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Old 04-22-2021, 12:32 PM
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CAHighSierra CAHighSierra is offline
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Default Tuolumne County Shooting Laws

When researching if I am allowed to shoot on my property in rural Tuolumne County, I found this page which states the following:

"8.28.030 Loaded firearm prohibited areas. It is unlawful to possess a loaded weapon or discharge a weapon in the following unincorporated areas of the County which are hereby declared to be "Prohibited Areas" for the purposes of Penal Code Section 12031:
A. All land in or within 100 feet of any commercial business, not including a home occupation, which is open to the public.
B. All land within any commercial parking area.
C. All land within a public school ground.
D. All land maintained as a public park or recreation area by the County or any local park district.
E. All land on or along a public road or highway. (Ord. 1392 1 (part), 1985).

Im specifically targeting line E.

My property line is along one side of a forest service road. Does that mean I am not allowed to discharge my firearm or carry my firearm on my own property?

I apologize in advance if this is in the incorrect section. I am trying to do my due diligence to stay 100% legal in this wacky state
You shoot me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize.
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Old 04-22-2021, 3:58 PM
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Toxic Shock Toxic Shock is offline
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Your property is beside a public road or highway, not along the road or highway. If the county interprets this to mean that anyone who lives by a road forfeits they're constitutional rights, that's a massive over-reach of the law.
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Old 04-22-2021, 7:05 PM
Bullets&Whitewalls Bullets&Whitewalls is offline
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I would think the keywords being on and along would mean on the road itself or turnouts ditches parking areas and such. Not privately owned property.
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Old 04-22-2021, 8:18 PM
Thoughts Thoughts is offline
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I would talk to a lawyer before doing anything. Talking to the sheriff might be a good idea, too.
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Old 04-22-2021, 9:01 PM
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MountainLion MountainLion is offline
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To begin with, that ordinance is strangely redundant. The definition of "highway" is to be a public road. A highway is a road which is accessible and usable by anyone, meaning the public. The opposite of a highway is a private road. So, notwithstanding the fact that this ordinance seems to be badly drafted ...

I understand the "land on a public road" part. Sometimes, public roads end up being on private land. One often sees that in rural areas, where a public road simply follows the boundary between two privately owned parcels. Each of the parcels then has an easement (which may be recorded or implied) which allows the public to use that area as a road, and which allows government agencies, such as a Department of Public Works, to build a road there. So this part simply says: If part of your land is a public road, you can't shoot on that part. Duh, that was obviously to be expected.

The "along" part I have trouble with. The only sensible way to interpret it would be: If you are on a parcel that is right next to the edge of a public road, then you can't shoot there either. But if the county board really meant to say that, they probably would have worded it more clearly, for example using the words "adjacent", "abutting", or "bordering", which are all commonly used in real estate law.

I agree with Thoughts: You should probably talk with the sheriff's department that is charged with enforcing these codes, and perhaps get advice from your lawyer.

To Toxic Shock's comment that prohibiting shooting on any properties that are adjacent to public roads would be a massive over-reach: Sorry, but counties regularly prohibit shooting in certain areas, creating no-shoot zones. These prohibitions can be simple (like no shooting north of the Santa Rosita River and east of I5), or complex (like no shooting within half mile of a line drawn at right angles from the centerline of Atlantic Highway in Santa Rosita County). The most complex ones involve long lists of parcels, and decoding those takes hours. But a prohibition of the form "no shooting on parcels that are directly adjacent to public roads" would be common to existing ones.
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Old 04-22-2021, 9:28 PM
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fiddletown fiddletown is offline
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Hiring a lawyer for advice is a better idea than talking to the sheriff. The sheriff isn’t responsible for providing sound legal advice to members of the public. But your lawyer would have a professional obligation to give you sound advice, and he’ll be there to help if there’s a problem.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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