In the wake of recent incidents involving wayward rounds from firearms striking homes or, in one case, construction equipment, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman has a released a video with a simple but important message: “Know the law, be safe, and be considerate of those around you. ”
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in complaints regarding the discharge of firearms over the past year – and responded to two complaints this past weekend. Chapman notes that most of these incident involved target shooting and people not following fundamental safety laws and practices.
“As firearms can be deadly,” Chapman says in the video, “it is important that we all understand both gun laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as Loudoun County ordinances that pertain to the discharging firearms. It is also important that you exercise your Second Amendment Right safely and be considerate of those around you.”
LCSO responded to a report that a bullet struck a home in the 36000 block of Paxson Road in Purcellville. They said that between 5:30 and 11 p.m. on Oct. 20, a bullet entered through an upstairs bedroom window and struck the wall. The family was in the basement at the time. LCSO is investigating to determine the origin of the bullet.
The same day, LCSO responded to a similar complaint in the 38000 block of Sierra Lane in Lovettsville. In that case, the bullet entered through the upstairs window frame and struck the ceiling in the master bedroom. The family was outside at the time.
Chapman’s safety message includes information about the Code of Virginia for reckless handling of a firearm (§ 18.2-56.1); requirements from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for certain weapons or attachments, such as fully automatic weapons and silencers, that require a specific stamp; and Loudoun County Codified Ordinance 684 regarding the discharging of firearms within Loudoun County.
The Loudoun County Codified Ordinances outline required distances for outdoor shooting, as well as where individuals are allowed to shoot within the county. The discharge of firearms is prohibited within 100 yards of a building with a current occupancy permit unless the owner or authorized agent has given permission. Further restrictions prohibiting the discharge of firearms in certain parts of the county are also addressed.
“For example, it is illegal to discharge a firearm 50 yards from a highway and 100 yards from any park, school, or occupied building. It is also illegal to shoot across a road and within a right-of-way,” Chapman says in the video.
The video can be viewed at sheriff.loudoun.gov/ FirearmsSafety.
Residents are also encouraged to take the following precautions when target shooting or hunting in Loudoun County:
- Know your environment and where your target is in relation to residences around you. Your neighbors may be closer than you think.
- Utilize updated satellite imagery such as Google Maps to determine where homes and other buildings are in relation to where you plan to shoot. As Loudoun County continues to grow, there may be new developments or ongoing construction.
- Establish a proper backstop, such as a berm, for the types of weapons you plan on shooting on the property. Although this is not required by law, establishing a berm is helpful to ensure that rounds don’t travel beyond their intended targets.
- Know your weapon and the type of ammunition required for each weapon. Some bullets travel farther than others.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office at 703-771-5278.