Sheriff's Office

Congested Area Ordinances

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office would like to remind residents of county ordinances governing discharge of firearms in congested areas. Washoe County Code 50.092 to 50.154 states that it is unlawful to discharge:

  • any gun, pistol, or rifle, with the exception of shotguns, air rifles, or B-B guns, within 5000 feet of an occupied dwelling.
  • Shotguns, air rifles, or B-B guns within 1000 feet of an occupied dwelling.
  • a firearm from, upon, over or across any federal or state highway or any county road or highway.
  • a firearm within a Nevada State Park, unless otherwise designated by the Administrator.
  • Within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, it is prohibited to discharge a firearm in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, or across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in a manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge, or into or within any cave.

If shooters follow those parameters; they are generally allowed to shoot in any area not designated as a "no shooting" or "congested area." It is important to understand these four key points:

  • A "congested area" is a geographic location where discharge of any firearm is prohibited. Because congested areas are generally densely populated, it has a high risk of personal injury.
  • A "restricted congested area" is a location where residents must be a minimum of 1000 feet from any occupied dwelling. In restricted congested areas, residents are allowed to discharge shotguns, air rifles and BB guns. A person is not allowed to discharge any gun, pistol, rifle or any other firearm in this area.
  • A "non congested area" is a location where residents must be 5000 feet away from an occupied dwelling. In these areas they may shoot guns, pistols, rifles, shotguns, air rifles, bb guns, or any other firearms.
  • Residents are encouraged to practice safe shooting in established and lawfully authorized and licensed rifle ranges, gun clubs or shooting galleries.

If citizens have concerns about activity that may be illegal, or dangerous, they should immediately call the Sheriff's Office at 775-785-WCSO (9276).

For more information, residents can refer to the Sheriff's Office website: and click on the Congested Area Map. The link will provide them with the Washoe County Code, Chapter 50, and a live map highlighting restricted areas.

Washoe County FAQ's regarding Congested Area Shooting
Congested Shooting Brochure