Wake County Seeks Input on Proposed Changes to Outdoor Shooting Ordinance for Unincorporated Areas

Following repeated concerns from Knightdale residents that stray bullets are hitting too close to home, Wake County leaders are looking to update the county’s two-decades old ordinance regulating outdoor shooting. Residents have three opportunities over the next three weeks to learn about current safeguards and the proposed changes.

“Public safety is a top priority for our board, and these proposed updates aim to provide sustainable safety standards to meet our community’s current and future needs,” said Sig Hutchinson, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “We know we can find a balanced solution, and we hope all residents, whether they own firearms or not, will weigh in on these suggested changes.”

Commissioners recognize that Wake County has experienced incredible growth since 2001, when this ordinance was last updated. The rural/urban divide has blurred, and development within city limits is now adjacent to rural tracts. All municipalities in Wake County prohibit discharging firearms at all times within city/town limits. However, in the unincorporated areas of the county, private firearms activity like target practice is permitted, and any changes to this ordinance would ONLY affect those areas. Hunting animals or birds would also not be affected by changes to this local ordinance, as they are regulated by state and federal law.

The changes the board is considering to the Wake County Code of Ordinances Chapter 130 Firearms are:

  1. Increase the minimum distance from a dwelling, public building or livestock in which a person may discharge a firearm from 100 yards to 300 yards.
  2. Require a backstop or other method of containment that adequately contains the projectile on the property from which it was discharged.
  3. Prohibit the discharge of a firearm beginning two hours after sunset until one hour before sunrise.
  4. Increase the maximum fine for a violation from $50 to the statutory limit of $500.  

The upcoming public meetings include:

This item was  also discussed at the Aug. 22, 2022, Board of Commissioners’ Public Safety Committee meeting. In that meeting, staff shared a comparison of similar outdoor shooting ordinance regulations in other North Carolina counties.       

Press Release