Chesterton Tribune



PCSP: Unincorporated target shooting is legal, but report safety concerns

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The Porter County Sheriff’s Police is reminding residents of unincorporated county that the discharge of firearms on private property is legal, so long as all safety precautions are observed.

Readers of the Chesterton Tribune have been reacting to a story in the Tuesday, Sept. 5 edition, reporting that two Valparaiso residents are facing a possible charge of criminal recklessness after rounds fired during a target-shooting session on Monday, at a residence located south of the 200 east block of C.R. 650N in Jackson Township, struck a vehicle and a home.

“This shooting, w/o proper backstops, happens all over Jackson Twp.,” a reader commented on the Tribune’s Facebook page. “Why does it take houses and vehicles hit before something is done?”

“We hear it in Westchester Township constantly,” another reader commented. “My husband has nearly been hit, twice, on our own property. Something has to change.”

Today PCSP Sgt. Jamie Erow confirmed that target shooting in unincorporated Porter County is not prohibited--as, for instance, it is in the Town of Chesterton. “The discharge of firearms in unincorporated areas of Porter County is legal, so long as there is a suitable backstop for the caliber weapon and the ammunition being fired and all safety precautions are taken.”

However, Erow added, any unincorporated resident who has an “immediate concern” with shooting in his or her neighborhood should report the incident at once to the PCSP, by calling 911 or the Sheriff’s Office business line at 477-3000, so that an officer can promptly investigate and determine whether the shooter in question is observing all necessary safety precautions.

For general firearms and hunting questions, folks should contact the Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division, Erow said.

On Monday afternoon, a PCSP responding to complaints of errant rounds hitting a vehicle and a house on C.R. 650 found that a Valparaiso couple had fired some 50 rounds each at a pair of plastic barrels. The officer determined that no suitable backstop had been erected and that the barrels--with “numerous bullet holes in them”--were empty, “just two hollow plastic drums.”

The man and woman in question “were very apologetic and stated that they had no idea their shots could travel so far.”

The PCSP is seeking to charge the couple with criminal recklessness, a Level 5 felony punishable by a term of one to six years.


Posted 9/7/2017






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