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Reader Michael in GA writes:

“It is a good Independence Day weekend when the cops don’t come to your house,” I sarcastically told my wife as we relaxed poolside listening to the Beach Bar Lounge channel on Pandora Saturday afternoon. Then the phone rings. It is my neighbor. She tells my wife that the police are at her house asking if they know anything about gunfire in the area.

Her husband was in his driveway when the County po-po rolled up. He told them he had heard shots earlier, but didn’t know who was doing it.

This was two hours after the last loud bang rang out and I heard it too…because, I was the one shooting at 1/4 pound exploding targets. My neighbor had been shooting also, but not with me and not at exploding targets. He lied to the police, and they moved on…to my house.

After the phone call, I decided to see if the county mounty was in my driveway. My teenage son and his friend and my older son were in the house so I wanted to be the one to answer the door.

I headed to my room to put a shirt on. I have seen enough episodes of COPS to know which guy gets cuffed.

As I peeked out the front window, I saw the grill of the cruiser. I froze. Then he pulled away so I leaned out to watch him leave, but suddenly he pulled forward again. I ran to my room to get that shirt. When I returned, he was leaving. He had pulled forward so he could back out without hitting my son’s car.

I had been thinking, what I would say? I don’t think I would have lied. Is it legal to shoot on my property? Yes, and no. County law says yes because we are in a residential/agriculture zone. State law, however, requires 275 yards distance from your neighbor’s house. I am about half that.

All the boys were upstairs so I went up to ask them if they heard a knock on the door or the doorbell ring. They said they heard nothing, but that isn’t surprising. They are boys whose selective hearing is limited to “Supper’s ready!”

So who called the cops? Back up one day to Friday, Independence Day.

I didn’t buy fireworks for the 4th. My son, the future engineer who’d attending Southern Polytechnic State University this fall, mentioned wanting to buy $50 worth of Snap N Pops and combining them to make a bigger bang. I suggested we just get Tannerite and that $50 worth would be more bang for the buck…literally.

My LGS didn’t carry Tannerite brand, but had a similar product made by H2Targets that was rated for .22 and pistol calibers. I bought four 1/4 pound targets and two 10-pack Baby Boomers. The shop owner threw in another 1/4 pounder for free.

Friday afternoon we mixed up the five 1/4 pound jars and one 10-pack of Baby Boomers. We set out three of the jars and five of the little ones. I didn’t want to be too close to the 1/4 pounders so we shot them with my AR from about 40 yards. We had to move in close to hit the 1 1/4″ Baby Boomer targets with the 9mm.

What a blast! A good time was had by all. All but one of my neighbors.

After shooting most of the targets, we heard a woman yelling “Stop!” from the next house over. They have a pool and there was a handful of people over there playing horse shoes, corn hole, swimming, yelling, cheering. Typical Independence Day noise.

I figured the sound of M80s, cherry bombs, and bottle rockets were typical this weekend as well, so shooting wouldn’t be much different. That’s when my neighbor on the other side started shooting. I decided to give it a rest for a while and the boys wanted to wait til it got darker so the flash would be more visible.

Later on, just before sunset my son and his friend came out snickering. They said the 20-year-old girl next door came over wearing just a bikini and smelling of alcohol. She was yelling at my son that if we don’t stop shooting, she would call the police. My son advised her that we were not the only ones shooting. She said that we should tell them to stop, too.

I don’t know if my son told her to tell them herself. That would have been my reply.

Then this bizarre exchange took place. She asked my 18-year-old, “Are you Nick?” (my 23-year-old). He said “No, Nathan”. She said “Is Nick short for Nathan?” I think he just gave her a blank stare at that point. I know the gunshots and explosions didn’t bother her because of what she told my son next. “I have four small children from 1 to 4 years old and your cannon is scaring them!” (LOOK AT THIS BABY!)

Then she said “You don’t shoot on Holidays when people have company over!” I guess I was brought up differently because that’s when we most likely shot and especially on Independence Day. By the way, she doesn’t live there. She was visiting her mother.

