You may not have noticed, but buried deep inside a recent copy of the Billings Gazette was a small news blurb of national importance. The Gazette elected to treat it as minor news as, I’m certain, did most major news outlets.

U.S. District Court Judge Benitez, of San Diego, overturned California’s three-decades-old ban on “assault weapons” and ruled that California’s definition of assault weapons violates the Second Amendment. The court ruled that California’s definition of illegal military style rifles unlawfully deprives Californians of weapons found in most other states and was, therefore, illegal.

If you don’t care, that isn’t big news. If you’re a Second Amendment supporter, this is tremendous news. Since the saying “As California goes, so goes the nation” has been used to indicate that California’s restrictive, liberal anti-gun laws were to be held up as a model for national gun control, this is major news, regardless of the ink or viewing time national media gives it.

But it’s not all good news. You can bet your boots the anti-gun nutcases in California are already preparing to file suit to challenge the judge’s ruling. If we’re lucky, the litigation will advance to the Supreme Court and hopefully before President Joe Biden can stack the deck by adding several more liberal judges to that court by administrative fiat.

Just a question here although the national news has ballyhooed this type of maneuver, how is it legal? Or is that not the question that should be asked?

On another front, a different news release heralded the fact that, despite having been found in Wyoming pet stores earlier this year, those highly invasive Zebra mussels have not yet been detected in the state’s waters. If you think the matter insignificant, consider how rapidly zebra mussels could establish colonies and proliferate, ostensibly impacting much of Wyomings infrastructure dependent on the state waters.

These tiny aquatic bandits reproduce so fast that in a matter of days they can clog Wyoming’s water delivery systems and, because these little dudes are filter feeders, feeding on the microscopic plankton that key species need to eat to survive, an aquatic invasion of these little critters could starve these key species out, which would affect the rest of the food chain, fish-wise.

This is why we have boat inspection stations all over the state. When fishing out of state where the mussels have already invaded, their sometimes microscopic eggs can be attached by their invasive host to boat hulls, waders, wading sneakers and even fishing gear used and brought back into Wyoming. These mussels aren’t a joke, and the simple fact that one female can lay up to a million eggs a year makes them a threat to our angling that’s not to be taken lightly.

Continuing in the piscatorial vein, as it were, another news release caught my eye. Longtime readers will probably recall my consternation when our red shirts started poisoning our waterways to eliminate what should be the national fish of the year or, at least in my humble opinion, our state fish, the brook trout. Arguing that these delightful little fish are an unnatural species pollution and that they are destroying the genetic diversity and purity of our mountain streams simply by being more adaptable to Wyoming’s mountain streams and because by dint of that fact are out reproducing the lethargic native cutthroat trout, the G&F, backed up by the federal governments big guns and the ESA, has been waging war against the little dudes for the last several years.

Now the worm has turned, so to speak. A Missoula, Mont., based wilderness advocacy group has denounced those projects for what they actually are, as in actions being contrary to the letter and spirit of the Wilderness Act. Stipulating that these state- sponsored efforts with their “intensive intervention and manipulation projects such as the one here (the poisoning of rainbow trout in the Buffalo Creek drainage), raise concerning questions over the viability of long term wilderness.”

Yeah, what they said, and they’re screwing up what has worked for the best part of a century, even if the native cutts aren’t resilient enough to resist the impact of brookies, rainbows and other more adaptable fish. Granted, nobody important enough to challenge Trout Unlimited in Wyoming has picked up that particular baton yet, but maybe there’s hope for some type of intelligent reaction somewhere. Oh, yeah, I’m very pro-brookie, even if these old, worn-out knees can’t take me into the backcountry anymore where those little guys are a symbol of mountain wilderness.

Not to mention those exquisite mountain suppers with a stream-cooled adult beverage as a dying sun paints the roof of the world red and gold. And then there’s the breakfast, with bacon, brookies, bread and strong coffee. It just doesn’t get any better. But again, the wealthy and the powerful want to destroy those simple pleasures for the working class. Some things never change.

Regardless, at least in Montana, enough concern has been registered about these poisoning operations that several legislators are drafting bills to address sportsmen’s concerns. There may be hope for some local politicians yet.

(3) comments

Tom Conners

one can easily blame Hollywood for a lot of the current

assault style weapons" problems in this once great nation.I have yet to hear anyone explain why they think they need one of these when for generations people used 30-30's...30-06...and a host of other weapons to actually hunt with.Now days I suppose it is what one is hunting ...eh?

Lynnette Davis

Im a Californian happy to read about the news had not heard a word about it out here Lets keep the Second Amendment!

Gary Warner

This belongs on the Opinion page, not the Sports page.

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