DCSO bans target practice at sand pits
Following complaints, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has erected “no shooting” signs in the sand pit area of the Gardnerville Ranchos.
Sgt. Lance Modispacher said some residents and school officials complained that people were using the sand pit area south of Tillman Lane for target practice, and although shooters may be the legal distance from residences, people felt endangered.
“There are several people that like to walk out that way,” Modispacher said. “You hope people are shooting in the proper directions, but it kind of makes you wary.”
Modispacher said people have used the area for target shooting for many years. As the Ranchos was developed, and more homes were built back toward the U.S. Forest Service land, the issue has caused more concern.
“That’s one of the main reasons we put in the shooting range. The same thing’s happening in Jacks Valley and Johnson Lane. It would be fine, but we’ve got people exercising their horses and walking their dogs,” Modispacher said.
He said that legally, people need to be 1,500 feet away from an occupied dwelling with a rifle or a handgun and 500 feet away with a shotgun.
Modispacher suggested people use the shooting range that was opened last year at the Douglas Disposal transfer station at the end of Pinenut Road.
The range is open whenever the transfer station is open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. DCSO asks that no one use the range when they are training in the mornings of the first Saturday and the first and second Wednesday of each month.
Scarselli Elementary School Principal Besty Palmer said she hasn’t heard shots being fired, but has seen people walking towards the area with guns.
“We’ve had people walking with guns out to the sand pits while school is in session and you have kids in school, you can see how it is a problem to have people with guns walking around the school,” she said.
Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School Principal Charlie Condron said the students sometimes use that area, creating a hazard.
“One of the issues is the students are in that area as part of our exercise program. They run back there, and the cross-country route is out there. When it’s nice, students often climb the hill during P.E. classes. We are out there and it just takes one stray bullet to cause a problem,” Condron said.