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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Beware Fake News Reports

It seems that some people never tire of spreading misinformation in the hope of getting folks to share news links or forward emails to hundreds of their friends.  The latest is a story from a web site titled "Associated Media Coverage" with the amusing tagline "News You Can Trust."  The story was posted on the web site on September 9th (I am not going to link to it and help increase their site hits) and popped up on Facebook newsfeeds.  It claims the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) is implementing a new regulation that would set a minimum age for hunting at 18.  Additionally, they would create an online hunter safety "academy" that would have to be completed before new individuals could start hunting, at the tune of $197.  IT is actually a slightly changed report that was originally circulated in 2014 that claimed the agency was raising the minimum hunting age to 21.

The "news report" comes complete with quotes from people who supposedly work for USFWS and ATF.  Because of the current administration's propensity for executive fiat, it is not hard to believe they would institute such a regulation, but it's just not true.  Any proposed regulation has to be publicly announced and a public comment period has to be made available.  While the story claims such a comment period took place, you can believe that if it really had, pro-gun and pro-hunting groups would have jumped all over it.  In this era of social media and emails urging recipients to forward to their friends, it pays to do a quick search on things that sound too real to be true.

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