Have neighbor shooting gun at squirrels!!!

loves2readOctober 11, 2013

We have vacation house in FL bought little more than year ago...the neighborhood has some fairly strict HOA requirements but house is next to our daughter so location trumped that..
Just found out that there is guy in this neighborhood --not close to our house thankfully-- who admits to shooting at "nuisance" squirrels in his yard with a gun--not a pellet or BB gun which can be more dangerous that lot of people think when misused. I am not against guns--have them and know how and when to use them but a suburban neighborhood would not be that place.

Anyway this guy was basically kind of bragging about shooting squirrels when there was discussion of having a gator lying on a neighborhood street captured and taken away by Animal Control and a trapper...supposedly someone had shot that gator above left eye but didn't kill it.

So speculation was heated that it was someone in the neighborhood who thinks all gators need to be killed/removed even if they are in the ponds or just out on ground nearby minding their own business---NOT in people's yards. And gators in FL are endangered-- you can only kill one IF you have permit OR the gator is an active threat...not sunning him/herself by a pond...or likely even walking through your yard. Just keep away and don't provoke is what you are supposed to do.

My question is about shooting squirrels though...
What would you do if you knew someone was doing something as stupid as that in a neighborhood where homes are so close you can throw a wet dish towel and hit your neighbor's...say 6-8 ft between each house side by side and maybe back yards that are each 15 ft deep--so 30 ft between them.
Close quarters for most part.
Apparently the HOA doesn't have a rule against discharging a firearm...and I am trying to find out what the state law is since city/county must defer to state.

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Fori is not pleased

Okay, first I was gonna say, "I want your neighbor" because the squirrels have been driving me bonkers lately, but a real gun? In town? No no no.

I would call the local police and kindly ask them what they suggest. It can't possibly be legal, not even in Florida! :P

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 5:12PM
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When I asked him (on the web site cause this discussion happened on a neighborhood forum site) he said his neighbors called the police (like I would have) and when police came out apparently what he was doing was legal since he was not given a ticket nor was his gun confiscated...
Disregarding any gun rules, squirrels are rodents and it is legal to kill rodents--- they aren't on the endangered species list like the alligators are...
But I agree--don't see too many squirrels threatening you with deadly force...

Plus our neighborhood is next to a bird sanctuary/state park so all birds are supposed to be protected and you aren't supposed to kill any...
That's one reason why we aren't allowed under HOA rules to let a cat or dog roam w/o being on a leash...
So the lack of parity as far as real danger in those two acts just blows my mind...
More important to guard a bird's life than a human's...and a free-roaming cat is more danger than a guy shooting a gun in suburban neighborhood...

This post was edited by loves2read on Fri, Oct 11, 13 at 17:55

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 5:54PM
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he said his neighbors called the police (like I would have) and when police came out apparently what he was doing was legal since he was not given a ticket nor was his gun confiscated...

I think you are making an incorrect assumption. Call the police and ask them about whether it is legal to discharge a firearm in your community.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 7:46PM
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How do you know what kind of gun he is using? I would highly doubt that it is nothing more than a pellet gun. A .22 or larger would definitely get the attention of the cops.
Also, the alligator has not been on the Endangered List since 1987.
I think you are over reacting. Especially since your main facts are incorrect.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Most states, counties or cities DO have laws about shooting within city limits, and within a certain distance of a habitation.

Call the cops if he does it again. He's actiing stupid.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 8:24PM
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You are right---ncrealestateguy--I misspoke--
alligators are not "endangered" in FL---but they are protected...and as such no average person has the right to shoot/take an alligator...
Only trappers with licenses, animal control officers can remove them if they are deemed a "nuisance/danger"...
If you shoot one and are caught you have the burden of proof on you to justify the need vs getting to safety and calling the authorities...

When I asked the man specifically what type of gun he was using--
he never said -- that omission when he is running his mouth about the right to use a gun plus the fact that he DID say his neighbors called the police (sheriff's dept really) to report him and an officer came out leads me to believe it wasn't just a BB gun.

What you "doubt" is up to you--but I don't doubt this guy was using a .22 rifle or maybe pistol to shoot squirrels...a BB gun doesn't make a noticible noise and don't look like a real gun...most people aren't concerned enough to call the police about them...

