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Deputies receive more Gunshot Calls during Coronavirus Outbreak

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – With more people staying at home, more bullets are flying in people’s backyards.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office sending out a warning today on Facebook.

“There’s a feeling of things becoming loose and reckless and wild wild west,” said firearms expert Chris Knott.

So far this year, there have been six reports of property damage caused by stray bullets.

“Get the gun, but get trained. Know how to use your gun know what it is and how to use it and protect yourself and your family. It’s not a got. You really need to educate yourself,” said Ronda Mcmullan of Golden Gate Estates.

All the reports are coming from one part of southern Collier County.

During quarantine, the sheriff’s office has gotten an increase in calls for gunshots in the estates.

Knott said even though things may feel a bit strange due to the coronavirus crisis, it’s extremely important to practice safety, when it comes to shooting.

“I encourage people to train. It’s a perishable skill set — it requires maturity and responsible gun ownership,” he said.

Florida Statute 790.15 allows residents to fire guns on their own property as long as:
* There is no more than one dwelling per unit acre
* It is not done in a reckless or negligent fashion
– Reckless as defined as the creation of a substantial or unjustifiable risk of harm to others and by a conscious disregard or indifference to that risk
– Negligence as defined as the failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation
* The individual isn’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs
* A firearm is not discharged over an occupied premises or over a paved public roadway.

Failure to obey the law could result in arrest and/or civil litigation.

If you use your backyard for target practice, here are some things to consider before you pull the trigger:

* What is behind/beyond the target?
* Is the proper backstop in place based upon the type of gun and ammunition being used?
* Is the person firing the gun capable of hitting the intended target?
* Never fire at hard surfaces or water because a shot could glance off, ricochet and injure someone
* Never shoot at glass bottles, living trees or inappropriate targets which would create a hazard for others or damage the environment.

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