Gun Club Sued


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win71
August 17, 2008, 12:01 AM
I'm not personally going to comment on this for a couple reasons. One, I lived in the community and two, I was a member of the club. Since I was nine miles out to sea fishing for salmon at the time of the incident I have no other information.
It is fairly common for Cal Fire to bill a responsibility party in any fire they respond to if negligent or illegal activity is the proximate cause. Lawn mower blades hitting rocks causing sparks, dozer blades scrapping rocks, safety chains dragging on the highway, you name it.
For those reasons this action is not out of the normal operating procedures for that agency.
$6 million suit against gun club for '06 fire
By AMY GITTELSOHN


The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection seeks more than $6.3 million in a lawsuit against the Weaverville Rod & Gun Club and individuals in the club for Cal Fire's costs in fighting and investigating the 2006 Junction Fire that started at the Junction City Rifle Range.

The July 29, 2006, Junction Fire started during an NRA-sanctioned service rifle shoot held at the range. The fire burned 3,126 acres of Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and private lands, and it destroyed one residential structure.

The range is on BLM land leased by the county. In addition to use by the gun club and the public, Trinity County deputies use the range for target practice.

The complaint filed through the state Attorney General's Office at the Trinity County Courthouse alleges that the gun club was negligent in failing to maintain dry brush at the range. It also refers to negligent firing of "illegal incendiary tracer rounds and/or full-metal jacketed rounds into, or adjacent to, dry vegetation during fire season."

While that "and/or" statement contains some ambiguity, a part of the complaint specifically naming club member ********** states that ****'s son "fired ammunition commonly known as tracer or incendiary ammunition into a dry brush-covered area," and that ****** gave him the ammunition.

It also states that *******, as the designated range master, should not have been participating in the rifle shoot.

******* adamantly denies any use of tracer rounds, which are illegal in California.

"I'm telling you and I'm telling everybody else, I would never allow tracer rounds to be fired," he said.

******** added that his home was searched after the fire and there was nothing to support the allegation - just something vague about a microscopic paint chip on a used firearm he bought that "could have been" consistent with red tips of incendiary rounds. He noted that he has not been criminally charged.

It's true, he said, that fullmetal jacketed ammunition was used (not armor piercing), and this is consistent with a military service rifle shoot.

"I was broken-hearted when they came and searched my house," he said.

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MT GUNNY
August 17, 2008, 04:20 AM
Get ahold of the NRA maybe they can help. start a fund raiser.

ltetmhs
August 17, 2008, 04:49 AM
Hope they didn't scuff up his house with their jackboots.

Sounds like Kali is just trying to blame gun owners for all their problems. Next they'll say fires were started by hunters (they'll make sure and stress that part), or maybe they'll blame it on global warming or suv's (they'll sue chevy/ford). My money is on one of Pelosi's farts :D. If a tracer/incindiery round caused the fire, then wouldn't it have started right then?

BillyBothHands
August 17, 2008, 04:52 AM
ok maybe its too late and my brain isn't snapping properly, but what would FMJ have to do with starting a brush fire?

CRITGIT
August 17, 2008, 05:17 AM
Hope they didn't scuff up his house with their jackboots.

Sounds like Kali is just trying to blame gun owners for all their problems. Next they'll say fires were started by hunters (they'll make sure and stress that part), or maybe they'll blame it on global warming or suv's. My money is on one of Pelosi's farts . If a tracer/incindiery round caused the fire, then wouldn't it have started right then?
__________________

Typical nonsense from those who are anything but objective about CA and the matter of fire. We've had several fires which started at ranges during our summer months. Most BLM and responsible local ranges close areas to shooting which are in explosive fire areas.
Unlike Georgia or other regions of the country we don't get rain in the summer months. Temps just this week reached 114 and little or no humidity. This year the last appreciable rain was in April. Our forest including the area referenced have been on fire since mid June leaving many homeless and ruined financially. Hospitals throughout N CA have been jambed young and old alike due to their inescapably smoke. As recently as the Tues before last a firefighting helicopter went down killing 9 of the firefighters and injuring others. These deaths are not the first of our fire season nor will they be the last I'm afraid.
Responsible gun enthusiast don't need to be told when it's irresponsible to shoot in these areas with the current conditions.
BTW, most of the dead were from other states frantically working to contain these fires. If you start a fire here, whether it be intentional or just plain irresponsible behavior the best that can happen to you is to be sued and/or incarcerated. The other possibility is rather ugly!