He has quoted the Castle doctrine several times already in defense of having the right to shoot whatever you feel threatens you or your property...

Personally I never felt threatened by a "nuisance" squirrel...
but I guess others are more fearful and certainly less sensible...

Apparently the law in FL changed or was reinterpreted so that any city or county government with gun laws stricter than the state of FL had them basically declared null and void...no municipality can make a gun law stronger than the state legislature...
So Sarasota County cannot have a gun law that prohibits firing a weapon under certain conditions IF the state of Florida hasn't also set that limitation...

Right now I am trying to find a simple explanation for using a gun in FL--
Link shows closest I have come--

I read it that basically someone discharging a firearm in a public place is guilty of a misdemeanor and discharging a gun across a road or from a car is a felony..probably because they don't want hunters spotlighting/shooting game from trucks I imagine...

Here is a link that might be useful: Discharging a firearm

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Hmmm.. In FL, guy has a gun for 'pest' - if you have kids or relative tell them avoid walking around with headphones and a hood - as his definition of 'pest' might be board in definition.

If a vacation home - probably not ideal to be a snowbird challenge as no telling what the person may do while you are away if they know you are summoning the cops on him.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 9:27PM
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yes--that is my husband's concern...he doesn't want this guy to focus on us as enemies...
He lives on far side of neighborhood and we are in the middle--so he technically is not a "neighbor"...but a .22 has a far traveling distance which is why I don't see any reason to be using it in a neighborhood...

We are going to the house next week and while we are there I do plan to call or maybe visit the local sheriff's office...we are in a town but it isn't incorporated so no local police--just county sheriff...

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 10:38PM
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My pellet gun is as loud as a .22 rifle... and my pellet gun even has a silencer. I shoot groundhogs and squirrels that get into my garden. In the winter I eat the squirrels.
If what you say is true, then why did the cops not take action against him?
If this guy is really shooting anything more than a pellet gun, then, yes, that is a problem. But from what you are telling us, I doubt this is the case.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Pellet guns have come a long way since I was young--
I just think if it was a pellet gun he would have said...
maybe he is embarassed that it was a pellet gun vs a "real" gun...
although pellet guns are dangerous enough...

What do you estimate is the range of your pellet gun if the bullet when the full distance of the charge?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 11:35PM
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Yes, they have come a long way. It shoots at 1500 feet per second, has a scope and a silencer.
I suppose it can shoot pretty far.
Why not ask his direct neighbors about the details of what this guy is doing?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 8:05AM
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MOVE if you don't like it!.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 5:55PM
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This is very interesting, and now that I've looked at it, it appears to me that the law is being misinterpreted. Read that first paragraph "PREEMPTION" below carefully. While it discusses all sorts of things about owning, buying, transporting, etc etc etc about firearms, it does not appear to apply to laws about FIRING of weapons. It seems to me that the legislature is really keeping cities (for example) from say, requiring licenses or prohibiting certain types of ammo, or (name any of those laws the NRA is against). But FIRING of weapon is a completely different matter.

Section 790.33, Florida Statutes, preempts the field of regulation of firearms and ammunition to the Florida Legislature, as follows:

"(1) PREEMPTION.��" Except as expressly provided by general law, the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, and transportation thereof, to the exclusion of all existing and future county, city, town, or municipal ordinances or regulations relating thereto. Any such existing ordinances are hereby declared null and void. This subsection shall not affect zoning ordinances which encompass firearms businesses along with other businesses. Zoning ordinances which are designed for the purpose of restricting or prohibiting the sale, purchase, transfer, or manufacture of firearms or ammunition as a method of regulating firearms or ammunition are in conflict with this subsection and are prohibited."

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 1:28PM
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The suggestion to move if we don't like it is about as irrational as someone using a gun in a crowded enviornment like this...We bought that house because it is next to our daughter and her family AND because this neighborhood has an HOA with regulations...I know lot of people don't want that but in FL we saw plenty of neighborhoods w/o HOA rules and weren't impressed with how that freedom was used so that property values weren't trashed...
Every neighborhood close to where we wanted to buy w/o an HOA/rules had enough crappy houses that we wouldn't have risked our money...

