Pima County passes ordinance restricting use of exploding target - Tucson News Now

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Pima County passes ordinance restricting use of exploding targets

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Pima County Board of Supervisors has voted 3-2 to restrict the use of exploding targets in the county.

Exploding targets are popular as a novelty item, but they can be dangerous.

In its quest for a ban, the county cited the Sawmill Fire, which burned 46,000 acres and cost $5 million to fight. The fire was allegedly caused by a US Border Patrol agent shooting at an exploding target.

READ MORE: Pima County hoping to pass explosive-target ordinancePima County to vote on proposed ban on exploding targets I Officials: Sawmill Fire started by exploding target

It also cites the case of a man shooting an exploding target in a refrigerator, which also started a fire and endangered bystanders with flying shrapnel. A house fire, with children in the home at the time, was also started by the mishandling of the device.

Under the ordinance, the targets can't be used on most public property and can't be sold to minors.

Failure to obey is a criminal offense but the fine is the real deterrent. The offender will be responsible to pay the cost of fighting a fire determined to be caused by the explosive targets.

The vote was originally set for July, but was delayed after questions came up about the ordinance's scope.

Pima County and Todd Rathner, an NRA board member, held talks to make sure the ordinance is not too broad and protects the rights of gun enthusiasts.

Rathner said he thought the law looks 99.9 percent good right now.

"Overboard would be a complete ban, a ban on sale and use," he said. "We can't have that."

Rathner said the county and the NRA have the same goal.

"Nobody in the shooting community, whether we're hunters or shooters, no one wants to see fires in our wilderness," he said. "We live in the desert, we have to be careful, so we understand sometimes you have to have restrictions."

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