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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: December 5, 2018

Know the Law: Firearms Safety in Loudoun County

Firearms Safety


December 5, 2018

Contact: Kraig Troxell, Media Relations and Communications Manager, 703-771-5278

[email protected]

Loudoun County, VA- As Loudoun County officials continue to review local ordinances and state law regarding the lawful discharge of firearms, Loudoun County Sheriff Chapman is reminding residents to “know the law, be safe, and be considerate of those around you,” before hunting or target shooting in the county. 

In October, the LCSO released a firearms safety video after recent incidents over the past year where discharged rounds from handguns and rifles have struck nearby homes.  These incidents most frequently involved target shooting. The video can be viewed at

The safety message includes information pertaining to the Code of Virginia for Reckless Handling of a Firearm (§ 18.2-56.1); requirements  from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for certain weapons or attachments, such as fully automatic weapons and silencers, that require a specific stamp; and the Loudoun County Codified Ordinance 684 regarding the discharging of firearms within Loudoun County. 

The Loudoun County Codified Ordinances outlines required distances for outdoor shooting, as well as where individuals are allowed to shoot within the County. The discharge of firearms is prohibited within 100 yards of a building with a current occupancy permit unless the owner or authorized agent has given permission. Further restrictions prohibiting the discharge of firearms in certain parts of the county are also addressed.  “For example, it is illegal to discharge a firearm 50 yards from a highway and 100 yards from any park, school, or occupied building.  It is also illegal to shoot across a road and within a right-of-way,” notes Sheriff Chapman in the video. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office will make every effort to charge those who violate the law. 

Residents are also encouraged to take the following precautions when target shooting or hunting in Loudoun County: 

•  Know your environment and where your target is in relation to residences around you.  Your neighbors may be closer than you think.  Utilize updated satellite imagery such as Google Maps to determine where homes and other buildings are in relation to where you plan to shoot.  As Loudoun County continues to grow, there may be new developments or ongoing construction.

•  Establish a proper backstop, such as a berm, for the types of weapons you plan on shooting on the property.  Although this is not required by law, establishing a berm is helpful to ensure that rounds don’t travel beyond their intended targets. 

•  Know your weapon and the type of ammunition required for each weapon. Some bullets travel farther than others.  

 If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office at 703-771-5278.

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