drift

    doing anything to someone elses property without consulting them is just looking to get yourself jammed up.
     
  15. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    4freedom, you do raise some valid concerns... but also some I take to be bogus. Yes, the weather in some of the still open places is worse than Siberia. Personally, I am being forced to relocate from the property I now own, as local regs restrict home based business so much if they knew what I was using now (square footage way over legal limit) they COULD shut me down. I am just thinking, since I have to suffer the misery of a move ANYWAY, why not figure out where I'd be in good shape and REALLY move? Our fascist/socialist state government has made small business to miserable in Washington, if I move at all it WILL be out of this crazy state.

    As to the "illegals", well, I've a different take than some. Sure, in the huge cities they do seem to bring crime, gangs, trash, etc and infest the area. BUT-- in the more rural areas, those that do settle there are into peacefully blending into the surrounding culture, and they are often very hardworking, moral, friendly folks. I LOVE latin culture, and I've been around it a fair bit. They are, as a group, wonderful people. Outside the major cities I don't see that as much of an issue. MY take... others may have differing results.

    Texas is a very interesting mixed bag... sure, some of their laws are rather restrictive. I've not heard much specific about there being an increase in anti-gun sentiment. In fact, quite the opposite. Remember the fracas a few months ago when a school district decided their teachers and staff SHOULD all take gun safety classes, get CWP's, and carry concealed.. ON school property and during school hours? Teachers unions and brady wackos went ballistic over that one. Their answer? "there'll never be a Columbine or Virginia Tech in OUR school district". End of story. Texas state law has the suggestion that schools are gun free zones, but also provices for each local school district to treat the matter in the way they best see fit. CWP's are easy in that state, law enforcement folk generally tend to be quite accepting of firearms.... and they remain a way of life in many parts of the state. Now, head down to within ten miles of the Rio Grande, and nearer the cities on either side that ditch, and we've another story, but that's not TEXAS, that's poor decisions on the part of border patrol, homeland security, DEA, etc, not dealing with the drug import issues well enough. I know of a number of happy Texans who are as much into arms, keeping, bearing, using them, as anyone on here. And they see NO issues with Texas laws, politics, or practice.

    There are parts of Texas I might consider... mainly up in the north, toward Oklahoma and Missouri, the Panhandle hill country. Southwestern Missouri, Arkansas, northern Mississippi, none of these states have zoning laws in the open county, not much liberal influx, most are gorgeous country to see and live in, though one ought to be careful about elevation and proximity to large rivers and lakes. Keep well back from the ole' Miss..... or take high enough ground.

    Parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Carolinas, and the Virginias are wide open, no zoning, the liberal/socialist nonsense hasn't spread far from the DC area, and likely won't. I know some folks in some of these areas, and they love it. Others are looking into moving from where they are.

    Some issues I hold as important.. LACK of zoning/building/land use restrictions in open county areas. I will most likely NOT locate into any incorporated city, though I've examined the laws in a few, just to get the "lay of the land". City business license, $25/year. Dog license, seventy five cents. Yes, in 2008, less than a buck to hang a dog tag on yer mutt. Building permit for a residence, $100. commercial building, $200, if I recall. Must have had a problem with folks running a junkyard inside city limits, cause a license to run a junkyard inside the city is $60...... no further permits, fees, inspections, though there IS a requirement that it have a solid fence six feet high, nothing outside the fence, and can't stink. (must have had some old codger started one, the city annexed later, and someone didn't like it. Couldn't get rid of HIM, so they raised the fees through the roof (SIXTY BUCKS, are you NUTS???? Try opening one anywhere in Washignton State, you'd spend a hundred times that to get past the Dept of Ecology we've got, and likely never would get a permit for a new one anywhere in Washington).


    Anyway, I've been looking into such things fairly seriously for some time now.... most of these places will recognise a Washington CPL, no gun registration, few firearms restrictions (I will NOT locate into Illinois, nor New York, or any other state with a firearms registry or that requires a permit to buy/own arms. If I'm already somewhere and they manage to pass such laws, those who already have such things should be exempt, as they mostly apply to new acquisitions.

