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Tom Smart, Deseret News
Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, discusses SB120 at a meeting of the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City. The bill seeks to allow the state forester to "restrict or prohibit target shooting in areas where hazardous condition exist."

SALT LAKE CITY — The state forester may soon have the authority to restrict target shooting in areas with hazardous conditions.

SB120, sponsored by Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, received a unanimous favorable recommendation Tuesday from the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee.

The state forester already has the authority to ban bonfires, welding and other activities where there is fire danger, Dayton said.

"(State Forester Dick Buehler) has also taken the opportunity to restrict firearms in high-risk areas,” she said, adding that her bill "puts into law what's happening already.”

Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds spoke in favor of the bill, citing instances of fires being sparked from target shooting over the summer.

“It was reported that, yes, there were individuals that were using explosive targets, causing two of these fires," Edmunds said.

Sterling Brown, vice president of public policy for the Utah Farm Bureau, said the proposed legislation seeks to ensure that both private and public lands are protected.

“There have been a number of private parcels of land that have been burned in the summer season, and number of those are also adjacent to public lands,” Brown said. “The Farm Bureau stands behind this bill because it ensures that private lands are protected from burns.”

Mary Mellor