Gunfire is being blamed for some of the nation's worst wildfires. Firefighters said late Tuesday that they believed that gunfire sparked at least 21 blazes in Idaho, Utah and across the American Southwest, yet officials are hesitant to restrict gun use for fear of a backlash. Most of the region where the wildfires have occurred are also among the strongest proponents of Second Amendment rights.
"We're not trying to pull away anyone's right to bear arms. I want to emphasize that," Louinda Downs, a county commissioner in Davis County, Utah, told the Associated Press. "We're just saying, target practice in winter. Target practice on the gun range. When your pleasure hobby is infringing or threatening someone else's right to have property or life, shouldn't we be able to somehow have some authority so we can restrict that?"
Gary Herbert, the Republican governor of Utah, took measures to stop target practice on public lands because of the risk of fire. He insisted that he was not infringing on gun rights but rather was seeking a common-sense solution.
This year has been the worst wildfire season on record in the American West.
According to Reuters, there are currently 50 wildfires burning out of control in 10 states, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of land and hundreds of homes.