Las Vegas Sun

October 2, 2014

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ASK MR. SUN:

Is it legal to shoot a firearm anywhere in the deserts around Las Vegas?

Is it legal to shoot a firearm in the deserts around Vegas?

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The headline on the gun shop poster might say so, but the fine print is more complicated.

So before you dash out and fill the hills with lead, there are a few things to be aware of.

First, shooting is prohibited in the Las Vegas Valley. (After you finish laughing, please read on.) Beyond the valley’s borders, federal caregivers have some general restrictions:

• No shooting within 1,000 feet of homes and roads, or over any roadway;

• Glass targets are prohibited;

• Always use a safe backdrop and carry out litter, including shell casings.

Each federal agency has more specific restrictions.

In areas controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, shooting is allowed except at Apex, the Nellis Dunes, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area and Sunrise Mountain.

On land controlled by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service — most notably the 1.6 million-acre Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas — shooting is prohibited unless you’re hunting with the appropriate paperwork.

The Forest Service allows shooting on the 316,000 acres it controls in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, provided gunslingers abide by local and state laws. (A favorite spot is near the Lovell Group Campsite on Lovell Canyon Road, off State Route 160, officials said.)

Judy Suing, a spokeswoman for the Forest Service, said the agency does ask people using firearms to avoid heavily vegetated areas because of the potential for fires.

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