Can I shoot in My Backyard in Florida?

Is shooting on my private property in Florida legal?

I have been a firearms instructor for over 10 years. Over that time, I have seen changes to many of our gun laws. With guns, it is essential to remember that it is our responsibility to understand the law.

florida

Students and friends routinely ask me, “can target shoot on private property here in Florida?”

The relevant Florida statute is 790.15

Residents, homeowners, and lawful gun owners can not shoot firearms on the private property of homes in residential neighborhoods where the land is less than one acre.

However, with gated communities or ‘zero lot land,' things are different. You cannot shoot in your backyard unless:

  1. the land is 1.25 acres
  2. have one home (or more)
  3. and your surrounding neighbors have one acre or more

Of course, even though it is legal to do so, you need to think about:

  1. Shoot safely
  2. Shoot responsibly
  3. Ensure your ammunition will not injure or kill someone on neighboring property

In almost every circumstance, you will want to shoot into a backstop that will catch the bullets.

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Building a backstop in your backyard:

There are many ways to build an acceptable backstop to shoot into. Search, and you will find specs and diagrams to suit your needs.

Although you can use many materials, sand and dirt are the cheapest and most accessible material to use in a backstop. Remember that bullets that hit rocks or hard objects can ricochet in unexpected directions. Naturally, this can be a significant safety concern for you and your neighbors. So make sure whatever material you use does not contain material that can cause ricochets.

Unfortunately, I live in a gated community with homes stacked on top of each other like sardines. Alas, my dream of sitting in my lawn chair while shooting bottles in my backyard will not happen. But your situation may be different.

Here is Flordia Statute 790.15

Discharging firearm in public or on residential property

(4) Any person who recreationally discharges a firearm outdoors, including target shooting, in an area that the person knows or reasonably should know is primarily residential, and that has a residential density of one or more dwelling units per acre, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

This subsection does not apply:

(a) To a person lawfully defending life or property or performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm;
(b) If, under the circumstances, the discharge does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk to life, safety, or property; or
(c) To a person who accidentally discharges a firearm.

It isn't just Florida gun law that changes. Gun laws in many states vary across the country every year. Some of these changes are substantial and can have huge ramifications if unknown.

I am working on answering the question about shooting on your property for each of the 50 states. If you want to know the law in Texas, check out this link.

We have an unbelievably helpful resource for any gun owner, especially those who travel. We haven app that is totally free and provides so much more than just up-to-date legal info for every state.

Check out the Concealed Carry Gun Tool App here.

Gun Safety Course!gun safety course

If you know someone new to guns or needs a refresher course on safety, I highly recommend checking out and sharing our Gun Safety Course. It presents gun safety from a self-defense perspective and is totally free!

 

 

About Jay Lacson

Jay Lacson is an NRA instructor since 2008 living in Florida. He served honorably 3 years in the US Navy and 6 years with the US Army as an MP, held the rank of Sergeant and served as a handgun instructor while assigned with the Army. Jay also served 6 years as a correctional officer and 9 years as a federal law enforcement officer with DHS. Jay has over 20 years of professional firearms experience and training to include USPSA Limited division competitive shooter, an ammunition reloader (he loves the Dillion) and a Glock armorer. "Prepare the battlefield for success."

39 Comments

  1. Jonnea on August 25, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    I water my plants along 271 feet of my stockade fence and then the renter neighbor on his 1.25 acre land shoots off his gun on his side of the fence startling me, In which I assume was on purpose, I guess he has the right to do so , what say you?

    • Matthew Maruster on August 26, 2023 at 12:08 am

      What makes you think he did it purposely to startle you? Have you had issues with him? Have you talked to him about it? Maybe you two could talk it out and figure out a simple way that he could let you know he will be out shooting? Maybe send you a text, put up a sign you could see or something simple like that. When I was a LEO I was dispatched to many calls that could have been handled of the neighbors just talked to one another. If you’ve tried that and failed, try talking to the land lord.

      • Susette Reid on January 27, 2024 at 1:44 pm

        Unfortunately the law in this state concerning shooting on your property does NOT in away protect the residents living around someone who chooses to shoot on a small 1.25 acres of property. I support the second amendment completely. But I also believe in the right for neighbors to be outside on their own property or sitting in their home being scared that a bullet may come their way. There needs to be safety laws when handling any type of weapon. And ANYONE who knows a smidgen on gun safety would know that it is unsafe to discharge a weapon that close to a neighbors home. They would know that despite their best to be safe, they are still putting lives in danger. At times a bullet can hit something and ricochet. You NEVER know what can happen, no matter how safe you try to be. I love to hunt and I love to shoot. I own many guns, and NEVER would I endanger the lives around me. It’s like driving a car you can be the safest driver on the road, one little glance out your window could result in an accident and possibly the death of someone. And these laws like this and someone shot, you have just given the democratic liberals another reason to push for gun control. We need to push for our 2nd Amendment, and being a responsible gun owner is the only way we can win. Wake up people.