The idea that it is OK for someone (who knows with what kind of eyesight or skill) to shoot a gun at a squirrel when his neighbor's house or his neighbor is less than 30 ft away totally ignores any degree of gun safety...
IF you think FL drivers are bad (and they are) why would you want one of them using a gun in an urban location???
If you want to shoot squirrels go someplace where an errant shot isn't likely to hurt anyone or damage property...
Deer often roam the streets of San Antonio and other towns in TX but it is NOT ok for someone with a rifle and hunting license to shoot them there...

C9pilot--The discharge of firearms provision I found is the only one to address shooting a gun and apparently this was a fairly recent update to exclude/prevent people using guns in a more populated area for anything but the Castle Doctrine...and the language is still not that definitive about NOT shooting in city limits or higher density areas...
but I agree that most of the other provisions are about regulating who can buy and own guns...
the only option left to municipalities is where they zone gun stores or dealers. For instance they could prevent someone from selling guns next to a liquor store or a school...because of zoning power...

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Have you checked the laws regarding shooting at wildlife? Maybe you can find information at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 8:44PM
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My husband showed me the provision that basically says no shooting in inhabited areas--
whether you are shooting at "game" or not
the issue is justification...
if you find a rattlesnake in your shower or garage and shoot it with your pistol and the police are called and discover you did that...they COULD issue you with a citation for unlawful discharge or they could say you did it in fear of bodily harm and not cite you...

The two points are "fear of bodily harm" or the Castle Doctrine...
and reckless disregard on part of the shooter...
which both contain an element of judgement--on part of person using the firearm and on part of the law enforcement who investigate...

There were plenty of people posting on the website who thought anyone using a gun in our neighborhood was over the top...
and there were obviously a couple who thought they were justified to shoot anything they deemed a problem...
I thought I would be much more likely to have that type of cowboy attitude here in TX not in area with lot of retired geezers from Ohio and New Jersey...

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Fori is not pleased

Have you asked the sheriff? Their office should let you know right away if it's tolerated and what you should do if it happens again.

And if it does come down to a visit to this guy by the sheriff's dept., he won't know it's you. If they've been called out before, you know there's at least one other neighbor who doesn't approve.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 2:20PM
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see below. And, then, there's this story:

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida laws

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 12:39AM
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Thanks soccermom--
that sad event is exactly what we are afraid of
I taught a book by Lois Lowry about a similar event--unintentional shooting of someone when a gun was fired into the air--which might seen innocuous...

it happens more than anyone might think...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:08AM
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Maybe in Iraq...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Well, one kid is already one too many....

However, a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 80% of celebratory gunfire-related injuries are to the head, feet, and shoulders. Between the years 1985 and 1992, doctors at the King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, treated some 118 people for random falling-bullet injuries. Thirty-eight of them died.[http://www.annalsthoracicsurgery.org/article/S0003-4975%2806%2900831-9/abstract]

July 4, 2012: A 34-year woman, Michelle Packard, was struck in the head and killed while watching the fireworks with her family. The police believe the shot could have come from a mile away.
January 1, 2010: A four-year-old boy, Marquel Peters, was struck by a bullet and killed inside his church The Church of God of Prophecy in Decatur, GA. It is presumed the bullet may have penetrated the roof of the church around 12:20AM.
December 28, 2005: A 23-year-old U.S. Army private on leave after basic training fired a 9mm pistol into the air in celebration with friends, according to police, and one of the bullets came through a fifth-floor apartment window in the New York City borough of Queens, striking a 28-year-old mother of two in the eye. Her husband found her lifeless body moments later. The shooter had been drinking the night before and turned himself in to police the next morning when he heard the news. He was charged with second-degree manslaughter and weapons-related crimes, and was later found guilty and sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.

