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AUDIO: Sheriff’s Office reminds residents about ordinances governing target shooting in congested areas


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With increased citizen concern regarding target shooting in congested areas, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents of county ordinances governing discharge of firearms in congested areas.

Washoe County Code 50.094 to 50.154 states that it is unlawful to discharge:

  • any gun, pistol, or rifle, with the exception of shotguns, air rifles, or B-B guns, within 5000 feet of an occupied dwelling.
  • shotguns, air rifles, or B-B guns within 1000 feet of an occupied dwelling.
  • a firearm from, upon, over or across any federal or state highway or any county road or highway.
  • a firearm within a Nevada State Park, unless otherwise designated by the Administrator.
  • within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, it is prohibited to discharge a firearm in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, or across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in a manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge, or into or within any cave.

If shooters follow those parameters; they are generally allowed to shoot in any area not designated as a “no shooting” or “congested area.”  It is important to reiterate three key points:

  • A “congested area” is a geographic location where discharge of any firearm is prohibited.  Because congested areas are generally densely populated, it has a high risk of personal injury.
  • A “restricted congested area” is a location where residents must be a minimum of 1000 feet from any occupied dwelling. In restricted congested areas, residents are allowed to discharge shotguns, air rifles and BB guns. A person is not allowed to discharge any gun, pistol, rifle or any other firearm in this area.
  • A “non congested area” is a location where residents must be 5000 feet away from an occupied dwelling. In these areas they may shoot guns, pistols, rifles, shotguns, air rifles, bb guns, or any other firearms.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office takes residents’ safety very seriously. The Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Washoe County and Reno Roads Departments, posts congested area signs and maps in areas of reported concern, warning that shooting in a congested area could result in heavy fines. The Sheriff’s Office is in the process of posting additional signage off of Hoge Road, Victory Lane, and Seneca Drive, all areas that lead into the Golden Valley area. Signage and maps are currently posted at:


  • Red Rock Pits
  • Areas north of Estates in Lemmon Valley
  • Areas east of Chickadee Dr. in Lemmon Valley
  • Kiowa Ponds are in Golden Valley
  • Hoge Road to Golden Valley
  • Hans Berry Drive near Golden Eagle Sports Complex


  • Mira Loma Pits off of Dessert Way
  • Serenity Pits in Galena

Residents are encouraged to practice safe shooting in established and lawfully authorized and licensed rifle ranges, gun clubs or shooting gallery’s.

If citizens have concerns about activity that may be illegal, or dangerous, they should immediately call the Sheriff’s Office at 785-WCSO (9276).

Residents can view the Congested Area Map by clicking HERE. The link will provide them with Washoe County Code, Chapter 50, and a live map or .pdf file highlighting restricted areas.



The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 25th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process, traditional street patrols and Regional Animal Services.

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