        • Zair on May 20, 2024 at 8:28 pm

          I wish everybody would think like you 👏🏼

    • Michael on September 9, 2023 at 11:53 am

      Sounds like you’re doing a lot of assuming and guessing. Maybe try acting like a reasonable adult and have a conversation with the person. It’s not a crime to startle you, and one’s rights don’t change because they are a renter. What say you?

    • edwin reynolds on September 23, 2023 at 11:20 am

      I think the noise pollution is horrible and the lack of community civility a testament of a growing population of mean people.

      Edwin

    • Jerry Davis on November 19, 2023 at 12:06 pm

      Unless you have been a horrible nosy neighbor why would any neighbor go to the trouble to startle you on purpose? He probably doesn’t pay any attention to you. You probably aren’t worth startling in the
      nieighbor’s mind and just aren’t important to him.

      • Susette Reid on February 8, 2024 at 7:07 am

        That is the problem, it doesn’t matter whether or not if he is doing it to startle their neighbor. It seems to me IF you are responsible gun owner, (which shooting on a 1.25 is not being responsible) you wouldn’t out other lives in danger. No matter how careful you are, bad things do happen. If you think it is OK to shoot in a area where your neighbors home is less then 60 yards away and their domesticated animals are less the 25 yards away, and that isn’t just a neighbor on one side. When you have homes on each side of you (meaning each side including front back, diagonal, across the road) no more than 85 yards away in most of the homes. You have people doing yard work, or just sitting out enjoying a nice day, or children outside playing. WHY should your neighbors have to stay in the house because of fear they will get shot. They own that land and they should able to be any where on their land without fearing they will be shot by their neighbor who doesn’t respect the people around them. AND does not care enough about themselves, their children, or their family in general. I totally support the 2nd Amendment. I own quite a few firearms myself. I love shooting and I am damn good at it. But I would never risk somebody else’s life to have a little fun shooting round after round into the ground or paper plates through out on my property. And this excuse that they can’t afford to go to ranges, I call bullshit. Ammo is not cheap, having an arsenal of guns is not cheap. So if your well off to afford all the guns and ammo you are buying and shooting into the ground you can afford a gun range. Is it because people who get off shooting bullets into are not capable of hitting a target 5 feet from them, or they are embarrassed to go to the range because the people around them have more skill at shooting because they are taught to be responsible gun owner, and have no reason to hide out on their property and shoot into the ground. Someone who is willing to take people’s life in their own hands and are no better than the people who are just shooting people for fun. If you knowingly shoot that close to people should be considered a murder and be held account for injuring or worse killing some one. People who think it is their right to shoot that close to people and buy more and more guns to do it. They are thinking how tough they are because they own guns and take peoples lives in their hands. They are not tough at all, they are weak people, uncaring, irresponsible and just complete idiots. Oh and not to forget a combat soldier as a neighbor who has PTSD and thinks they are being shot at and shoots back. I guess you all believe that is OK too. Just to be clear, I am very much a responsible right wing citizen. Freedom is not being able to not have some laws. So before you say it’s YOUR right, think about the rights rights that YOU take away from people around you!

        • Renee on April 9, 2024 at 12:07 pm

          I am reading all this because my dream has been ruined because the neighbor to our dream house likes to “shoot at the berms.” And even though he owns like an acre and a quarter the properties are long not wide and our yards are too close for comfort even with his wooden fence. So now we can’t put in an offer on this house. I cried! I love this house so much and we were so close! I have 3 kids 7 and under and it’s too risky I guess. I suggested a bullet proof fence to my husand I was so desperate and have bo experience with guns so thought there has to be a solution. So frustrating that this guy’s hobby is ruining it for us. He’s probaby a reasonable guy, but my husbnd is still too nervous. No wonder the house has been on the market for 9 months! Any suggestions?

          • Matthew Maruster on April 15, 2024 at 6:36 pm

            I’m sorry to hear that Renee. Have you tried talking to your neighbor and seeing if he is willing to move a bit further away from your house when he shoots, or maybe work out something where he only shoots certain times or days? Neighbor disputes can quickly get out of hand and sometimes reasonable people can come to agreements. Just a suggestion. I hope you guys can work it out.



  2. Chaplin on September 1, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    Oh my God. All you need is at least 1.25 acres to live the dream of shooting in your backyard like Hickok45? In Mississippi and Alabama it’s 50 freaken acres. Looks like Florida is where I’m moving (not joking). Though I must admit, since I’m a very considerate neighbor I would feel bad blasting out my neighbors knowing they have to hear it. I would have to send out group texts whenever I’m going to shoot and most of the time shoot silenced .22lr. But there will be days I go AR15 / pistol / shotgun crazy.

