Utah: update on bill to restrict target shooting during enhanced wildfire danger

The bill that Utah state senator Margaret Dayton withdrew after it received criticism from shooting enthusiasts will continue to be pushed through the legislative process, the senator announced on Thursday. The bill would give the state forester authority to temporarily restrict target shooting during periods of enhanced wildfire danger. The new version of the bill would stipulate that the ban could only be enacted with the support of the locally elected sheriff.

According to Utah State Forester Dick Buehler, of the 1,528 fires in the state in 2012, 33 were caused by target shooting which cost over $16 million to suppress. In October, 2012 when we wrote about the increasing number of fires started by target shooters using exploding targets, we found 10 fires started by these devices in Utah over a 5-month period last year. One of them burned over 5,500 acres.

Ban bird watching?

Here is an excerpt from an article in the Salt Lake Tribune.

[Senator Dayton] decided to hold the bill last week to try to iron out the differences, but the two sides couldn’t forge a compromise. [Utah Shooting Sports Council Chairman Clark] Aposhian didn’t attend Dayton’s press event Thursday.

“He did not agree to this,” Dayton said. “We didn’t ask the gun community to be present today. But we feel by working with Representative Curt Oda and the Sheriffs’ Association, we can help people understand these are intense efforts to protect Second Amendment rights.”

Aposhian said he wanted the bill to restrict access to everyone — not just target shooters.

“If it restricts gun owners from going there, then it should also restrict bird watchers,” he said. “It has to be closed to everybody.”.


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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Utah: update on bill to restrict target shooting during enhanced wildfire danger”

  1. I currently own rifles, shotguns and pistols; while Active Duty Army, I qualified with an M-14, M-16, M-60 machine gun, .50 cal Machine gun, M-79 grenade launcher and a 45 caliber pistol; I like guns! But Mr Aposhian from the Utah Shooting Sports Council makes me want to distance myself from him and others who follow his blind lead, using stupid examples like bird watchers being banned. As fire folks, we manage risk, and target shooting and exploding targets are definite fire risks during periods of dry conditions and high fire danger; bird watching not so much, if at all. Fires under those conditions put firefighters and the general public at unnecessary risk and that is unacceptable. Mr. Aposhian can wrap himself in the American flag and the 2nd Amendment, but stupid is still stupid, and opposing this proposed Bill is just plain STUPID.We restrict logging operations, open campfires, smoking and debris burning: guess they weren’t in the Constitution?


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