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Old 03-13-2010, 12:52 AM   #1
J_L_B
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Default Legal question: Is it legal to shoot your bow within the city limits

I live in Dallas, Texas;

Want to know if it is legal to shoot your bow on your private property within the city limits. I have asked the local police station and they said NO it was not legal. I have now researched the city ordinances and found this not to be crystal clear. A fire arm is not the same as a bow and arrow. I have asked some neighbors of mine which are attorneys and they say there is no specific ordinance to prevent you from shooting your bow (target practice) within the city limits of Dallas. As long as you are not shooting it in a threatening manner.

What does everyone else think or know about this? What about other cities out there?

Very confused on this issue....
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:55 AM   #2
Blood Trail
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In Tarrant Co. you gotta be 500ft from a residental dwelling.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:50 AM   #3
Wudstix
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Most cities classifiy a bow as a weapons and it is illegal to discharge a weapon within city limits.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:50 AM   #4
J_L_B
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How did you find that in your county? I have read through the city ordinances but not Dallas County (?). Where do you go to find this type of information.

Thanks!!
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:53 AM   #5
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One thing that I have learned is that LEO's don't always know the law. This is not a slight towards them, most of my family are LEO's. It's just that the penal code book is thicker than two bible's. No human could possibly know everything that's in it and it changes often.
Don't do it unless you know for a fact that you are legal and you better be able to show proof. I would also make sure that there was no way that my arrows could do any harm. If you have a lawyer telling you that it's ok, then make them provide proof and see if they will be willing to represent you pro-Bono if they are wrong.

Last edited by Geezy Rider; 03-13-2010 at 01:55 AM..
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:18 AM   #6
Tuffbroadhead
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Every City is different, just shoot behind your house and you'll be just fine...
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:00 AM   #7
tvc184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allaround View Post
One thing that I have learned is that LEO's don't always know the law. This is not a slight towards them, most of my family are LEO's. It's just that the penal code book is thicker than two bible's. No human could possibly know everything that's in it and it changes often.
Don't do it unless you know for a fact that you are legal and you better be able to show proof. I would also make sure that there was no way that my arrows could do any harm. If you have a lawyer telling you that it's ok, then make them provide proof and see if they will be willing to represent you pro-Bono if they are wrong.
That is a fact on both counts. As a 26 year officer myself, I don't know all of the laws but know the ones that I commonly deal with. Target shooting arrows is not a commonly dealt with law. I am not even sure of the laws on that in my own city but I know where to look it up.

Lawyers are roughly in the same position. They aren't particularly adept at knowing the law either unless it is a law that they frequently deal with like maybe a lawyer that specializes in DWI. Ask a lawyer a question and more than likely he will pull out a book and start looking it up... which more officers should do rather than answering what they think may be the answer.

I always like to see it in writing before I make a decision or tell someone an answer rather than stick with "I think" or "maybe" kind of answers.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:32 AM   #8
thebowhunters
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I'm in Williamson co., city of Austin, so I called the Sheriffs office and he was not completely sure so he asked his supper and called me back that it was ok to discharge a bow but you are 100% responsible for the projectile.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:35 AM   #9
DorothyNotKeegan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuffbroadhead View Post
Every City is different, just shoot behind your house and you'll be just fine...
I did this and had Arlington PD at my house "suggesting" I didn't shoot my bow in the backyard because I might hit something.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:11 AM   #10
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I shoot in my back yard but I have a 10ft fence and my neighbors are cool. I have a backstop and then a 3/4 inch plywood board as the last resort. I don't think it is legal in my city, but I don't know.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:28 AM   #11
thorthunder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medic151 View Post
I shoot in my back yard but I have a 10ft fence and my neighbors are cool. I have a backstop and then a 3/4 inch plywood board as the last resort. I don't think it is legal in my city, but I don't know.
Me 2

Serious back stop is important...
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:32 AM   #12
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What do you use for a backstop?
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:40 AM   #13
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I spent many years shooting in the back yard when we lived in Dallas........I didn't have a clue that it would have been illegal.


