Can you legally shoot a gun in your backyard in the Hudson Valley?


Hearing gunshots in your neighborhood can be worrying, but is it illegal?

The Hudson Valley is changing. An influx of “city dwellers” who have fled the five boroughs for the peace and quiet of New York are more and more numerous. The Hudson Valley is in the midst of culture shock. People who have never mowed their lawns before live right next to neighbors who have no problem skinning and dressing a deer.

The sound of gunshots can elicit very different reactions in people, depending on where they grew up. Someone from Brooklyn may hit the bridge when they hear a gunshot in their neighborhood, while the person next door may just ignore it like a normal thing.

Is it legal to shoot a firearm on your own property?

In New York City, it is not legal to shoot a firearm in your backyard or on your own private property. In the Hudson Valley, however, it’s perfectly legal as long as it’s done far enough from other buildings, roads, and public spaces.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, it is illegal to discharge a firearm, bow or crossbow:

  • so that the load or boom passes over any part of a public road,
  • within 500 feet (for a firearm), 250 feet (for a crossbow) or 150 feet (for a bow) of an occupied school, playground or factory or church ,
  • within 500 feet (for a firearm), 250 feet (for a crossbow) or 150 feet (for a bow) of a dwelling, farm building or structure occupied or used unless you Don’t be owner, tenant, immediate family member, employee, or have owner’s consent.

So yes, as long as your property allows you to shoot your gun more than 500 feet from other structures or playgrounds, it’s perfectly legal. However, users of firearms are advised to exercise caution, control where ammunition is fired, and ensure that there is an adequate safety net.

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