Caldwell County considers restricting gunfire on properties less than 10 acres

Caldwell County commissioners are considering an ordinance that would restrict people from shooting guns on lots smaller than 10 acres in unincorporated parts of the county. 

Several people who live in the county said there have been issues with stray bullets hitting livestock or homes.

“We had a nice quiet neighborhood. We don't anymore,” said Lisa Alexander who lives in Caldwell County. 

The issue made it to the Caldwell County Commissioners Court after several complaints from people concerned about public safety. 

“People are out there shooting and the bullets are whizzing over into my property, hitting my barn, my house, whatever,” said Precinct 2 Constable Thomas Will.  

Others in the meeting were concerned about something else, Second Amendment rights. 

“Always air on the side of freedom,” said Tracy Forrester who lives on 9.4 acres in Lockhart. 

Forrester said she's concerned the ordinance would make it difficult for property owners to protect themselves from criminals and wildlife. 

“From what I understand, we have not had any accidental shootings here in Caldwell County yet. Because several individuals have complained, we're going to impose a restrictive ordinance for the whole county that infringes not only on my second amendment rights, but my property rights as well,” Forrester said.  

Neighbors said once bullets started flying near their homes, the importance of protecting people became paramount. 

“This is a safety issue. Caldwell County is growing and we're just having a lot more people that think they can come out here and shoot, and shoot recklessly,” said Alicia Thorton, who lives in Dale. 

Commissioner Ed Theriot, Precinct 3,  said he would like to re-write the ordinance to allow property owners to use their guns in a self-defense situation, but he also said it's time to reconsider allowing anyone and everyone to get in some target practice at the expense of their neighbors.   

“We've arrived at a public safety situation that I wouldn't feel right not trying to address,” Theriot said. 

Monday, commissioners tabled the proposal so they could revise it. 

Theriot said it is likely commissioners will change the language to focus on lots closer to two acres in size. He expects to bring the ordinance back for consideration at the next meeting on Mar. 12.