Let’s put aside the fact that a drunk bikini-clad 20-year-old girl who has 4 children already is at my door complaining about my “cannon fire” in a neighborhood she doesn’t live in. It’s The Fourth of July! If you can’t blast your cannon once a year in celebration of America’s Independence, when can you!? At any rate, I dispensed with the celebratory gunfire for the remainder of the evening and was relegated to listening to all the other celebratory mortars and bottle rockets going off throughout the countryside.

The next day, however, I had all these unexploded targets to dispose of. Once you mix the two ingredients, you can not safely store them. I waited until mid day and then properly disposed of them, shooting the two jars and four of the small targets and throwing the last one in a fire. It discharged as expected. On cue, my neighbor popped off several shots from his rifle. The girl who complained the day before and her family were not outside at the time.

So I’m pretty sure I know who called the police. I’m also pretty sure what time she called and that it took them two hours to respond. They respond soon enough if it is a real emergency. I just imagine the look on the face of the deputy when he was asked to go investigate loud bang noises on the Fourth of July weekend. Really? Out in the country? The audacity of some people.

My only regret is that I didn’t have some “official noise-making devices” such as M80s and cherry bombs. You know…typical Independence Day percussion devices. She did leave me an option…”not on Holidays when people are visiting”. I guess she doesn’t give a crap about her aging mother who has to live next door to me. It’s for the children.

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  1. Sounds like she has a nose problem: keeping it out of the business of other folks…

  2. Didn’t John Adams say to celebrate the Forth with fireworks and the shooting of guns? Just following what the founding fathers say to do.

      • [Independence Day]… will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

  3. I only know one form of corn hole, maybe it’s a regional thing
    Please describe the activity you are referring to in as few words as possible

    • I’d always heard it called “Bean Bag Toss” until one day I was in a bar in Tennessee. A guy with a rather reddish shade of neck walks in from the back and puts a metal bucket full of bean bags up on the bar. Well I’m half in the bag and curious at this point, so I ask the guy what the bean bags are for. He says, in a very Tennessee accent, “It’s for the cornhole game!” I ask him to repeat that, as I didn’t think I heard him correctly. “You know, cornhole?” he says as he mimes a beanbag toss motion.

      It was all I could do not to laugh out loud. But I generally try my best not to laugh at rednecks in bars, it usually doesn’t lead to good things.

    • Corn hole is the same as “cash” hole, only on opposite ends. Farmers use that all the time. When they don’t have cash available, and the corn crop was good, they simple used corn instead of cash. I hope that explains it for you.

    • Corn Hole may get its name from the fact that corn is used to fill the bags that are tossed. I don’t know for sure because since this city mouse moved to the country, the game was well established with the NASCAR folks. It is a fun game though once you get past the name. The Baptist Church up the road had a Corn Hole Tournament. I asked my wife “don’t they know what that word means?”

  4. “State law, however, requires 275 yards distance from your neighbor’s house.”

    An odd, and oddly specific, regulation. Any clue what the background is on that rule? Why 275 and not 250 or 300?

    • It’s almost exactly .25 km. 251.4 meters to be exact. It’s a not-so-uncommon distance used.

      My best guess at least.

      • The person who wrote the law had a neighbor 274 yards away that he didn’t want shooting….

    • Someone care to point out the Ga state law that says that? Pretty sure it does not….

      • I could not find it either. I read it over a year ago and most of the current laws were written in 2013.
        Well! Now I can expand my backyard range! Yippie!

      • Update: I was mistaken and I found the laws recently. It is State law that allows me to shoot on my property due to the agriculture zoning. It is County law that stipulates 200, not 275 yards from a neighbor’s house.
        I was quoting from memory and the 275 number came up because I am actually 175 yards from my neighbor’s house just inside the 200 yard requirement.
        Thanks for noticing.

  5. My uncle had a terrible fondness for fireworks. A little alcohol, and out would come the silver salutes and the cherry bombs from his stash of thousands of dollars worth. The only problem was that his affinity was so well known, the Chicago PD didn’t have to go door to door asking questions when it got loud in the neighborhood, they’d just pull up in the alley and tell him to knock it off.

