After a brush fire burned more than 2,000 acres of land near Jamul last weekend, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has restricted shooting on more than four million acres of public land, including the “Pink Gate” shooting range near where officials believe the Gate Fire started.
The BLM already bans shooting on federal land during fire season, but after the Gate Fire displaced hundreds of local residents the restrictions came early this year.
The official start of the fire has not been confirmed, but investigators are looking at an Instagram video that shows gun owners leaving after shooting into some brush during the time the Gate Fire started. In the video the people try to put out the small fire, but eventually leave after it grows. The fire is now a criminal investigation.
Shooting enthusiasts had mixed reactions to the ban.
“I think everybody is concerned,” Jon Sivers of the South Bay Rod and Gun Club, told NBC 7. “Nobody likes to see us gun owners painted that way. Obviously us gun owners who come here, we're not the ones causing that problem. I think any gun owner if they're shooting on public land they should be a responsible owner not to leave trash or to cause any wildfires."
Supervisor Dianne Jacobs is now also calling for a shooting ban on federal land; most people at the South Bay Rod &Gun Club don’t agree with her. They believe they should be able to practice their second amendment rights responsibly.
“We’re kind of moving into the wildfire season, but after I heard about it there's people that don't take those things into consideration and they should, you know?” gun owner John Dupree, said. “They cause a nuisance and give the rest of us shooting enthusiasts, they give us a bad rap."
Violators of the restrictions could face a $1,000 fine or up to 12 months in jail.