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Old 03-13-2010, 08:31 AM   #14
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Not allowed in Casper, WY.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:41 AM   #15
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I set up my target in the back end of my garage and have some plywood and foamboard as my backstop. Makes me feel better knowing that if a premature realease happens, the arrow won't fly into my neighbors home.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:41 AM   #16
BigL
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Check the city to see if there is a law against shooting a projectile. That's how they usually include archery equipment in the law.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:11 AM   #17
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I do it beside my house,stand on sidewalk for 18 yards,in street for 20 and middle of street for 25,standing on sidewalk across street(school sidewalk) for 30! Never had any problem...yet!
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLoving1 View Post
I do it beside my house,stand on sidewalk for 18 yards,in street for 20 and middle of street for 25,standing on sidewalk across street(school sidewalk) for 30! Never had any problem...yet!
I do something similar to this. In the driveway for 20-30. In the street for 40. I live in a neighborhood smack-dab in the middle of Houston and thought I might have some issues with the people on either side of me. They were really cool about it surprisingly. Nobody seems to care as long as they can tell that you know what you are doing.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:44 AM   #19
kevin01
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I live in Saginaw, just north of Ft. Worth and it is not legal here. I looked it up in the city ordinances and they specifically put in Archery equipment as well as BB guns, so it is a no go here.
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:09 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebowhunters View Post
I'm in Williamson co., city of Austin, so I called the Sheriffs office and he was not completely sure so he asked his supper and called me back that it was ok to discharge a bow but you are 100% responsible for the projectile.
I think if you are inside the Austin city limits APD would have jurisdiction, even if you are also in Williamson Co.
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:21 AM   #21
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no one cares in porter, montgomery county. i shoot it my own yard.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:39 PM   #22
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It would be found in the city ordinace. Not the penal code. If it states you cannot discharge a weapon you can not shoot your bow. If it says firearm you are ok. Unless they get a complaint.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:19 PM   #23
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Just keep it discrete and there shouldn't be a problem. Gives you a new reason to make your bow as quiet as possible
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:43 PM   #24
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Where are you looking? If your local Po-Po said, "no, no" I would probably not give them the opportunity. It only took one dumb archer in my town to have an ordinance written and passed through city council about 2 years ago. A neighbor behind him asked stated, "I don't mind you shooting, just please don't do it when my kids are in the back yard." Which the so called archer promptly replied, "my backyard, I can do whatever I want!"
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Old 03-13-2010, 02:05 PM   #25
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Even if you find the law is ambiguous, and the police don't really care, I'd be concerned about what the neighbors think. I do shoot at 15 yds. in my backyard with a really solid backstop and 8-ft. fencing. I never shoot when I can hear people in their backyard in the direction I shoot. No problems for two years now.

But if the backyard neighbor ever expressed concern, I think I'd like to show her my set-up, and have her watch me shoot before doing anything else (roughly 12,000 arrows so far, never having missed the cardboard, much less the butt). But if she were still adamant, I'd likely stop. No point in inviting a lawsuit or having neighborhood discord.
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Old 03-13-2010, 02:12 PM   #26
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Each city is different. Even if you discover that it is allowed try to be discreet about it. What your neighbor doesn't know doesn't hurt him. I shoot in my backyard but honestly would be a little nervous if I found out that my neighbor was doing it. It's kinda like driving a little fast or in poor road conditions. It's a lot easier to be comfortable with it when you are the one behind the wheel. Make sure you have a good backstop such as a storage shed or something else large and solid.
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Old 03-13-2010, 02:40 PM   #27
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:01 PM   #28
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stay inside my privacy fence. Can get out to 30 and 40 if I shoot at an angle. Haven't had a problem but don't know if it is illegal.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:37 PM   #29
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both my neighbors are hunters. no problem here. i make sure no kids are out though. and i shoot at an angle so if i miss its not goin in their yard. i have a drainage ditch behind me with no houses.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:08 PM   #30
J_L_B
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Thanks guys for the great input on this question.

I have got a good wooden fence in the backyard and will look into a better backstop situation.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:24 PM   #31
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Here is what our ordinance says about " weapons" I was looking for bow, archery, and or arrow(s) before. This says a "weapon" desoigned to shoot a "cartridge". An arrow is NOT a cartridge RIGHT?

Quote: Dallas City Code, online from City Hall

SEC. 31-4. DISCHARGING A FIREARM IN A PRIVATE PLACE.
(a) A person commits an offense if he discharges a firearm, rifle, shotgun, automatic rifle, revolver, pistol, or other weapon designed for the purpose of firing or discharging a shell or cartridge, in a place not customarily open to the public, whether the shell or cartridge is blank or live ammunition.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the person was a law enforcement peace officer acting in the performance of his official duties;

(2) the person was at a shooting range operated by an agency of the United States government, State of Texas, or a political subdivision of the state, or which is privately operated if approved by the police department;

(3) the person was using blank cartridges for a show or theatrical production, or for signal or ceremonial purposes in athletics or sports, or by a military organization; or

(4) the person was acting in a self-defense or justifiable or excusable homicide situation. (Ord. 14971)
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:58 PM   #32
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I live in Hurst/Fort Worth, have both city officers driving throught the community. Have had both of them drive by me when i was shooting at the end of my diveway into my garage. Hurst stopped to see what i was shootng at and was taking my idea so he cold shoot at his house cause he said this was the safest way he has seen anyone shooting in the city. Fort Worth just drove by and waved, this was at 11pm and the other was at 4pm.
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:04 PM   #33
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Its legal when no one is looking......its illegal when you get caught! hehe
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