RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County commissioners are considering changing the county’s outdoor shooting ordinance after stray bullets fired in Knightdale were hitting too close to homes.

County officials said Friday that they are providing three opportunities over the next three weeks for residents to learn about both current rules and proposed changes.

“We know we can find a balanced solution, and we hope all residents, whether they own firearms or not, will weigh in on these suggested changes,” said Sig Hutchinson, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

The county’s outdoor shooting ordinance was updated last year. Since then, the rural-urban divide has blurred and narrowed.

While all municipalities in Wake County ban the discharge of firearms within city or town limits at all times, private firearms activities like target practice are allowed in unincorporated areas.

Changes to the ordinance would only affect those unincorporated areas. They would not impact hunting because that is regulated by state and federal law.

The changes the board is considering to the Wake County Code of Ordinances Chapter 130 Firearms are:

  1. Increase the minimum distance from a dwelling, public building or livestock in which a person may discharge a firearm from 100 yards to 300 yards.
  2. Require a backstop or other method of containment that adequately contains the projectile on the property from which it was discharged.
  3. Prohibit the discharge of a firearm beginning two hours after sunset until one hour before sunrise.
  4. Increase the maximum fine for a violation from $50 to the statutory limit of $500.

Upcoming public meetings include:

Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 5 p.m.
Wake County Board of Commissioners meeting
300 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh
Wake County staff will present information on the proposed changes and hold a public hearing. View the agenda item here.  Submit online comments at this link anytime from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday. Sign up to speak in-person at this link which will open at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. During the meeting, the chair will also ask if anyone present would like to speak. Comments are limited to three minutes.

Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m.
Listening Session, Knightdale Town Hall
950 Steeple Square Ct., Knightdale
Wake County Commissioners and staff, the Wake County Sheriff, Knightdale Town Council members, the Knightdale Police Chief and N.C. Rep. James Roberson will gather for a public listening session to answer questions and hear feedback on the proposed changes to the ordinance.

Monday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m.
Wake County Board of Commissioners meeting
300 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh
The board will consider adoption of the amendments to the Wake County Code of Ordinances Chapter 130 Firearms and take a vote. The public will not be able share comments during the agenda item discussion, however there is an opportunity to speak for three minutes during the general public comment session that occurs around 2:30 p.m. during the meeting. Written comments can also be shared online between 9 a.m. and noon that day.

Residents can also listen to a discussion from the Aug. 22, 2022, Board of Commissioners’ Public Safety Committee meeting . Staff shared a comparison of similar outdoor shooting ordinance regulations in other North Carolina counties during that meeting.