More On Firearm Target Practice Laws In Chattanooga

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Re: What's The Law On Firearm Target Practice In Chattanooga 

Mr. Cloud,

I am also not a lawyer, but I have researched gun laws both as a gun owner and someone who lives in a subdivision where people shoot nearby. The code does not outright say "shooting is illegal", but the end result is the same.

To re-quote a few sentences:

(a) ... It shall further be unlawful to discharge a firearm ... wherein such discharge endangers adjacent or neighboring property, either public or private, or the owners or tenants thereof. It shall further be unlawful to discharge a firearm ... wherein such discharge disturbs nearby residents or businesses. 

(b) For the purposes of this section ... the term "disturbs" shall mean to create a loud or obnoxious noise; the term "endangers" shall mean to discharge a firearm in a manner that shot or projectiles cross or fall on other properties; and the term "nearby" shall mean any property within six hundred (600) feet of the point of firearm discharge.

The first sentence I quoted in (a) effectively makes it illegal to shoot if the projectile crosses property lines or if the shooter is standing within 600-ft of a property line (it doesn't say within 600-ft of a "house", it says "property" to include the possibility of endangering someone taking a walk in the woods). That rule covers most locations, and would probably cover yours. 

The second sentence gets everyone else. Suburbanites tend to think any gunfire is "disturbing", and one of your neighbors thought the gunfire was "disturbing" enough to call the police. Therefore it was unlawful. As the sound of gunfire can carry for miles, this effectively makes any unsuppressed outdoor shooting illegal within city limits.

Jason Kilgore


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