May those who gave their lives for us know everlasting peace!

GRITGIT

ltetmhs
August 17, 2008, 06:10 AM
First and foremost I cannot agree more that the firefighters are truly heroes. And the victims of the fire have my utmost sympathies.

If it was tracers / or incindiery's then it was indeeed irresponsible, and the person that shot them should be held responsible for their actions. Why would Cal gov't go after the gun club instead of the shooter? That's like going after a landlord because one of his tenant's left and candle lit. The landlord can tell them not to have open flames, but he can't keep people from being irresponsible.

Majic
August 17, 2008, 07:55 AM
Why would Cal gov't go after the gun club instead of the shooter?
Why go after the manufactor instead of the individual committing the crime with the gun? Take a guess at who potentially has the most money?

DRYHUMOR
August 17, 2008, 08:49 AM
If they know where the fire started, then they should be able to produce the round that started it.

It always works on TV right?

feedthehogs
August 17, 2008, 09:44 AM
Lawnmower blade hitting rocks?

Like anything California does, it does it to extremes.

If you choose to live and build in the forest, then you'll have to deal with fires just as those who choose to live and build next to a river deal with floods.

Next the California cops will be billing people for comming to the house to investigate a breakin and finding a window was left open, the homeowner will be made to pay.

The reason why there are so many fires is the brush is not allowed to burn off from natural fires because of people living there.

Just another way to shut down the range or make the insurance company pay.

Steve N
August 17, 2008, 09:54 AM
I can see how a tracer round can start a fire, but how can a FMJ create a spark? Is there enough friction when a copper-jacketed bullet hits a rock to shave off the jacket, and cause the copper to ignite? If a bullet hit a steel plate, I could see some steel shavings flaking off, and possibly igniting.

FCFC
August 17, 2008, 10:07 AM
It is fairly common for Cal Fire to bill a responsibility party in any fire they respond to if negligent or illegal activity is the proximate cause. Lawn mower blades hitting rocks causing sparks, dozer blades scrapping rocks, safety chains dragging on the highway, you name it.
For those reasons this action is not out of the normal operating procedures for that agency.

From what you know of the physical circumstances of the club, its members, and the operations, how strong or weak a case do you think Cal Fire has?

You aren't a member anymore? Why is that?

dalepres
August 17, 2008, 12:22 PM
Perhaps they can sue Billy Graham for the lightning started fires?

Bushwhacker
August 17, 2008, 12:28 PM
One more reason I'll never set foot in kali-land

win71
August 17, 2008, 12:37 PM
It's a small club. For years it was open for anybody to shoot. No gates, no people. There are two trap fields with almost no growth, dead or green, and covered with so many broken targets you couldn't get a fire going with a road flare. There are 5 or so covered benches at the rifle range . Shooting is up a dug out portion of a natural draw and is clean to mineral earth. The backstop is mostly dirt with some small stones. Behind that is several thousand acres of growth common to the elevation, 2500' approximately. It's a mountain and rises over 1000'. That range is 100 yards. There is one target up on the hillside on an improved pad at 200 yards with a dirt road up to it. Shots fired while standing at targets closer than 50 yards will cause ground ricochets to end up on the mountain somewhere.
Membership is $10 per year and like most small clubs it's like pulling teeth to get people out there on clean-up day. It's a rural area, some members live 30-40 miles away.
I'm not a member now because I moved to an adjacent town approximately 60 miles away and joined the local club. Believe it or not I moved partially because of the fires over the years. I had a wooden house with a shake roof, 2 story. I was evacuated twice in 15 years. Fires burned right up to the town of Weaverville more than once.

