ROCKPORT, Texas — Residents of Aransas County might be hearing more gunshots near their houses. Those gunshots might even be piercing their houses or even cars.
Although, it’s not supposed to be that way.
Aransas County Sherif Bill Mills said the department has been getting more calls from concerned residents saying more people are shooting out in open fields, not knowing bullets can travel long distances towards residential areas. He attributes that to the changing times.
“We can’t enjoy the open spaces that we had 10 or 20 years ago in Aransas County. It’s just…population has grown, we don’t have the areas that are secluded with one or two residents and nobody around. That doesn’t exist anymore,” Mills said.
Mills said people are even shooting on public roadways and primarily around Copano Bay in Rockport and in the South end of the county between FM-1069 and the bypass.
As a supporter of people’s 2nd Amendment rights, he said residents should shoot responsibly and be more conscientious of where they shoot. Mills said you can face game and fish violations like trespassing by projectile and reckless conduct if you do break the law.
“Create an earthen berm, create a whole, make you a backstop, ensure that your projectile is not going past that backstop,” he advised.
He said people should go to shooting ranges to practice rather than open fields.
Schwenke’s Rifle and Pistol Range in Aransas Pass owner Virgene Schwenke said he has a lot of people from Aransas County come to his gun range, even people that have been caught shooting in fields, who have been caught by game wardens, those game wardens referring them to Schwenke’s range.
“They just need to respect the rifle, area they’re in and not shoot until they know that that bullet will stop where it’s going to stop. That bullet can go for miles,” Schwenke said.
Paul White is a veteran and also used to be a range master. He goes to Schwenke’s to practice and as a resident of Rockport, has also heard of people shooting out in open fields.
“It’s a huge safety issue. that’s why I use this range. It’s completely secure and we know where the bullets are going. Everyone should use a properly certified range or don’t shoot at all,” White said.