And then at the end of the article comes this predictable statement from extremist Alan Gottlieb:In Utah, for example, a state law prohibits the state from enacting emergency bans on guns, putting Gov. Herbert in a position of instead asking county governments to issue emergency rules for outdoor gun use as wildfire conditions prevail across the West.In North Carolina, gun rights activists have successfully fought legal battles to make sure governors can’t ban guns during emergencies.Moves to protect gun owners from emergency gun bans is an emerging front in the national debate over gun rights.In March, a committee in the Colorado legislature killed a proposed bill that would have restricted the state from banning citizen-carry of guns during an emergency. “Common sense dictates that in an emergency situation… guns only make things worse,” a witness from the League of Women Voters told Colorado legislators at a hearing.
“Citizens do not surrender their civil rights just because of a natural or man-made disaster,” Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said in support of a lawsuit in North Carolina filed by gun owners after a 2010 snow storm put a gun ban into effect.Right. Citizens absolutely do NOT surrender their civil rights- ever, ever, ever. No matter that thousands of acres of land are burning. No matter that in national emergencies people do not necessarily think straight and may just use a gun when they shouldn't. No matter that the common good and public safety are more important at times than individual rights. There just are times when, as communities, people should pull together to do the right thing and help out. But apparently not to the gun guys. They have to have their guns at all times even if they themselves can be dangerous. There just is no common sense when it comes to the common good for the gun rights advocates.
And this fire in Colorado was also started by target shooters. People have been asked to evacuate their homes. The fire will destroy all in its' path. Insidious. Just like the NRA's version of America that says we should not try to curtail the use of guns in a national emergency. Just let the wild fires burn on but don't monkey with gun rights. How sad and ludicrous is this? From the article:
The fire that officials believe was started Thursday by target shooters was 30 percent contained Saturday evening, with full containment expected Tuesday.Will these folks be held responsible for the damage done or is that outside of the possible because the NRA would get its' undies in a bundle over this, too? This is a large and destructive fire:
"Even though we lost 21 (structures), which is a huge tragedy, we saved many homes because of firefighters' efforts," the Post reported Estes Park Fire Chief Scott Dorman as telling evacuees.
Firefighters contending with the largest and most expensive fire in Colorado history gave up some ground before the weekend. Crews stationed near threatened homes Friday had to retreat for their safety, and containment slipped from 60 percent to 45 percent.
The fire near Fort Collins has scorched more than 118 square miles and destroyed at least 191 homes.Let's look at more about this issue. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA issued a temporary ban of guns in some places. The NRA rose up and demanded changes so people could "protect" themselves from property crimes. From the article:
We all know that wild fires have many causes- some man made and some from natural causes such as lightning strikes. But when we know we can prevent fires by not allowing people to shoot their guns or even temporarily ban the use of guns, why would we not do that? Consider the alternative which is spelled out clearly in the articles above. These emergency measures are there for good reasons. But the NRA doesn't trust government. The NRA wants the minority of folks who own guns and carry guns to determine public safety rather than the people who are actually charged with doing so for the good of our communities. There are obviously two sides to this issue. One only cares about individual rights, period. The other cares about what's good for all. People do have a right to be safe from man made disasters. Never mind what's good for us all. The NRA is pushing its' views and inserting them into other laws. In my state of Minnesota, one of the provisions of the Shoot First bill, now vetoed by Governor Dayton, was to stop the state from temporary gun bans in national emergencies. People are busy with other concerns in national emergencies. People are distraught and emotional. Do we really think it would have been a good idea for the folks trapped in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina to have guns inside? Terrible idea for obvious reasons. We do have the awful incident of officers shooting innocent Black people during the deluge in New Orleans and the lawsuit that followed. Corruption and violence perpetrated by police officers should not be tolerated. It just adds to the mistrust that some have of law enforcement. I happen to have great respect for law enforcement in my neck of the woods.Gun rights groups had sought the change, saying the original policy violated Second Amendment protections for gun ownership. Kinerny said FEMA made the change after consulting with lawyers.FEMA said it has been general policy for several years to prohibit guns at such parks anywhere in the country. But two gun rights groups — the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation — said they found out about it only this month as a 600-trailer encampment opened near Baton Rouge.NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre praised the change. “It is wrong to force citizens to give up their constitutional rights in order for them to get a needed federal benefit,” he said in a news release.Col. Greg Phares, chief sheriff’s deputy in Baton Rouge, had asked for a firearms ban at the park. He expressed frustration Monday, saying FEMA gave him conflicting information on whether there was such a ban in the first place. He also said gun-rights groups overreacted.“I never looked at it, and I don’t look at it now, as a Second Amendment issue,” Phares said. “We had asked for FEMA to say firearms would not be permitted on site, just as you can’t bring firearms into the federal building, into the Legislature in Baton Rouge, into an LSU football game.”
