Las Vegas Sun

January 16, 2022

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County expands no-gunfire zones in southwest valley

Joshua Trees

A Joshua tree sits in the foreground of this image taken of Lovell Canyon Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

Clark County commissioners passed an ordinance today extending no-gunfire zones around Lovell Canyon and the southwest northeast part of the Las Vegas Valley. The ordinance prohibits any discharge of a firearm except for self-defense.

Municipalities in the county already prohibit target shooting outside designated ranges.

County code also prohibits gunfire in areas within 500 feet of a public roadway. Shooting ranges and certain events sanctioned by government agencies are excluded from the ordinance.

Violators face a misdemeanor charge that carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine $100 to $500.

Commissioner Justin Jones proposed the updated ordinance because of encroaching development just outside the existing boundaries.

“The existing unsafe-discharge zones have not been updated in a while. As a result, we have taken a look at areas on the outskirts of town to make sure as development continues to come forward, unsafe-discharge zones are in conformity where development is today,” Jones said.

Jones said he has run into problems with people shooting, literally. “I’ve been running outside Mountain’s Edge and had to change direction because of people shooting,” he said.

The updated county code comes after the U.S. Forest Service placed a moratorium on target shooting in Lovell Canyon amid safety concerns in 2016. The shooting of exploding targets caused two fires in the canyon that year.

Pauline Van Betten, director of Save Red Rock, said pop-up shooting ranges put hikers and campers around Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area at risk.

Conservation activists also say shooting in the area has caused elevated lead levels in the soil.

“I’ve been pounding on doors since 2001 over this,” Van Betten said. “This board is more environmentally conscious, and we are so grateful. Shooting doesn’t belong in Lovell Canyon.”