June 29, 2012
Officials: 20 Recent Wildfires Started Accidentally by Recreational Shooters
Wildfires and gun control may not seem to have any obvious connection, but with a historic fire season already raging, officials say many of the wildfires, specifically in Utah, have been accidentally set by recreational shooters. This, predictably, has set off a (pardon the pun) raging firestorm of controversy over when state officials can and cannot limit recreational shooting on public land.
From this story in the LA Times:
"Twenty. That’s the number of wildfires officials believe recreational shooters have caused so far this summer in Utah. One of those wildfires — the Dump fire 40 miles south of Salt Lake City — prompted 2,300 evacuation notices and has led to a 6,023-acre blaze.
It has also led to something of a constitutional controversy in Utah, where state law prevents state agencies from enacting any rule to restrict recreational shooting without the Legislature’s permission — even in areas at high risk for fires, even during a drought. Which might explain why the Utah governor is begging residents to be more careful. “Now is not a good time to take your gun outside and start shooting in cheat grass that’s tinder dry,” Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said Friday..."
Thoughts? Reaction? Is it a case of "we need to self-police and be more careful" or do the fires seem like a convenient way to take a few (again, pardon the pun) easy shots at gun owners?