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I'm trying to understand what laws and codes give guidance for the operation of a shooting range.

I'm particularly interested in the laws regarding hazardous materials (lead from the backstop(s)).

A doubtlessly-incomplete list of some things I've found already:

  • Federal Facility Compliance Act (FFCA)
  • Solid Waste Disposal Act § 3005
  • 307(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
  • Subtitle C (RCRA §§3001-3023)
  • 42 USC 103: CERCLA

I cannot find ATF info on this, and govinfo has very broad results on cases.

For avoidance of doubt, I am not interested in federal laws that govern all other general/generic topics in business.

I'm open to hearing about state-based laws, or definitive precedents and casework, too.


I'm getting close votes, but none of the criticisms apply. Please be more specific before downvoting or commenting. Thanks.

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    Are you interested in any particular state? – phoog Oct 28 at 15:40
  • I suggested closing on grounds of "too broad" but it also because it is a question asking for specific legal advice. Lots of laws that could sometimes apply (e.g. Indian reservations, federal lands (to which NEPA applies)), laws regulating firearms specifically, employment laws (including occupational licensing and age requirements), environmental treaties, both excise taxes specific to firearms and ammunition, chemical weapon laws, customs duties, labeling laws, firearm liability laws, other taxes, etc. It is always perilous to comprehensively list all laws that apply to complex activities. – ohwilleke Oct 28 at 18:32
  • This indeed sounds like it's one of those things where it's very location dependant. Texas may have very different rules than, say, Washington. – Mast Oct 28 at 20:43
  • I specifically asked about federal-level laws to avoid these 'state granularity' problems. I specifically asked about 'laws that give guidance' so that I could avoid soliciting legal advice. I want to know the range of codes that impact shooting ranges, not how to interpret them! – New Alexandria Oct 28 at 21:40
  • @Mast, "rules in general" would be very location-dependent, but "Federal rules" is an interesting subset, not least because of the Second Amendment. – Mark Oct 29 at 5:07
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If you want to understand how federal law on lead affects shooting ranges, it probably won't be very helpful just to find the relevant statutes. Most of those statutes empower some agency to implement the statutes by creating standards for businesses such as shooting ranges. These standards, not the statutes, are what shooting ranges actually care about, since they are the rules saying exactly what ranges can, and cannot, do.

Finding these standards is not easy. Searching the CFR or other federal data base will either be mind-numbingly tedious, futile or both. Luckily for you, the agencies that administer these statutes have put together pamphlets telling what laws are relevant to shooting ranges, what standards the agency has developed to implement the laws, and most importantly, the details about how those standards apply to shooting ranges. Those pamphlets are online. Here are some to get you started:

The EPA, which administers federal clean water and clean air laws, has a pamphlet covering best-management-practices for handling lead at outdoor firing ranges.

OSHA, which administers federal worker safety laws, has pamphlets covering the legal implications of lead at both indoor and outdoor ranges. (On the indoor page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Other resources.")

An industry group, NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) worked with OSHA to produce a booklet covering lead management for shooting ranges in some detail.

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In so far as I am aware, this would be a state issue that the Federal Government would not busy itself with beyond tangential concerns. I do know that gun ranges are allowed to let foreign tourists handle range owned guns and shoot them (under responsible supervision, I presume) as there is a niche tourism gun range industry in Hawaii that specializes in letting Japanese Tourists experience shooting a fire arm (Japan having some very strict weapons laws in general, and Hawaii being a popular Japanese tourist spot in the United States). Ordinarily, Federal Law prohibits the sale of fire arms to Non-U.S. Residents.

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