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

Gov. calls the legal situation 'complicated'


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  • county mom Monroe, UT
    July 7, 2012 12:58 a.m.

    Why not ban all fireworks? No one has the right to light fireworks.

  • taichik provo, ut
    July 4, 2012 7:34 p.m.

    So I guess herbert isn’t drawing any salary from taxpayers, if his job is to do nothing. Same for the utah legislature.
    If they don’t want to act when we’re in an emergency—and the fires have burned huge areas, including homes and poisoned the air for the rest of us—when do they act? They are lawmakers, for heavens sake!

    and the argument that we must be wise doesn't apply to traffic laws. most of us are wise drivers and follow good judgment, yet we have to outlaw speeding, etc. for those who are not wise.
    why not outlaw unwise target shooting, fireworks, and parking hot cars on dry weeds?

    herbert is just afraid to lead. he's a follower.

  • Freedom-In-Danger WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 3, 2012 5:52 p.m.

    WAIT! I got it!

    We should just ban lightening!! That's a great idea. Now fires will NEVER happen again. lol No fireworks, no lightening, no fun, no rubbing feat on carpets either (friction = heat = fire risk). It all makes perfect sense now!

  • Freedom-In-Danger WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 3, 2012 5:49 p.m.

    So... if I built a swimming pool in the middle of an acre of concrete, would I get arrested for lighting a firework over the pool? Blanket decisions like this are bad for law as they exclude the possibility of lawful actions. What's worse is when the vast majority of fires are not caused by fireworks anyway. Maybe they should ban people jumping as they don't want it to induce an Earthquake... you know, cause we're prone to have those too.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 3, 2012 12:05 p.m.

    I heard a satistic about the fires in Utah this year. So far we have had about 400 man caused fires, and only 20 were caused by guns. That is 5% of all the fires. Doesn't that mean that there is a bigger problem out there then guns?

    Why go after the smallest problem, shouldn't we be going after what is causing the greatest number of fires?

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    July 3, 2012 8:19 a.m.

    Utah 1.
    So ban exploding targets.
    I'm a huge hunting/gun guy, and I have never figured out why exploding targets are legal.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 3, 2012 12:37 a.m.

    Pretty easy. Shooting at exploding targets is what caused one or two fires and is already banned.

    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.

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    July 3, 2012 12:30 a.m.

    If we are leave the responsibility of local governments to decide on whether or not to restrict fireworks and to what extent, then shouldn't each local government assume sole responsibility of the consequences of their decisions. Why should one city or county offer to help with a fire caused by fireworks in another jurisdiction if that government decided to allow fireworks and another didn't. Why should some taxpayers have to pay for another jurisdictions deciding to offer more freedom and liberty to their residents while while taxpayers and their governments in another jurisdiction are more responsible and restrict fireworks? Where is the fairness in that? This is similar to what's going on in Europe and having Germany bail out other less responsible European governments.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    July 2, 2012 9:30 p.m.

    Everybody on this comment board has one thing in common, they all read or listen to the news.

    But, and this is the real point, there are so many out there that do not listen, read, or watch the news. That the Governor says to use common sense, that the fire experts say don't do this or that, is never heard by a whole lot of people. And then there are those that hear these warnings, but they are of the opinion that it will never happen to them. As for banning fireworks, you can ban all you want. Fireworks will still be set off, curfews will be ignored, bottle rockets (illegal all the time) will be set off, as will fire crackers (also illegal in Utah all the time).

    With the lack of enforcement over the years, the turning of a blind eye of law enforcement, the crying of wolf so many times, people just don't listen or they don't believe those in authority. As Forest Gump's mommy taught him, "Stupid is as stupid does". And there are always some that think they are exempt.

  • collegestudent25 Cedar City, UT
    July 2, 2012 9:18 p.m.

    I still do not believe target shooting with regular ammunition could cause a fire. Some have "admitted" that they started fires target shooting. I don't believe it. I think they started the fire doing something they shouldn't have been doing and blamed it on target shooting. Maybe there should be a ban on throwing rocks too. You can generate just as much sparks and heat doing that. I really don't care if they ban target shooting now I just don't like ideas being passed as fact.