I don't know any more than what's in this article but I do know something about evidence and prosecution. On the surface it doesn't look like Cal Fire has got much. Past experience with these types of things, i.e. lawn mower strikes etc. indicates the case is usually satisfied with whatever amount the guilty parties homeowners policy covers.

In defense of Cal Fire and the state I think it's somewhat financial caused. The state is about broke and always is. These fires are expensive to fight. If someone does something to cause one they will go after the money.

Incidentally, the USFS enforcement officers shoot there regularly and I would guess a large percentage of the club members are volunteer firemen so it's not like there were a bunch of naive firebugs running around with guns for the past 50 or 60 years at that range.

MinnMooney
August 17, 2008, 12:42 PM
I'm thinkin' that there are more facts and evidence that will come out and only the jury will hear it all. They will have to be the decision maker on whether or not the suit has merit. We are working with partial evidence and biased statements by the various parties.
I agree with several of the posters that the gun club should seek help from the NRA and/or have fund raisers to pay for the legal defence which is inevitable.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 17, 2008, 01:12 PM
First of all, tracers ain't illegal, are they? They are legal here.

Second, what's FMJ got to do with anything? That doesn't start fires.

Third, if the sherrif's deputies shoot there, then I assume the county is named as a defendant in the lawsuit too?

Last, if there's negligence, there's negligence. Fire is a big problem, and if some idgits start a fire by shooting into dry brush with tracers, knowing full well of the danger, then maybe they should pay up (or more specifically, their insurance carrier). Our gun club has a specific rule against tracers for this very reason (fire), and unlike Calif, we don't have really any problem with perpetual drought and fire seasons. Sounds like it may have been quite foreseeable to me. Whether there was indeed negligence on the part of the RO in failing to supervise is up to the jury.

mgkdrgn
August 17, 2008, 01:19 PM
"Hope they didn't scuff up his house with their jackboots."

Or shoot his dogs.

FCFC
August 18, 2008, 12:39 AM
Thanks for the insights and additional info, win71. It's a little more fleshed out now.

azhunter122
August 18, 2008, 12:44 AM
Wow that's screwed up. I also thought that guns starting fires was a myth. Guess I learned something today.

R.W.Dale
August 18, 2008, 12:49 AM
Here in Arkansas the OFGC had to instituted a rule banning incendiary and tracer bullets due to a fire being started by them a couple years back.

CRITGIT
August 18, 2008, 01:22 AM
Lawnmower blade hitting rocks?

Like anything California does, it does it to extremes.

If you choose to live and build in the forest, then you'll have to deal with fires just as those who choose to live and build next to a river deal with floods.

Next the California cops will be billing people for comming to the house to investigate a breakin and finding a window was left open, the homeowner will be made to pay.

The reason why there are so many fires is the brush is not allowed to burn off from natural fires because of people living there.

Just another way to shut down the range or make the insurance company pay.

No more calls! We have a winner. Another unbiased opinion of CA!!!!!!:eek:
Without any local knowledge of the area, it's forests, it's policies and politics and the burn belt proximity to towns and cities we have an authority and defender of the wealthiest entities in the country...the insurance companies.:eek::D

The area referenced has nothing in common with the cultures of the cities to it's south. This is a pro hunting , pro gun area.
Cal Fire and any other fire dept in CA will pursue all and any persons or entities responsible for causing a fire especially when life and property are lost.
Just because a gun club is named as a "doe" doesn't mean they are guilty.
I would hope all responsible states would follow suit........Whoops!

Range and forest fires have been started at various gun ranges/club in the area.
BLM and responsible ranges suspend shooting when temps get over 100 for prolong periods here. In the mountains near Weaverville, Junction City and Lewiston those thresholds are lower. Many have had a policy of no shooting after 12.00 noon when these conditions exist.


