“Some of the wildfires scorching the West this year were sparked by unusual culprits: Gun owners. Or, more specifically, gun shooters.” Huh? Oh, csmonitor.com means gun owners who shoot guns. (Where’s a Venn diagram when you need one?) Incendiary rounds, incendiary journalism or true story? “As with the Dump fire in Utah, which flared hard enough on Friday to force the evacuation of 1,500 homes and 9,000 people, nearly two dozen conflagrations, officials say, have started accidentally by careless target shooters whose bullet sparks touch off dried-up pinon and wild grasses.” The media is on board with that, blaming ricochets for the conflagrations. Let’s look a little closer [via heraldextra.com) . . .
Last week, target shooters using explosive targets started a fire that burned about 200 acres; they were cited for using illegal targets. Two other fires have been attributed to target shooting in the last month in about the same area.
Tannerite much? How much? Two dozen fires worth? I doubt it. Anyway, the idea that plain old target shooting’s to blame for these wildfires is the meme of the day. And something must be done! Back to csmonitor.com:
“Now is not a good time to take your gun outside and start shooting in cheat grass that’s tinder dry,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said.”
Especially if there’s a wildfire raging. While Herbert knows better than to outright antagonize his gun owning voters (i.e. all of them), calls for a temporary emergency ban on outdoor firearms use are simmering in the Beehive State . . .
While authorities can ban certain fire-related activities when fire risks are high, that’s not true with guns, the carrying and use of which are staunchly protected by state and federal law, including several recent Supreme Court decisions.
In Utah, for example, a state law prohibits the state from enacting emergency bans on guns, putting Gov. Herbert in a position of instead asking county governments to issue emergency rules for outdoor gun use as wildfire conditions prevail across the West.
Wait. Yeah that’ll make them real popular.
Once again, government officials are looking to create preventative legislation against behaviors which are already illegal, evoking the law of unintended consequences while eroding individual liberty. heraldextra.com:
According to Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s office, those found responsible for starting the fire can be charged for starting the fire if it is found they were acting in a reckless manner when the fire was ignited. Cannon said civil fines also could be imposed on the culprits to aid in recovering the cost of fighting the fire.
Can you imagine trying to [back] draft a law that would “pre-solve” this problem without enabling gun grabbers? Nor can I. How about tackling some of the land management practices (or lack thereof) that create conditions for wildfires instead?