    • Ur friend on September 20, 2023 at 11:46 pm

      U sound like my type of friend brother

      • Ur friend on September 20, 2023 at 11:48 pm

        Chaplin

      • Darlene on November 16, 2023 at 6:31 pm

        I have a question regarding poisonous snakes. We’re sure we have a large rattlesnake in the back yard. Are we allowed to defend ourselves? We’re planning on searching for it . I don’t want to break the law

  3. Leo on October 23, 2023 at 2:05 am

    Its No Funny, having a rude neighbor here in East Orlando with no consideration. At least 3 or 4 times a month shooting in his back yard. Its so stressful see my Autistic son cover his hears not hear the loud noise from different type of guns including rifle with Hight capacity and my wife ask to leave our home because she also have PTSD with his brother murder.

    Looking to get a peaceful place to live out of town or city, no shooting, our crimes, just to find out that in my property of 2 acres, on those days sound like a war zone. And the sad thing, THIS IS ALLOW.

    Why don’t go to a range and have all the fun in there with his buddy????

    • Jason on November 4, 2023 at 4:32 pm

      Bro, Hates America can is pro vaccine clearly (hench vax injury child, very sad by the way)… Also Bolt Action and Semi Automatic make the same boom sound when fire. Obviously not much gun knowledge and doesn’t the second amendment liberals are so predictable.

      • Adam on November 20, 2023 at 1:11 pm

        You seem brain dead

    • Ron on November 10, 2023 at 1:24 pm

      Sorry, but this was almost incoherent! Words capped that shouldn’t be, Word salads missing key words and your wife’s “his brother”, Florida is a 2nd Amendment state. Don’t like it move to Chicago or some other democrat metropolitan area, they have gun laws that don’t stop the killing by criminals. Only criminals have guns in leftist states like that.

    • Jerry Davis on November 19, 2023 at 12:00 pm

      Why don’t go to a range and have all the fun in there with his buddy?
      Cost could be a big factor. It is $15 to $20 to go to the range plus .38 $1,00 per bullet. That might be why these folks choose to live out on 1.5-5 acers. He can have fdriends over and watch the game and shoot during half time.

      • T. Gill on January 2, 2024 at 6:10 am

        I reload ammo myself. Quicker and cheaper to load up a handful of rounds and test them in my back yard (2 1/4 acres) than drive fifteen minutes away, pay the day fee for the newly built public gun range, wait for everyone to stop shooting and talking long enough to get a cold range to put up target, etc. I dealt with that one time at the Lake City free public gun range. I spent more time at the range trying to get guys to stop talking after shooting to have a cold range than it took to effectively sight in one hunting scope.

    • Lee G on November 25, 2023 at 12:39 pm

      I agree 100%. I have Horses and clients that board and ride at my facility. My new neighbor feels the need to blast his guns at all hours of the day, everyday! Startling animals and riders. I asked for a text message to warn us when he plans to shoot, he says that he doesn’t have to do that. Where is my right to a peaceful life on my property??? Who will protect my horses and their riders from injury?
      Go to a gun range like I do and have and blast away. Gun rules need to be changed in south Florida….period!

      • Thomas Goodenl on December 1, 2023 at 1:06 pm

        So you can enjoy your hobby but your neighbor should not be allowed to enjoy theirs.Gun rules are fine maybe you should look into changing your to
        address.like we say up here if you want rule the whole neighborhood you better buy the whole neighborhood!

      • Leo on December 1, 2023 at 11:35 pm

        ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ! with Lee G

        Where is my right to a peaceful life on my property???

        Just a bunch of conservative’s that take the second amendment like God’s “words”
        Pathetic !

      • Kriss Vector45 on January 18, 2024 at 4:51 pm

        MERCA….

      • Brian on March 5, 2024 at 8:45 am

        Classic liberals, lol if they don’t agree with it then it shouldn’t be allowed. But this is America and fortunately this is a free country where we have a choice. If you dont like freedom or choices you should try China or maybe Chicago.

    • Jon on November 30, 2023 at 5:21 pm

      Because he has a yard…

    • TRivers on December 25, 2023 at 8:39 am

      Agree, I live in an Equestrian Community in Loxahatchee and the horse owners have pleaded to be considerate of the animals sensitive ears and the fear and anxiety it gives them. Let alone the consideration to the neighbors. I own firearms and family has for generations, military honored veterans, but there is definitely protocol and courtesy in being a RESPONSIBLE gun owner and just plane inconsiderate.