Bashing, scapegoating and misrepresenting CA and it's people for everything in the world that some see as "unholy" is a little like posting that all folks from the south marry their sisters....Neither is probably accurate!

CRITGIT

mbt2001
August 18, 2008, 09:47 AM
How are they going to prove that it was caused by a bullet? That doesn't seem possible that they could prove that. In any event, it is a public range, the police use that range... How do they know that the fire broke out the day of the shoot and not later or sooner??

I guess on one hand I don't mind the trying to recoup some expenses, but my goodness, *** do we pay taxes for?

Happiness Is A Warm Gun
August 18, 2008, 10:12 AM
Why are people confused on the FMJ issue.

The fire department is saying that the fire was caused by a tracer round.
The gun owner is saying he only shoots FMJ.

Nobody (neither side) is saying the FMJ round caused the fire.

gregormeister
August 18, 2008, 10:14 AM
Where this all went wrong?..."California" ofcourse....Oh and before its disputed I lived there thats how I know its where the whole problem lies..

hso
August 18, 2008, 10:30 AM
I remember a cease fire at Knob Creek one very hot and dry Machine Gun Shoot because skipping tracers started a fire up on the hill and that fire started to spread into the surrounding tinder dry woods. If not for some very quick action the fire could have spread and become a very serious problem.

Why would the club be named? Because of the club sponsored shoot that is being treated as the potential source of the fire. THR members participating in THR sponsored get-togethers make sure that liability insurance is in place before finalizing plans because of the potential for THR as an organization being named in a law suite.

BigO01
August 18, 2008, 10:32 AM
Typical California BS the state is broke due to all of the Social Programs especially for illegals and want to find a way to gouge people with money to pay for any and everything .

I recall a news program "perhaps 60 minutes" years ago where a older retired couple vacationing through the state in their Winnebago and a pull behind car on a trailer for when they were at campgrounds .

The Car had a blow out that eventually the tire shredded off of the wheel .

They were literally on the side of a winding mountain on a 2 lane road going downhill and had to travel several miles until they reached a place to pull over off of the road .

The state was suing them for millions because they claimed the metal wheel on the ground threw sparks into the brush and caused a forest fire and the state of California was calling it negligence .

If they had stopped sooner to change the tire they would have caused an accident with someone coming down the mountain and around a blind curve and probably gotten killed and caused the death of any driver that would have hit them and perhaps that of any oncoming drivers .

SSN Vet
August 18, 2008, 10:42 AM
Why would Cal gov't go after the gun club instead of the shooter?

because they want some money....

and the individuals likely don't have a liability policy that will shell out $6 million.

the club on the other hand, likely does.

CRITGIT
August 18, 2008, 03:54 PM
Shame on Cal Fire for pursuing the cause and perpetrators of a fire.
Shame on them for trying to recoup money for costs to save the tax payers from coughin' it up.
Shame on not knowing the difference between the culture in the extreme north end of the state and the rest of it.
...and FMJ's have started fires at two or more of the ranges in this area without major damage or subsequent litigation.
Shame on blaming all your troubles on "gov & business sanctioned" illegals.
Hell, "cheap", or even better "free" is an American institution now.:eek:
CA has more wealthy folks now than ever...they just don't pay taxes anymore. It goes something like this: The rich don't need or want public programs because they don't need them. No parks, schools, etc. Without taxes there's no funding, and subsequently they're are no programs.
One thing the anti tax folks have learned........... they need is fire protection!:eek:
So it's a priority in CA. Fire starters whether intentional or otherwise are just a half a rung up on the badboy ladder than child molesters here.
That's why responsible gunners here are prudently observing no shoot times within their clubs. Sounds simple enough, huh?

CRITGIT

damien
August 18, 2008, 04:37 PM
Was the club incorporated? I would hope so, that would protect the owners from personal liability.

******** added that his home was searched after the fire and there was nothing to support the allegation - just something vague about a microscopic paint chip on a used firearm he bought that "could have been" consistent with red tips of incendiary rounds. He noted that he has not been criminally charged.

