FLAGGED BILL: SB 120 – Target Shooting & Wildfire Regulations, Sen. Dayton

Republican Senator Margaret Dayton
Sen. Margaret Dayton (R)

2012 saw an unusually high number of wildfires, costing taxpayers several million dollars to eventually contain them all. While the fires were started for many different reasons, from lightning strikes to fireworks, target shooting was among those at fault.

In pro-gun Utah, target shooting is a time-honored tradition. But with the weather seeming to get warmer and warmer each summer, tracer ammunition and exploding targets can easily spell trouble in grass and shrubbery that has been dried out in 100 degree, humid-less heat.

SB 120, from Senator Margaret Dayton (Republican, Orem), seeks to limit the damage in future years. Current law gives power to the State Forester to prohibit open fires in areas of the state deemed hazardous during fire season, if necessary. Under SB 120, the State Forester will have the additional flexibility to ban target shooting during those times in those same areas.

Any bill that could even be perceived as regulating gun-use has problems passing through the Utah Legislature, so Senator Dayton has also included language in her bill clarifying that “Nothing in this chapter prohibits any resident within the area from full and free access to his home or property, or any legitimate use by the owner or lessee of the property.”

To contact Sen. Dayton, Click Here or call 801-221-0623

Impact on Average Utahn:

High Impact   5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0   No Impact

Need:

Necessary   5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0  Unnecessary

Overall Ranking:

Great Bill  5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 . -1 . -2 . -3 . -4 . -5  Poor Bill

4 Replies to “FLAGGED BILL: SB 120 – Target Shooting & Wildfire Regulations, Sen. Dayton

  1. The bill would take in to account that the Governor (or state forester ) doesn’t have the authority to ban target shooting at all, unless the legislature delegates that authority.

    Utah Constitution, Article I, Section 6. [Right to bear arms.]
    The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.

    Target shooting with traditional copper/lead bullets doesn’t spark. Almost all of the fires started this last summer were not traditional rounds, or they were shooting exploding targets or TVs.

    It is pretty rare that a bullet hitting a rock will either stop really fast and heat up enough to cause a fire or hit another rock to cause a spark.

    Shooting exploding targets or non-traditional rounds do spark.
    Shooting old TV’s during a fire danger is just plain dumb.
    If we are going to have any laws regulating target shooting, they should start with the obvious.

    Again, Do we really need more laws, or just more common sense?

    This last summer the state forester banned target shooting with non traditional rounds in much of the state. It was only a very narrow well defined area that target shooting was banned, after the forester and Governor also talked with the legislative leadership. A special session was avoided.

    I agree we need to change the law to allow for some target shooting control from the state forester. I am not sure SB 120 isn’t too broad.

  2. “Nothing in this chapter prohibits any resident within the area from full and free access to his home or property, or any legitimate use by the owner or lessee of the property. ”

    That is already part of state law.

  3. It appears that
    http://www.le.utah.gov/code/TITLE65A/htm/65A08_021200.htm

    With the changes proposed by SB 120 seem to be broader than
    those the Governor in consultation with the legislative leadership agreed to last summer.

    http://www.utah.gov/governor/news_media/article.html?article=7373

    Perhaps something like:
    The closure may include the restriction or prohibition of the use of firearms in target shooting in unincorporated areas of the state where the banning of non-traditional rounds, or exploding targets or devices, are not sufficient to protect against the extreme fire danger.

    The banning of target practice areas are only in very specific areas described or shown on a state website and by a signed notification by the state forester after consultation with county commissioners or officials and other local officials and sheriffs.

    The banning of fire arm target practice shall not ban the legal carrying of fire arms as protected under Art. I, 6.

  4. Somehow when you covered this on the Pod case, you missed what I was trying to state: (I will try to help with Caps)

    The closure MAY include the restriction or prohibition of the use of firearms in target shooting in unincorporated areas of the state WHERE the banning of non-traditional rounds, or exploding targets or devices, ARE NOT sufficient to protect against the extreme fire danger.

    The BANNING of target practice areas are only in very specific areas described or shown on a state website and by a signed notification by the state forester AFTER consultation with county commissioners or officials and other local officials and sheriffs.

    The banning of fire arm target practice SHALL NOT ban the legal carrying of fire arms as protected under Art. I, 6.

    You could ban the target practice in certain areas where just banning the use of steel core or steel jacketed bullets isn’t enough, but it would have to be in specific areas with local coordination. This is what happened this last summer. Most of the areas just had the non traditional bullets banned, such as steel core or steel jacketed bullets, but there were some specific areas where they banned totally target shooting. They did not ban carrying the guns in those areas, just target shooting.

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