June 14, 1999: Arizona, A fourteen year-old girl, Shannon Smith, was struck on the top of her head by a bullet and killed while in the backyard of her home. This incident resulted in Arizona enacting "Shannon's Law" in 2000, that made the discharge of a firearm into the air illegal

December 31, 1994: Amy Silberman, a tourist from Boston, was killed by a falling bullet from celebratory firing while walking on the Riverwalk in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Police Department there has been striving to educate the public on the danger since then, frequently making arrests for firing into the air.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 8:39AM
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Again soccermom--thanks--
I went back and read the link to FL gun laws--
to me it seems that the local authorities DID have the right to regulate what the nursery owner was doing because I am sure he was charging people to use that site as gun range...
IF it wasn't already zoned for that activity and he had to be "rezoned" then he could be refused the right and would have to close the gun range...
The issue of noise suppression was not investigated either..
even if it WAS legal for them to shoot there should have been a way to make them do it with noise suppressors so horses wouldn't be frightened by them going off...

the issue is with something like this where people "know" what they know--
just like in Congress now--some people don't want to see the possibilities that might come from a selfish, ill-conceived act...
You can't use reality/real consequences to make them amend their selfish behavior...
but I do appreciate your bringing those stories to my attention--

I might consider sending some of them to the guy in the neighborhood who was shooting the squirrels...
I am thinking now that much of what he was saying was bravado boasting--
that maybe the sheriff DID scare him pretty good into not doing it again and he just didin't want to say it...at least I hope so...

This post was edited by loves2read on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 10:02

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 9:54AM
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I do hope you're being facetious, nc.

Other "famous" incidents of this happening have been the Amish girl in Ohio - http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ohio-freak-death-man-fires-gun-air-bullet-travels-mile-kills-15-year-old-amish-girl-article-1.994626 and Michelle Packard in Lansing (see link below).

The 1996 Lubbock Avalanche-Journal article at http://lubbockonline.com/news/123196/menfight.htm has the story of it happening more. And then I'm sure you remember Chef Paul Prudhomme who thankfully wasn't killed by the bullet that hit him in the arm in 2008?

Most injured/killed by falling bullets never end up making the local news, much less national/international news because it happens, often enough that it's not major news unless it's a slower news day.

I'm extremely pro-gun (and do own more than one) but an idiot shooting anything more than an airsoft in a neighborhood at moving targets that are not some sort of imminent danger should absolutely be dealt with.

I'm guessing the reason the cops didn't do anything was because they didn't see it happen. They can't just haul in someone unless they see it or there is actual proof.

Here is a link that might be useful: Michelle Packard

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Wow. First of all, I apologize for reviving this thread. But it's such an example of over-reactionist Yankee drivel that I just couldn't help myself. The assumptions are rampant. Posters have equated a man shooting at squirrels (potentially in a completely safe direction with solid backstop) to the death of a 7 year old boy due to random 4th of July, Arab wedding style, shooting in the air. There is no connection what-so-ever!

It's very simple. Call your local police/sheriff. Ask them about the local law. If it's illegal to discharge a firearm in your area, you have a complaint. Otherwise, you have no choice but to assume/hope that the gun owner is acting responsibly and assuring that he is taking game or culling pests without endangering any humans. He may be! Your lack of knowledge about firearms does not necessitate his lack of acting responsibly.

Welcome to the south. If you're not prepared to live in the south, don't come to the south. I once saw a sign hanging in a DMV office in Florida. It said, "We don't care how you did thing up north."

    Bookmark   January 15, 2015 at 7:47PM
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I love those kinds of signs. We have one up here that reads: "Don't Jersey Vermont".

    Bookmark   January 16, 2015 at 7:12AM
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"It said, "We don't care how you did thing up north."

LOL. Of course, it would be more compelling if it had been written correctly.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2015 at 8:22AM
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OK, I can strike off the list one more place that I will never want to live in or even want to visit.....

    Bookmark   January 16, 2015 at 10:11AM
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"I love those kinds of signs. We have one up here that reads: "Don't Jersey Vermont"."

When I visited Maine, I wondered why a few of the folks in N. Maine referred to some of the outsiders as "Massholes"!
If I lived in this development, I'd be more concerned about BBgun boy shooting my cat, not squirrels!

Please be careful. It doesn't pay to rile up good old boys. The squirrel hunter might be good friends with the Sheriff.
Like they say, when in Rome....

    Bookmark   January 16, 2015 at 11:47AM
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