LIMA — With the rising popularity of target practice, and Washington politics spooking buyers into clearing shelves of guns and ammo, you might wonder: Where can a person shoot a gun?
The answer in Lima is simple: Nowhere, with few exceptions.
The city has strict regulations, restricting shooters to a range sanctioned by the state. Lima only has one such range, and it sits in the basement of the Lima Police Department for officer use.
Residents can't even shoot a paintball gun, air gun, or bow and arrow on their own property unless inside a building with the police chief's permission.
Discharging a gun in the city, excluding self defense situations, is a first-degree misdemeanor. Other enhancements to the penalty, such as shooting in a school zone or across a road, can make it a felony.
So most shooters look to one of the four local ranges: Lima Sabres, Cairo Sportsmans Club, a range in Spencerville and the Black Swamp Rifle and Pistol Club in Delphos.
Others have a mound of dirt on their property behind their targets. The key, police officials said, is to be safe and make sure the rounds are not leaving the property.
But that doesn’t always mean a neighbor will be happy with it.
Outside Lima, there aren't many regulations. Residents target practice throughout the Shawnee Township, even inside Indianbrook with houses on either side.
Sometimes police are called, said Shawnee Township Police Chief Mike Keith.
“We might ask someone in a residential area not to do it, but there’s not much you can do unless a round leaves a person’s property,” Keith said.
Other headaches for police are areas that butt up against Lima’s boarders. One area in northeastern Shawnee Township generated some complaints by a neighbor who lives in a residential area next to an area in the township where a man fired a handgun into a mound that sits in a field on private property, Keith said.
Allen County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jimmy Everett said it boils down to safe shooting and neighbor courtesy. While a neighbor may be against shooting no matter how safe it is, Everett said, people need to take steps to ensure they are being safe. That mainly entails a big enough mound of dirt to stop rounds and ensuring all rounds go into the mound.
Everett said shooting in the county isn’t a problem. Calls are rare, and people are courteous.
Of the few complaints, most are about safety. If someone is reckless, Everett said, deputies will address it and possible charge him or her.
“We really don’t have any issues. If people are going to shoot, they do it safely,” he said.