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Arizona bill would let city dwellers shoot snakes in yards

by Bob Christie | USNews.com  |  Published on February 1, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) — Residents in Arizona cities who spot a rat or snake in their yard will be able to shoot the animals using a small-caliber gun loaded with tiny pellets under legislation that Republicans gave initial approval Tuesday.

A group of scientists opposed to the proposal say it endangers people by encouraging firearm use in populated areas and puts them at risk as they approach venomous snakes. In Phoenix and other cities in Arizona, neighborhoods are commonly built on or near the desert.

Democrats failed to persuade Republicans who control the state House that the measure would lead to more injuries and waste officers’ time with additional gunfire calls. Wildlife advocates and residents worried about stray gunfire also oppose it.

Rep. Jay Lawrence said his legislation isn’t about shooting reptiles or rodents, despite the definitions in his bill referring to “rat or snake shot.”

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