Utah –-(Ammoland.com)- Shooters are being blamed for accidentally starting 20 wildfires in Utah already this year.
Interpreting that statistic at face value we have 95% of the 400 man-caused wild fires in Utah this year were NOT caused by shooters.
Regardless, every Utah shooter needs to do their utmost to prevent dangerous and costly fires.
USSC is the state's strongest advocate for safe and legal use of firearms and being able to shoot in as many places as possible. However, common sense demands that we all exercise extreme caution in extraordinary weather conditions. That includes cancelling some shooting events, and NOT shooting in the wildlands when it is not safe. If in doubt, don't shoot!
Some politicians, decision makers, lobbyists, bureaucrats and people with an anti-gun agenda are using the fires as an excuse to call for new laws outlawing shooting in many parts of the state. The first areas to go will be those that have been traditionally safe for shooting. If a shooting ban law passes it will all but impossible to ever have it rescinded.
We must take every step possible to prevent such unnecessary and ineffective laws from passing. Responsible people will use common sense without need for new laws. It is more likely to become the foundation for even worse, more restrictive laws in the future. Regardless, a few careless, unthinking people will ignore both common sense and any laws and start fires by fireworks, camping, shooting, smoking or other fire causing actions when they should know better. If you see someone acting in such a manner, speak up and let them know. For most folks it only takes a reminder.
Especially during “Red Flag” fire danger conditions, USSC urges everyone to plan your shooting activities at established, well maintained shooting areas or ranges or better yet use indoor ranges if available. In all situations it is best to avoid firing into or from any vegetated areas, especially those with dry grass or shrubs anywhere near where bullets will hit. Although ignition from bullets is rare, it can occur, and conditions are just too dangerous right now to risk that.
In addition, anyone who starts a fire (even accidentally) can be forced to pay the costs of fighting the fire and any damages. That can run into millions of dollars.
Check the weather and use common sense when planning outdoor activities. Consider carefully any outdoor shooting on hot, dry, windy days. Instead use an established, maintained shooting range. Pay attention to bans on campfires, BBQs, and be alert for hazardous conditions even if there are no official bans in place USSC encourages safety, common sense, good judgment and preparedness while recreating outdoors. In the summer months extra care should be taken in the use of campfires, smoking, fireworks, hiking, the use of off roads vehicles as well as shooting. Remember to hydrate yourself and use sunscreen, and follow all other hot weather precautions in all your outdoor activities.
If you have an area where you shoot, this would be a good time to clear away all the vegetation anywhere near the targets or impact area. If your established range is not doing that, organize a work party to correct it. If you plan to shoot, then include plans for fighting any fires that might accidentally start in your area. Take along a fire extinguisher, extra water, a shovel, and a cell phone in case you need to call for help. You also might want to review conditions around your property to ensure there is a “defensible space” around buildings in case a fire starts nearby.
As a reminder, it is illegal to fire any tracer ammunition in Utah except on military ranges.
Remember, 380 of the 400 man-caused wild fires in Utah this year were started by people OTHER THAN SHOOTERS, but politicians and anti-gun folks are targeting shooters for new limitations. Do your part NOW to stop bad gun laws! And, if bad laws do get introduced, USSC will lead the charge to defeat them!
And when safe to go shooting, take your whole family and include someone who has never shot before and introduce them to the sport!
Utah Shooting Sport's Council strongly encourages the Governor and Legislature to resist the urge to legislate any new gun restrictions where clear communication of the problem and public education on the issue, along with Utahns exercising their own good judgment will suffice.
This Governor and the Legislature have a history of working in cooperation with USSC because of our active members. We need you now to contact them. Let them know you are a Member of USSC, “Utah's Gun Lobby” . Show them that USSC members are active and concerned with the fires in the state. Show them by your calls that you are part of the solution not part of the problem. Show them that they can be encouraged to work with you and us by your firm but cordial tone.
Please take the time, this weekend or Monday morning at the latest to contact your legislature and the Governor's office and your county officials to encourage clear thinking on this issue and to avoid knee jerk, reactionary legislation that will not fix the problem but rather muddy the waters and create a false sense of security.
Go to utah.gov for information on contacting your legislators.Thank You Sincerely,
Chairman Utah Shooting Sports Council
The Utah Shooting Sports Council represents the citizens of Utah who safely and legally own and use firearms, exercising rights guaranteed under both the United States and Utah constitutions. Visit:www.utahshootingsports.com