Sandpit shooting target of firearm ordinance | RecordCourier.com

Sandpit shooting target of firearm ordinance

There have been many times when Gardnerville Ranchos residents have reported weapons fire coming from the south.

The sand pits south of Douglas County's largest community have long been a popular spot with shooters, which has been unpopular with residents.

On Thursday, Douglas County commissioners approved the first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit shooting within 5,000 feet of homes and schools in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Douglas County ordinance prohibits shooting a rifle or pistol within 1,500 feet of any occupied dwellings. Firing shotguns or air rifles within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling is also prohibited. The modified ordinance adds bows to that ordinance. Under the first version of the ordinance, bow hunters may obtain permission of neighboring home owners to shoot closer.

Deputy District Attorney Zach Wadlé said the bow portion of the ordinance was added in response to an incident that occurred where a bowhunter killed a buck near a Genoa home.

He said the 5,000 foot radius is limited to the Gardnerville Ranchos and was designed to respond to residents' complaints.

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The ordinance received support from the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District and the U.S. Forest Service, which administers the sand pits.

Commissioner Dave Nelson said he fielded concerns from concealed carry weapons instructors who said they felt they couldn't conduct classes at the county shooting range.

He said he'd contacted Community Services Director Scott Morgan and that he'd bring back what he learned when the ordinance returns for its second reading.

Capt. Dan Coverley said the ordinance was discussed by the sheriff's office.

He said the U.S. Forest Service said it would provide signs to show where shooting would be prohibited.

"It needs to be marked or how else would you know," he said.

One issue brought up by both Coverley and East Valley resident Devere Henderson was the use of an air rifle to kill nuisance animals.

"We consider killing nuisance animals like squirrels to be protecting life or property and covered under that exemption to the ordinance," Coverley said.