    July 2, 2012 8:25 p.m.

    The Pole Creek is said to have been started by fire works so that is at least one.

  • Tiger5 Cache county, USA
    July 2, 2012 8:22 p.m.

    Let see.
    Im from Oregon, where we have nice wet ground.
    You guys live in Utah where it's nice and dry.
    Oregon is nice and liberal.
    Utah is nice and conservative, like me.
    Utah gets wild fires, and guns are to blame.
    Utah, a state where hunting and guns bring in probably a 500 million dollars a year in revenue.
    Explain this. How does a bullet start a fire? Think before you answer this.

  • MOMS Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2012 8:20 p.m.

    I love the picture with the aricle. Target practice against a rock wall. FIRE. FIRE.

    Oh, the Governor means a different type of fire. What a silly man.

  • ProudUtahn St. George, Utah
    July 2, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    Most of the posts I have read are overreating. It has been against the law to set off fireworks all year except a few special times. I hear them going off long before they should.
    Hunting is illegal except during the season with the right licence. We hear of poaching all year long. My point is we do not need more laws and wait for the politicians to do something.
    Educate our selves, be cautious, inform others, pay attention when others are doing something that is not sensible,note it down,turn in the licence plate numbers or peoples names that were in the area fires start so the Governer and other officials can have it investigated and make charges when appropriate. You cannot legislate stupidity but can charge for the results and hope the lesson is learned at that time.

  • utesovertide Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2012 7:32 p.m.

    In fact, since I doubt much snowplow budget was used this year due to the mild winter, why not expend some of that money and get the communities, cities, and State to put some resources into cutting down and removing the fuels from the 'tinder dry' areas?

    Obviously, this isn't possible in wilderness areas, so that's why strict bans should be enforced there. But in other areas where it makes sense, let's fight it from the other direction by reducing the concentration of dry fuels.

  • utesovertide Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2012 7:18 p.m.

    CHS 85,

    Just curious, but if you have a tinder dry field next to your house, why not deal with that problem on an individual or small community level and get it to a state where the grasses, etc, are less of a fire hazard. Get someone to cut the grasses down with a large field mower, or something to that effect.

    Yes, there are risky spots in the valley, but if the communities would get together with volunteer groups and such, you would be able to substantially reduce the risk in a few hours of work.

    I work with pyrotechnics a lot and know that trees don't catch fire as easily as you might think. It is the grasses, brush, and other dry vegetation that cause the bulk of the problem, Which makes solving the problem that much more straight forward.

    Why wait for an "act of Congress"? Let's solve the actual problems in the valley instead of hoping people with less common sense will follow some law or restriction.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 2, 2012 6:54 p.m.

    To CHS 85,

    Whoever owns the undeveloped land in your neighborhood should be required to keep the grass/brush cut. In our city out east, if you did not keep your undeveloped land in the city limits cleared, the city would inspect and have the land cleared at the owner's expense. There was a 15 day or so notification and warning period, then the lot/land was cleared by the city. There was a maximum height for brush set by city ordinance.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 2, 2012 6:33 p.m.

    I understand that conditions are extreme. And there are risks, particularly near the foothills. In the valley, it would be more effective, however, to enforce the ordinances regarding keeping open lots/fields cleared and mowed, than to ban fireworks. As others have noted, not a single fire has been ignited by fireworks. Ad if brush and folliage near homes were cleared, the risks if there is an ignition from any source would be greatly diminished.

    The fireworks sold in Utah only fly 150 feet and, have quick cool-down design features to reduce risk. If shot off in a city setting where lawns are watered, brush is cleared, etc., the risks are very low.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    July 2, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    I was thinking on how all this dry weather and fireworks bans will effect those poor people who wait all year so they can make money running those firework stands. As we were driving home, I saw several of these stands and they had no customers at that time. This drought is hurting a lot of people. I feel sorry for the people who run those fireworks stands because they count on making money this time of the year.

  • Tyme2 Murray, UT
    July 2, 2012 5:56 p.m.

