What is an outdoor berm? A berm is a tall mound of dirt, sand, or clay (or combination of) that is used to control the projectile of a bullet. A berm can be man-made or nature made. The reason I am bringing up this term is you might start hearing it more in local counties.
The basic rules for shooting on your property in our local counties (not including within city limits):
Onslow – a person must be 500 feet from an occupied dwelling.
Pender – a person must be 200 feet from an occupied dwelling.
New Hanover – no restriction on distance from structures but the bullets must remain on the property.
In the news this week, both Pender and Onslow counties have stories of stray bullets leaving the original properties and landing elsewhere. No one was hurt or injured but it brings up a serious point for discussion. Does New Hanover County’s rule make the most sense? I think so.
How can you ensure that you are shooting in a safe and responsible manner? Easy!
Always know what is behind/beyond the target you are shooting.
If you have private property and you can create a berm (it doesn’t have to be expensive and requires little maintenance) and your targets are placed in front of that berm and below the top of it, you are taking the most important step to shooting safety.
I once had a local town attorney suggest that a berm constitutes a commercial range and that is absolutely not true – but this was also the same attorney who told me if I just put targets on plywood that would stop the bullets (oh boy).
As people are losing large areas of land to the massive explosion of residential construction, now is the best time to make sure all our area counties have the right rules on the books. Telling people to make sure that the bullets remain on their property is not an attack on the second amendment or on their rights, it’s just the best thing to do for everyone’s safety.
Remember knowledge is power and you can create a safe environment and still have fun!
On a different note, a photo of my column “Shortage of tradespeople will affect all” in the July 26 edition of the Topsail Advertiser has over 20,000 shares on Facebook! I have been contacted from people all over the country who want to share their stories and thank me! People do still read! YEAH!
Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.