    • Ok to get the proper visual. Try this.

      Go to the deli, get a half pound of REALLY rare roast beef. split the stack in to 2 equal portions. While holding each raw portion in hand, move them together until approx 2-3″ distance remains between them. Stop there and ponder the wad of beef before you…this will come close….lol

    • I don’t know. I was out back with my beautiful wife. The last time I saw this girl, she was 10 years old and she had ears that stick out so far that all her hair could be held back by them. My son said she now has gauges in them. If you have Dumbo ears, why accentuate them with mutilation?

  6. I had some renters of a house across the road from my property a few years ago call the sheriff on me when I was doing a little shooting one afternoon. When I walked out to my gate he just told me to carry on.

  7. No guns but we loaded the pop can cannon (shoots concrete filled cans 500+ yards) with tennis balls pointed straight up and cut loose with 250 grains of ff powder. Loud enough to rattle windows for a block. No complaints as all the neighbors love to watch it in action and the kids like to try and catch the balls on the way down.

  8. Big boom scary. Ban big boom.
    I could hear fireworks on the 3rd, but everyone knows it’s gonna happen. Maybe it’s a loud noise with tannerite but ~140 yards seems safe enough for me.

  9. If you recall your Dickens, Mr Wemmick in Great Expectations lived in hand built castle in central London complete with a cannon that he would fire every night at 2100 sharp.

    This fourth, like every fourth, it sounded like Gulf war III. Even with a complete ban on fireworks.

    I live across from a military base and they are always making bangs plus playing the national anthem every afternoon and taps every night.

    I go out on my balcony and salute.

  10. This was the WORST 4th ever in my neighborhood south of Chicago. The most explosions ever & hard to breathe. And lots of probable gunfire. It would be paradise living in the countryside and the only thing to worry about is a 20 year old welfare gueen with 4 little kids…

    • It is both. Pearl Harbor Day is December 7th, D-Day is June 6th, 911 is September 11th. It is just as important to remember the dates as well as the significance.

  11. Honestly, I try to be a good neighbor and let people do what they want, but Tannerite close to my house, especially without warning me first, would probably piss me off too. People in my neighborhood set off full-blown (i.e. explosive, aerial) fireworks every 4th (keep in mind its a 1/8th acre plot kinda neighborhood) which are illegal in CT, and it drives me nuts because there is zero consideration for safety. If one of those is fired inappropriately, it’s not just going to set their house on fire, but mine too, and probably a couple of the other neighbors houses. I’d say unless you are really, really secluded, leave the explosives alone. It’s just unneighborly.

    • Fair enough, but you are obviously in a different kind of neighborhood.

      The context of the neighborhood matters. Houses right on top of each other puts a higher demand on the degree of ‘freedom’ one can exercise on ones own property.

      I don’t think we humans were really meant to live like ants. Give me a few hundred acres and I’m starting to feel more comfortable.

      • Context of the neighborhood does matter. The author was inside of half the legal distance from another house for discharging firearms. Shooting and blowing up tannerite within 140 yards of someone else’s house is an a-hole move.

        • @TT: Another reading comprehension fail on TTAG.

          I was specifically speaking to the CT commenter’s comparison of his neighborhood to that of the original author. Kyle in CT was making general remarks that DO NOT APPLY to every case.

          Not everyone lives in an apartment (where shooting guns “on your property” would be very bad), not everyone lives in a subdivision with houses 20 ft apart (shooting on your own property would be questionable at best), not everyone lives in semi-rural neighborhoods (like the original author) and not everyone lives out west with 100’s of acres.

          Context matters in terms of making COMMENTS about how people “should act” on their own property.

          But, hey, never give up a change to be snarky on the Internet, right? Even if it proves the old adage about “removing all doubt.”

    • ^ Why CT is what it is.

