Herbert, legislative leaders agree state can ban target shooting to prevent fires

Gov. calls the legal situation 'complicated'

Published: Monday, July 2 2012 8:00 p.m. MDT

A group affiliated with the national progressive organization MoveOn.org is gathering signatures online on a petition calling for Herbert to ban fireworks.

"How much of our state do we have to watch burn before seeing a 'ban' on fireworks? The governor has currently issued a ban on Utah state lands. This does not go far enough and leaves too much confusion as to where fireworks can or can't be used," the petition states. "We should not be using any fireworks anywhere in Utah, period."

The SignOn.org site reports that more than 4,500 people have added their names to the petition, which is scheduled to be delivered Tuesday to the governor.

Petition organizer Tom Mills said he's frustrated by "a combination of how extreme our fire danger is and the fact that we're relying on the common sense of the average individual."

A landscape photographer from South Salt Lake, Mills said he's not opposed to fireworks.

"I love to be oohed and ahhed by pretty colors just as much as the next person," he said. 

Herbert's reaction to the petition was that the state is not going to overreact to the fires.

"What we don't want to do is be like Congress," he said. "Congress is good at doing two things. One is nothing, and two is overreact. We don’t want to do that. Again, we want to do what is appropriate, measured and thoughtful. That's what we're doing. We're not going to overreact on that."

The governor said fireworks are already banned outside of local entities, many of which have their own restrictions.

"We can meet together and pass law after law after law. But you can't pass a law that outlaws stupid. We have foolish behavior going on out there," he said, calling again on Utahns to use common sense to prevent fires.

"We shouldn't say, 'Gee, is there a law against me parking my car over some dry weeds and maybe touching off a fire?' … Most fires are caused by foolish behaviors by us humans," Herbert said. "You can't have a law that covers everything."

Twitter: dnewspolitics

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