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Exploding target ban in Black Hills OK’d by House

PIERRE — Target shooters would be banned from using exploding targets in the Black Hills forest fire protection district, including on private property, under a proposal passed Monday in the state House of Representatives.

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The vote was 56-13 in favor of Rep. Don Kopp’s legislation. HB 1129 goes to the Senate next.

There have been “five or six” fires caused by exploding targets, according to Kopp, R-Rapid City. He said about 40 acres were burned and the fires cost some $80,000 to extinguish.

Under the legislation, people who use exploding targets in the Black Hills district would face Class 2 misdemeanor penalties and be subject to the costs if a fire resulted.

There would be an exemption that allows the targets at designated shooting ranges.

Kopp spent two decades as a fire investigator for the U.S. Forest Service. He said the targets can be homemade from easily obtained combinations of chemicals and are also sold at retail outlets.

“When a bullet hits the target, it explodes,” Kopp said.

Rep. Dan Kaiser, R-Aberdeen, questioned whether the targets would be illegal on private property. Kopp said they would be. He said the U.S. Forest Service already has passed a restriction for National Forest property.

Kaiser opposed the district-wide ban.