    So you think banning target shooting is going to solve anything. My guess is next they will think they are going to ban hunting, someone might miss their deer and start a fire. Lets get real people, just be smart about how you do things.

  • emp1 Provo, UT
    July 2, 2012 5:53 p.m.

    Banning fireworks and target shooting for a season may decrease the chances of a fire but it really would not solve the problem. Bottom line is...people have to be careful and if they are not, then consequences must be applied.
    Instead of banning anything, just make the people causing these problems responsible for their actions. Obviously, they will not be able to pay back the damage by monetary means but they can do years of community service or even jail time if necessary (especially now that we are on alert).
    The majority of fires have been cause by single individuals not by an entire state. Let's not overreact.

    July 2, 2012 5:42 p.m.

    For those wondering if fireworks have caused any fires I offer the following quote from a KSL TV news story of June 28: "Fireworks were being blamed for starting the Pole Creek Fire on Wednesday near Neola, Duchesne County. The fire had burned 1,342 acres as of Thursday with zero percent containment". An there is another valid reason to ban fireworks right now; air quality. This is a headline from a srory in today's Deseret News:
    "Multiple counties throughout the most populated areas in Utah are under an action alert."
    Ban fireworks now!

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    July 2, 2012 5:29 p.m.

    THe headline should read: Utahn's think maybe they have a Governor...

  • bulldog72 Holladay, UT
    July 2, 2012 4:18 p.m.

    lost in DC is right, NONE of the current fires have been started by fireworks. Do you realize, then, that every one of them still would have happened with a statewide ban? Then, everybody would be clamoring for something else. Please look at the causes people

    July 2, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    May have? What are you waiting for a public opinion poll? JUST DO IT!

  • Sugarhood Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2012 4:01 p.m.

    I find it ridiculous that this would be remotely controversial in an extremely dry year when virtually every region of the state has been affected by wildfires.

    Only in Utah will people clamor on about how temporary fireworks and target-shooting bans, instituted at the local level, somehow unfairly restrict individual rights. No one has a constitutional right to start wildfires and place others in jeopardy. Some of this Tea Party stuff has become ridiculous!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 2, 2012 3:56 p.m.

    let's see, how many of the current fires were started by fireworks? I have not heard ANY of them were - some by target shooters and one by a guy parking his car in tall dry grass where the hot muffler started the fire.

    no need to over-react

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2012 3:44 p.m.


    "Down in the vally where there is little to no risk should not be restricted."

    I live in the "vally" where there is considerable risk. The undeveloped field behind my house is an absolute tinderbox. My home is in actual danger if the trees catch fire and the ember blow onto my house and my neighbors' houses. Fireworks should be restricted in our area, but every night I see people lighting fireworks and all it would take is one errant firework to cause a catastrophe.

    Maybe in the "vally" where you live, there is no danger, but for much of the valley, there is real risk.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2012 3:40 p.m.

    He is up for re-election. He is waiting for the poll results to come in before deciding what to do.

    He reminds me of a quote from the book "Band of Brothers." "Lieutenant Dike wasn't a bad leader because he made bad decisions. He was a bad leader because he made NO decisions."

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 2, 2012 3:27 p.m.

    I guess the governor believes in local control only when it comes to the Federal Government.

    This is an issue that can be handled by individual cities and fire marshals. Most cities have already put into place total restrictions near the mountains. Down in the vally where there is little to no risk should not be restricted. It will only hurt businesses, tax receipts and individual freedom.

    Yes there is a serious problem. But local, not state control is the best policy.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    July 2, 2012 3:09 p.m.

    I think it shows a lot of responsibility on the part of the governor to weigh his options instead of just overreacting. Why pass another law if we already have laws on the books that give him (or some other official) the authority. By criminalizing those who use fireworks or go target shooting, we add additional burdens to local law enforcement to whom the responsibility of enforcing new restrictions will fall. They need to be prepared to handle that added responsibility.