    Kansas and Oklahoma don't seem too bad as far as general attitudes and such, but I don't care for a place where the highest elevation for two hundred miles is the nearest freeway overpass. But, the folks are great, most places have few laws and restrictions, a live and let live attitude.... and respect the concept that a man can actually be the OWNER of his own property. Nanny state thinking is largely unkown in the sorts of places I am considering.
     
  16. 4Freedom

    4Freedom Boise, Idaho Well-Known Member

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    :p And I thought you be happy knowing that a man was utilizing his civil liberties and using his second amendment rights to the fullest. ;) J/K

    Yeah, in all truth, Redrum, I have already come to the conclusion that I must ask the landlord and get full written permission from both him and the sheriff in the area stating I have the legal right to shoot on the land and setup whatever type of private range I intend to setup. So, when I first posted this, I had no ideas about laws or the situation. I was completely ignorant. Yeah, after realizing and thinking deeper I know that I want this to be 100% legit and honored operaiton. Y eah, it sucks I cannot just go out and shoot my guns, I am realizing the world I live now. Also, I agree I am a responsible tenant and have had awesome rental history for last 10 yeears straight. I plan to keep it that way. I would always want to be on good terms with my landlords and keep the property the same condition as I left it.




    To Tionico,
    Sorry, I didn't mean to be offensive with anything I said about minorities. Yeah, I too like latin culture and many cultures around the world. You may be shocked but I have been to East and West Africa doing humanitarian work with churches and even was offered an opportunity go to shoot homemade guns in Ghana to go hunting for giant rats (aka grasscutter) that the people like to eat <YUCK>. Had to pass on that.

    Well, However, I am referring to all the illegal immigration and the culture of gang violence that is prevelant amongst some members of our minority community. Yeah, I have to admit if you study statistics where there is higher number of minorities in concentrated urban areas there is lot higher incidence of crime. I did the research and confirm it. Portland has lowest rate of minorties of almost any major city and also the lowest violent crime rate, coincidence, dunno, maybe.

    Anyhow, I respect all people and all cultures and have friends from different countries. Actually, I have some friends I met from Ethiopian church in Portland and they are very peaceful people and their communities are very upbeat and safe, despite being minorities. Actually when certain slums in Wash DC became populated Ethiopian areas, as they migrated in and others migrated out, the crime rate dropped dramatically.



    Oh well back to the topic:
    Well,, you know seeing whats going on in the state, especially with our liberal dictator ruling Seattle who is planning to ban all guns in our most important city in the region, as well as the fact guns are banned in the most beautiful scenic areas I wish I coudl go, Mt Rainer NP and Olympic NP, I feel inspired to leave the state altogether.

    Really, I am a mountain and forest lover. Oregon/WA should have been ideal, since they have the best of both worlds. They have mountains and plenty of range surrounding them. But liberal nazis came and decided they will rule it with an iron fist and forsake our freedom to fulfill their totalitarian/socialist desires.

    I cannot do it for while, don't have money for a cross country move, but I think it may be on the agenda. Well, there is just no way I can live in areas that get tornadoes and are just flat empty farmland. It would be great if I was rasing livestock, or perhaps wanted a shooting range :paranoid: . Well , the latter I like, but I just don't want to go to the land of Oz and my business with it. Don't think I really would appreciate the winter in those plains either.. Too dang long and cold and summers are wet and hot. Okie, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, are off my list.

    Well some of the interesting places you mention that have good gun laws that I will look into are the Virginias and Carolinas. They have magnificent scenery that almost can match our Pacific NW scenery, lots of hiking, trails mountains and not the liberal in your face attitude that goes with it. And Virginia and Carolinas have nice weather. I don't mind the heat, since I work indoors and have AC. The cold gets to me though, all these long grey days. I hear South Carolina and Charlotte has bit of a crime problem, once again I think demographic play a role in this. Sure the small towns/countryside are lot better/safer.