Even if it was shown the firearm had been used to shoot a tracer, they would have to prove that it happened in California. Tracers are legal most everywhere from the Mississippi on west, other than CA.

The whole article is here:

http://www.trinityjournal.com/news/2008/0813/front_page/001.html

Henry Bowman
August 18, 2008, 05:31 PM
Second, what's FMJ got to do with anything? That doesn't start fires.
All projectiles cause sparks to fly upon impact (with any material) in Hollywood movies. Hollywood is in California. Therefore, . . .

Mk VII
August 18, 2008, 08:26 PM
If the club has insurance it's in the insurer's hands whether to fight or settle....unless they abandon the insurance company and fight it on their own dime.

FCFC
August 18, 2008, 10:41 PM
I'm trying to figure out what basis was used to search the home of Raymond Harris, the range master. That seems pretty interesting.

Otherwise, it is just a liability case. The plaintiff will make its case and the club (and its insurance company) will defend.

Hard to say whether the club or Harris or his kid or any combination thereof is legally liable for the fire. If they are, the insurance will have to pay off. If the club doesn't have enough insurance, then it is in financial trouble.

fireflyfather
August 18, 2008, 10:58 PM
If you choose to live and build in the forest, then you'll have to deal with fires just as those who choose to live and build next to a river deal with floods.

Forgive me, but that's either deliberately flippant, or just plain ignorant. San Diego had fires last year that started up in the mountains, and pushed west to within a mile or two of the OCEAN, and similar fires a few years back. Take a look at google maps, and you will see that people's homes were in danger thirty or forty MILES from where the fires started. These homes were in urban/suburban areas. If you've ever seen the movie Top Gun, then visualize the bushes at the end of the base runway on fire. That'll give you a pretty good idea of how big a deal fire is here in California. That said, I find it highly unlikely that it was a ricochet from FMJ that started the fire at that range, nor do they have any real evidence *that has been presented here in this thread* that it was a tracer. Plenty of other things can start fires in the mountains, even a glass coke bottle lying in the sun could do it during fire season.

jaholder1971
August 18, 2008, 11:35 PM
Why are people confused on the FMJ issue.

The fire department is saying that the fire was caused by a tracer round.
The gun owner is saying he only shoots FMJ.

Nobody (neither side) is saying the FMJ round caused the fire

Some American ammunition FMJ is steel. I've seen Remington UMC .45 hardball and Winchester White box 7.62mm that the bullets would stick to a magnet. If this stuff smacks a rock, yes it can spark.

I've also seen Talon .30/06 labeled ball that was actually tracer with the paint removed from the tip. How'd we find out? It started a fire at an NRA sporting rifle match.

I've sent sparks fly from my Yugo SKS shooting Wolf ammo at rocks. All it takes is one spark in the right place to start a fire.

Fire investigators are very good in tracking back the sources of a wildfire. All they have to do is walk backwards and track the burn trail back. We had a bad wildfire here about 14 years ago and they were able to track back right to which 55 gallon burn barrel got knocked over.

ltetmhs
August 19, 2008, 01:01 AM
Critgit--

Comparing accidental fire bugs to child molesters seems completely ridiculous to say the least wherever you are.

Educate me, since the suit is being brought on by the state, how can you argue the differences between you generally fine folks in the north and cal's "cities to the south" .

CRITGIT
August 19, 2008, 01:03 AM
Forgive me, but that's either deliberately flippant, or just plain ignorant. San Diego had fires last year that started up in the mountains, and pushed west to within a mile or two of the OCEAN, and similar fires a few years back. __________________
I'm going with the latter rather than the former!
..and once again fires at ranges within 75 miles of this range have started via the fired FMJ. That's not a myth but rather reality! I know it's tough to reconcile but work through it........... slowly.
Weaverville is a rather ultra conservative community which has an interesting gold rush history. A great American town!
This might help a few here.
http://snowcrest.net/wb6fzh/tchist2.html

CRITGIT

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