I understand that some do not and there are some legitimate reasons for it. As a country though, we have decided on a public system of law enforcement to carry out and enforce the laws in our communities. These professionals protect us and put their lives at risk every day to do so. That is the rule of law. For the most part law enforcement does a fine job. There are incidents of course, of things going wrong. But in times of national emergencies, I trust in law enforcement and the government to carry out their charge to keep us safe. I don't believe there are ulterior motives when law enforcement invokes rules to temporarily restrict the use of private firearms. They have the interest of the public in mind and that is their job. To undermine that, as the NRA does in these cases, is to cause more potential harm to the community. It is for the common good.
Who is in charge here? A small group of single minded people with guns or the duly elected government of our country? The gun blogosphere is replete with articles about governments seizing guns and the need for guns to fight against government "tyranny" as they perceive it. They love to go back to the Nazis and equate anything that looks to them like that time to what the "gun grabbers" in the U.S. have in mind. These are straw man arguments and totally paranoid. These folks are insurrectionists, ready to fight their own government. In times of national emergencies they especially want their guns for that purpose. Remember, NRA Executive V.P. Wayne LaPierre has famously misinterpreted the Constitution when he says that "the guys with the guns make the rules." Sadly, in some cases, he is right. And that is the dark version of America espoused by the NRA and its' minions.
UPDATE- July 3, 2012
This new article has come to my attention about the Sunflower wild fire in Arizona.
Just a few guys with their guns out to have a good time. Stupid and dangerous. What did someone expect when loading a fire-producing shell into a shotgun?Arizona's 18,000-acre Sunflower Fire started when a Mesa man loaded a fire-producing shell into a shotgun and fired it during a bachelor party outing in May, according to a complaint filed in federal district court.Steven Shiflet, 23, faces three charges in connection with the May 12 incident in the Sycamore Creek area. Each charge carries a maximum of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.Shiflet and four of his friends traveled there from Mesa for a camping trip and bachelor party on May 11, the complaint stated. The group had numerous guns and were shooting at various targets for about two hours on the morning of May 12, according to the complaint.Shiflet then loaded a shell into a shotgun and fired it at a soda box, the complaint said. Shiflet said he believed the round would shoot out flame or act like a flare gun, according to prosecutors.Smoke appeared in the brush just behind where the shot was fired and Shiflet and his friends were unable to stomp it out, according to the complaint. Investigators said the Sunflower Fire started near the intersection of Forest Road 25 and Sycamore Creek.According to the complaint, Shiflet called 911 from his cell phone at 10:18 a.m. and reported the fire. He voluntarily surrendered the guns.Shiflet also handed over a shotgun shell and said it was the exact same type of round that he had fired just seconds prior to the start of the fire. The warning on the packing reads, "Shoots 100 feet of fire, setting everything in its path ablaze. Warning: Extreme FIRE HAZARD," according to the complaint.
Here is another article about the young man who started the Arizona wildfire that has burned thousands of acres and demolished the homes of many people:
Federal agents began investigating the fire the day after its ignition. Witnesses provided probers with the license plate number of a GMC Yukon that was seen departing the Sunflower Fire. The vehicle was “occupied by five white males in their 20’s,” reported Lucas Woolf, a Forest Service agent.After tracing the SUV to Pace, Woolf approached him on May 19 (the day of Reeder’s wedding) and said he wanted to talk about the Sunflower Fire. “I think that we may have had something to do with that,” Pace replied.Woolf then interviewed Shiflet, who recalled firing an “orange shotgun round” at a soda box, expecting the round to “shoot out flame or act like a flare gun.” Shiflet provided Woolf with the “exact same type of shotgun shell that he fired” on May 12, triggering the massive blaze.A warning on the Fiocchi 12 gauge round’s packaging made its danger clear: “Shoots 100 feet of fire, setting everything in its path ablaze. Warning: Extreme FIRE HAZARD.”On June 22, Shiflet was named in a three-count misdemeanor criminal complaint accusing him of causing the Sunflower Fire, which has destroyed 17,618 acres (and is now 80 percent contained). A Tonto National Forest spokesperson estimated that fire suppression efforts have so far cost $6 million.Shiflet was served with a federal summons last Wednesday by a federal agent who met up with him at a McDonald’s in Phoenix. Shiflet, who did not respond to a TSG message sent to his Facebook page, is scheduled to appear July 13 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. (6 pages)