Shooting on public land
All of my recent posts, if you’ve noticed, are blogs about various shooting activities on private ranges either in San Diego Area or L.A. area. I’m originally from Oklahoma, I grew up in Oklahoma and Missouri and I had never visited a private range until I moved to North Carolina. And I shot quite a bit as I was growing up. We always had access to either private land or public ranges which were maintained by the city or county. The private land was usually owned by a friend of the family and located far enough away from anything to make it safe to shoot. The public range in Columbia Missouri where I used to shoot doesn’t appear to be around any more but Missouri still has several shooting facilities run by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
California, on the other hand, at least southern California, does not offer the same facilities for shooting, whether it be private property or public land. The problem with private property, while it is entirely possible to know someone who will let you shoot on their land, is that most land is so densely populated that it isn’t safe to shoot often times. As for the public ranges, California does not offer such a service, at least not the CA Department of Conservation.
In an attempt to find a free and legal place to shoot I contacted the Bureau of Land Management. I wrote them an email and asked if there were any places on BLM land to shoot in the L.A. area. The BLM office I contacted was the Palm Springs field office which includes LA and surrounding areas. I received a quick and dissapointing reply. “The Palm Springs Field Office has no officially designated recreational shooting ranges within our jurisdiction, which includes LA, Orange, Riverside and much of San Diego County. Due to the population density and the lack of suitable public lands in these areas, you will have to travel to find suitable locations for target shooting on BLM or other public lands.”
While many shooters in online forums will talk about places to shoot o BLM land or in the desert it is always best to ask and find out the proper laws. If you don’t research first, at best you can be asked to leave by authorities, at worst you will be arrested and have your guns confiscated. Or even worse, you could endanger or cause harm to residents that may live beyond sight but within the traveling distance of a projectile. Don’t forget, some bullets can travel over 2 miles and still be lethal.
So shooter beware, be safe, be legal be conscientious.