Shooting blanks would be illegal

Looking forward to the Nov. 6 election results, I anticipate some "outdoor celebrations" similar to a typical Medford Fourth of July bang-fest. Since the fireworks vendors have packed up and left, that leaves us with few options for making noise. I think it is illegal (and a dumb idea) to discharge firearms, but would it be legal to discharge a firearm using legal or homemade "blank" ammunition?

— Ted, Medford

Well, Ted, you could fire off live or blank ammunition on election eve, or any day for that matter, if you live in the unincorporated areas of Jackson County. But in Medford, it's illegal to shoot blanks, although not for the reason you might think.

Medford has a law against the discharge of a weapon within city limits, and it bans everything from rifles and pistols to bows and arrows, slingshots and even air-soft guns, says Lt. Mike Budreau of the Medford Police Department.

But shooting blanks doesn't fall under that ordinance because blanks have no bullet or other projectile associated with it, Budreau says.

But celebrating anything by shooting blanks is illegal under Medford's exhaustive ordinance against noise disturbance, Budreau says. Although not specifically stated in that ordinance, shooting blanks definitely would be considered a significant noise violation. And the fine on that violation, Ted, is $150.

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