    All that being said, I wouldn't oppose a ban on fireworks/target shooting this year at all. But, if a reasonable solution can be found that allows those who wish to participate in those activities responsibly to continue to do so, let's consider it. My suspicion though is that those who are responsible are like myself and would rather forgo their own privileges this year if it means preventing those who are irresponsible from causing more fires.

    July 2, 2012 2:57 p.m.

    With the way the state is currently Dry and Hot..
    Ban the darned things this year.
    We cannot count on "Common sense" there appears to be none. I watched my own neighbors lighting them off last night... Right next to a tinder dry field and homes surrounding it.
    You can change laws... But you cannot change STUPID.

    Come on Governor Herbert... ban them this year. We have seen enough devastation and loss for one season. With a whole lot of Mother Nature to deal with still.

  • botdriver Midvale, UT
    July 2, 2012 2:52 p.m.

    Um , people it really is a simple issue, it doesn't mean passing a new law , it doesn't mean we have to have gun control, all that is needed is Smart common sense thought process.

    All the governor has to do is make a public announcement or State of Address to the citizens of the state of Utah, like he has, that all public shooting on state and federal lands are prohibited and the use of fireworks within the state for the remaining of the fireworks season are prohibited, and that their use will be evaluated on a Safety for all aspect rather than a act of severe compliance. just like forest services use the fire indicator board, they use a state indicator, if it is too dangerous to use guns or fireworks on public or private lands you just don't do it, and if you are caught you will be fined or jailed accordingly, and the saying goes the other way it is safe for all, then the prohibited use is lifted. All determined by those who know best.

    Plain and simple, It doesn't have to be complicated.

  • BoomerJeff Saint George, UT
    July 2, 2012 2:27 p.m.

    Then we'd better ban all cigarette smoking in the State as well and no vehicles can pull trailers because their chains cause sparks. Go gov't go!

  • dkjensen Provo, UT
    July 2, 2012 1:32 p.m.

    He's telling people to not be stupid, by doing something stupid: allowing fireworks--when Utah is already on fire. How is allowing fireworks this year anything BUT stupid? Sounds to me like he is doing what he already claims is what Congress does: nothing. If he wants to be re-elected, the safe thing would be to keep this state from unnecessarily burning. Say no to fireworks this year if you love America and want to keep her beautiful.

    July 2, 2012 1:32 p.m.

    Don't ban them...let's hasten the baptism by fire.

  • JELLI Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2012 1:27 p.m.

    I am a democrat and the governor has my absolute support on how he is handling this issue. My only fear is we have passed the "thoughtful, measured" threshold and now must act. The economic downturn has taken our tax base to new lows...where is the state going to come up with the funds to continue fighting these stupidity caused fires?

    Best/worst quote: He said some senators have already expressed concern that local law enforcement authorities could abuse the power to restrict gun use. "As soon as you do it, somebody may carry it to extreme," Waddoups said.

    Waddoups wake up. You are using disgusting rhetoric, in this case inciting the fear of gun control, to further your own political agenda. Quite trying to keep your seat...try leading for once. Yes, you may make a few people angry but you may just win a few new votes by being one of the "thoughtful" ones the governor needs right now.

  • Still Blue after all these years Kaysville, UT
    July 2, 2012 1:21 p.m.

    This is stupid. The entire state is a tinder box. Ban them, what are we waiting on?

  • williary Kearns, UT
    July 2, 2012 1:05 p.m.

    How dare the Governor try to inhibit the ability of dumb people to start fires that cost hundreds of millions every year to fight, not to mention destroys homes and lives.

    Sounds like an Obamaesque socialist move to me.

  • Autumn Cook Lehi, UT
    July 2, 2012 1:02 p.m.

    Well said, Governor. It's refreshing to have a thoughtful, measured response from a political leader for a change. We get tired of the overreacting, the "Oh look! I can DO something about this and look important!" attitude from politicians. Thank you!

  • Peter Coyotl West Jordan, UT
    July 2, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    So go ahead and ban them. Waiting for a contribution from the fireworks industry before you act?

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 2, 2012 12:35 p.m.

    "But you can't pass a law that outlaws stupid," the Governor said in his own defense.