      “I’m for freedom … except for this one thing.” * 3.59M

      • That makes no sense. All he was asking for a little courtesy if your going set off Tannerite in densely populated neighborhood. Not everyone is able to live on 100 acres.

        My brother has a home that is about 1/4 mile from the nearest home and that home owned by a State Trooper. He never says a word when we shoot off fireworks which are illegal in our state. There densely populated areas and there farm communities, it is about a little respect for your neighbors sometime.

  12. 20 yr old mother of four?

    Man, that is impressive, she been pregnant for about 1/6 of her life.

  13. Ya know there was this girl I began a relation ship with when I was 19 and she was 21, I found out she had a kid and bolted

  14. This is the very reason I live way out in the boondocks. I have 80 acres, surrounded by other (gun-loving) family members’ land, and bordered by a timber company and hunting club. They would probably call the sheriff if THEY DIDN’T HEAR ME SHOOTING – especially on Independence Day!

  15. Don’t feel bad. My neighbor calls the sheriff roughly once a month because he doesn’t like me shooting, riding dirt bikes, or any other of the things I do on my property. It doesn’t matter that it’s completely legal, which the sheriff reminds him each time. Apparently being old and a Vietnam vet is rough. I try to sympathize, but I also worry he’s going to lose it.

  16. I headed to my room to put a shirt on. I have seen enough episodes of COPS to know which guy gets cuffed.

    I guess I’m not the only one who noticed…

  17. The author sounds like the kind of guy who bothers everybody around him and thinks everybody else is the problem. If it’s illegal to shoot in your back yard, don’t shoot in your backyard.

    • You determined that based on what happened one weekend out of the 13 years I have been living there. You’re awesome! Can you tell me what happened to my lost dog? She ran off three days before we completed my fence.

  18. >> Is it legal to shoot on my property? Yes, and no. County law says yes because we are in a residential/agriculture zone. State law, however, requires 275 yards distance from your neighbor’s house.

    Sounds like the answer is No.

  19. “Is it legal to shoot on my property? Yes, and no…State law, however, requires 275 yards distance from your neighbor’s house.”

    This is false. There is no such prohibition in the O.C.G.A.

    • Can’t find it either. I found it before I bought my gun last year and even took measurements of my lot using the tax assessor’s map. If I shoot from the back corner of my lot I can get 240 yards from the nearest residence. I disregarded this because every other house in my neighbor has gun owners that shoot from time to time. I never shoot after six and never on the weekends. This was an exception being Independence day.

  20. i had a problem years ago with some property i owned in an old ore cut back about 75 yards from a trailer park the property was fenced and posted we had 100 ft cliff faces to shoot at and only one way in or out unless you fell down a cliff well the trailer park people complained of the noise so after finaly finding us and believe me they had to hunt for it they came back there with about 10 squad cars and basically applied a county noise ordinance to shut us down well that meant that after 8pm we couldn’t fire our weapons so at 7:59 we’d all load up their were any where from 5 15 people depending on the day with ak’s and ar-15’s and have a mad minute. my point is my land i’ll do what i damn well please besides i was there first

  21. We shot several 1 lb tannerites after dark on the fourth… Less than 100 yards to the neighbors. Everyone on our road stopped their fireworks for a second and cheered. Alabama is a special place…

    • The 1/4lb was thrilling. I could feel the heat wave. I can’t imagine what the full pound is like especially since the Tannerite brand packs a little more wallop than the H2Targets. I set two of them on hickory logs and they split them.

  22. And to think I merely spent my Fourth of July manning a Pro-2A organization booth at my local park during the town’s celebration.

    There were plenty of fireworks though when an angry Liberal came up to us screaming we were a danger to children in the park merely because we were armed.

    • Liberals scream a lot.
      It’s best to wear ear protection when they are near, and to just ignore them.
      Like children, they hate to be ignored.
      While manning booths at fairs, in parks, or other public places, one should have on hand 2 or 3 baby bottles filled with warm milk to calm them.

  23. My neighbor and I try to outdo each other every year on the 4th. It’s a fine day. People need to relax

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