Caldwell Co. Commissioner seeks to limit gun use on under two acre property

Caldwell County residents say a population boom has brought about a dangerous situation. People report random shootings where stray bullets have hit homes, cars and killed livestock.

They want to ban shooting on small acre properties.

There is a certain freedom that comes with land ownership outside the city limits. In Caldwell County, residents say people have taken advantage of being able to openly firing guns to a dangerous level.

"Homes have been hit, livestock killed, cars hit,” said Comissioner Ed Theriot.

Commissioner Ed Theriot is proposing the county place regulations on small acreage.

Texas local government code allows counties to prohibit discharging firearms in properties less than 10 acres. To read the code, click here. "I think we've arrived at a public safety situation that I wouldn't feel right not trying to address,” said Theriot.

Precinct 2 Constable Tom Will was one of more than a dozen speakers to comment on the issue.

"People I go talk to out here with small acreage on Saturday and Sunday morning. They're shooting ARs, they're shooting high powered rifles, not just pistols,” said Will.

Commissioner Theriot is most concerned with properties under two acres. He says land owners are dividing up land, creating city-like subdivisions. Lytton Springs is one area where problems have arisen.

In 2016 FOX 7 covered a story in Lytton Springs in which a buffalo was shot and killed.

"Try to spend an evening outside with your grandchildren with rounds going off in all directions. You have no idea where they're coming from what velocity they are,” said Anna Prusaitis Ybarra.

But just as those are in support of regulations, the same amount of speakers asked for commissioners to reconsider any restrictions.

"I feel I need to be able to shoot coyotes, animals, other things. If I clean my firearm, I need to be able to test fire. These are fundamental things as a Texan that I thought and I hope will be upheld,” said a resident. "This is Texas after all, we're not New Jersey or San Francisco."

"You cannot legislate against people who are stupid and because people are careless,” said Rhonda Powers.

Commissioners tabled the issue for more discussion only after Theriot asked for all to promise to not let the issue go without action.

Under his proposal, Commissioner Theriot says these regulations would not penalize someone for defending their home or property or if they were shooting into a well-built range to include a berm.

This would also not include air guns.