SPARKS, Nev. - On a nice day, just past the Golden Eagle Regional Park in Spanish Springs, the sporadic echo of gunfire can be heard.
Though a park and neighborhood are nearby, it's perfectly legal for shooters to be out there. As long as they follow the law.
"Probably 50 or 60 years ago there were no residences out here," Deputy Armando Avina with the WCSO said. "Now that the area's becoming more populated, people need to be aware of where they can legally go and where you can't."
It is against the law to fire any gun in any congested area of the county. Signs in popular shooting areas will tell you just how far away you need to go in order to legally shoot your gun.
Anyone using a shotgun, air rifle, or B-B gun for target practice must go at least 1,000 feet away from an occupied building. Anyone using a pistol, rifle, or other firearm, must go at least 5,000 feet from an occupied building.
Though target shooters are the one with the weapons, the responsibility to stay safe also falls on those enjoying other outdoor activities.
"A specific shooting area is not going to be just a shooting area," Deputy Avina said. "We get people who do horseback riding, dirt bike riding, or people who just go on miles and miles of hikes and runs."
Jeff Medgyesi, a resident of Spanish Springs, says he often hikes those hills and trails behind the Golden Eagle Regional Park. He knows that people are out shooting and it's up to him to make sure they know where he is.
"Especially if they've got young kids that they're training," he said. "You want to make sure they know you're approaching them. So I usually say good morning or hello."
Residents in outlying areas will start to hear more target shooting as the weather gets nicer. If you're concerned someone is too close to your home, it's okay to give the Sheriff's Office a call.
Parents should also not let their kids shoot Airsoft guns in their backyards. These are illegal to fire in a residential area. You should follow the same rules as if you were using a B-B gun or air rifle, and go 1,000 feet from an occupied building.
If you're caught not following these laws, it can result in a misdemeanor.
For more information on where it's okay to go target shooting, visit the WCSO website at www.washoesheriff.com.