      Holidays are torture around here for dogs, cats, birds, horses, goats, chickens, cows, squirrels, raccoons, fox, coyotes, bunnies ……. 2nd amendment rights have gone too far.

      GO TO DESIGNATED PARKS FOR FIREWORKS….

      And GUN RANGES TO TARGET SHOOT.

      Simple solution, no accidental shootings or burns, it’s all good man!

    • dale on February 6, 2024 at 7:34 pm

      There are several reasons for not shooting at a commercial range. Cost, cant shoot from draw at most, double taps not allowed. , if instructing others cant go cold range to talk. Its the sound of freedom . Talk to your neighbors work out a deal. I try to shoot during the week when most people are at work. I dont shoot more than an hour. not early or late.

  4. David Holmes on November 15, 2023 at 4:16 am

    Can an instructor teach classes on his personal range without it being deemed a commercial range and thus subject to county restrictions?

  5. Baron Hector on December 23, 2023 at 9:45 am

    My family home was built 100 years ago in the middle of 1000 acres. I a prime spot in Florida land became worth a fortune. Family sold it off bit by bit over the years, anything rather than get a job, lol. Now we are the old house on a cute 3 acres surrounded by expensive suburbia. Lovely families jogging and flying around on hoverboards etc.
    If I started using my right to fire my weapons off it would really start something. Lucky I am a good considerate neighbour and gun ranges are not expensive. If I ever get bored though????

  6. Harry Bostrom on December 29, 2023 at 8:17 am

    I live in Citrus Springs Florida in the semi developed area with less than one acre. I have neighbors on both sides of me and across the street in front of my house with no housing behind me but empty lots of trees for 2 miles. Can I target shoot into those woods?

    • Darren Williamson FHP on January 20, 2024 at 2:22 pm

      THIS ARTICLE IS WRONG!!Yes you can shoot because the law has this exemption: This subsection does not apply:
      (a) To a person lawfully defending life or property or performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm;
      (b) If, under the circumstances, the discharge does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk to life, safety, or property; or
      (c) To a person who accidentally discharges a firearm.

  7. Jay on January 2, 2024 at 5:38 am

    We have about 10 acres and one special occasion we shoot our guns on New Year’s Eve the cops came to our residence and told us to stop shooting I believe they can’t tell us to stop is a private property we have a lot of distance from our neighbors so please correct me if I’m wrong with a law or something that can back this up for next time when they come again thank

  8. T. Gill on January 2, 2024 at 6:03 am

    I had a neighbor call the cops on me for shooting in my back yard. We have 2 acre lots zoned rural and beyond the back stop is over a mile of state forest that has no trails or foot traffic. Cop came, saw the backstop of dirt 8 feet tall, and left me with a warning that state law requires the backstop to be at least ten feet tall. I know that is baloney! It isn’t a public shooting range!

  9. Darren W on January 17, 2024 at 11:30 am

    Well this article is incorrect…… Keep reading FS790.15 This subsection does not apply:

    (b) If, under the circumstances, the discharge does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk to life, safety, or property;

  10. Candy on January 25, 2024 at 11:30 am

    I have a neighbor that my husband and I have asked many times. To plz stop. Anyway everyday this isn’t me over Exaggerate everyday he shoots his guns. When does it gets my dogs and I have 7, crying barking and just going completely insane. When u have friends over n stuff I understand. I’ll just bring my dogs in. But now he see n has been spoken to about it n still does it. I’ve recorded me pleading with him to play stop n why it’s got to be everyday n all I get is cause I want to. What can I d?. Can I just call the cops? What will they do anything? Oh, this will happen at all times of the day. From morning to a few time 3 at night.

  11. BH on January 27, 2024 at 5:28 am

    The law as it exists now in Florida is very clear- more than one acre in an ungated community and shoot safely. If you violate this you are guilty period. This is very fair. An individual can shoot safely within these parameters and that is his/her right to do so. The backlash to the existing law is simple—Cancel Culture! Those against the existing law just DON’t like guns! So they try to cancel you and your comments/thoughts.

  12. Truth speaker on January 30, 2024 at 3:46 am

    Actually this article isn’t accurate. The requirement is 1acre and there’s no requirement for there to be a home on it (I think that part is just poor wording and not simply incorrect). Now, here’s the kicker. If you keep reading 790.15, down to (4)b it gives an exemption that allows for one to shoot on less than an acre of land.

    • Barry on February 23, 2024 at 10:52 am

      This is correct:
      This subsection does not apply:
      (a) To a person lawfully defending life or property or performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm;
      (b) If, under the circumstances, the discharge does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk to life, safety, or property; or
      (c) To a person who accidentally discharges a firearm.

      The kicker is who decides if it “does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk”. I can pretty much guarantee the police officer won’t, so you’ll be waiting for the judge’s decision.

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