This is a follow up to last Wednesday’s post, “The epitome of gun stupidity…Arizona gun nut knowingly starts major wildfire,” that recounted five dimwits that went into the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix, Arizona for a bachelor party that ended up starting one of the state’s worst wildfires in history. Craig Shiflet, 23, faces 6 months in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both for starting the Sunflower fire that has burned over 18,000 acres.
These gun nuts were target shooting, which has been prohibited for years on BLM property, and Shiflet even used an incendiary shotgun shell, which started the fire, and which is also banned on federal land. Gun irresponsibility does not get any worse than this, and aside from the alarming trend today of increased shootings resulting in multiple deaths and injuries, we have yet another case of an equally irresponsible National Rifle Assn. (NRA) not taking action.
All this gang of misfits—with Wayne LaPierre at the helm—cares about is pushing for more gun rights to put more guns on the street in the hands of the likes of Craig Shiflet. The NRA and other correspondingly inept gun rights groups keep telling us that things like this only occur from a small faction of gun owners that are in a minority. I would like to know exactly what puts Shiflet in the minority; he seems more like the typical gun owner to me.
Although the feds don’t keep records listing “shooting” as a cause. The U.S. Forest Service does make side notes in their records that the fire was caused by “shoot” or “target” and the numbers are not good. The Forest Service reported that in 2010, 17 wildfires were caused by one of these means, 28 in 2011, and 13 already this year. And that’s only on land that is managed by this agency.
What’s wrong with target practice on a gun range? Especially when there are currently 45 wildfires burning in 15 states. A gun owner has to have a double-digit IQ—or less—not to understand the danger of firing steel-jacketed or steel-core ammunition that in most cases puts off a spark when ricocheting off a rock, potentially leading to a fire. Utah is banning this ammunition in favor of lead bullets which unfortunately can be toxic to animals.
One gun owner in Utah who was interviewed was reasonable about the situation, saying, “I certainly wouldn’t want to be responsible for a fire that burned somebody’s house. I wouldn’t even take a chance with it.”
But a Utah gun owning grandmother, Yetive Jones, was less committal saying, “I don’t think the standards should be any higher for any one person who sets a fire. Granted, somebody shooting who accidentally sets it off, they’re going to feel bad about it. … But there’s nothing you can do once a fire starts.” Spoken like a true gun nut.