Saturday, March 05, 2011

Right-to-hunt laws piling up, absent any threat

The list of states that make hunting and fishing a constitutional right seems likely to keep growing, as the Kentucky legislature put an amendment on the 2012 ballot yesterday. A similar measure in Indiana, which would also protect farming, seems headed for passage in the Hoosier State, where a sedcond legislative endorsement would be required for a referendum.

"Thirteen states already have enshrined hunting and fishing rights into their constitutions, most with provisions that allow lawmakers to impose restrictions such as requiring licenses," reports Lesley Stedman Weidenbener of The Courier-Journal, noting that the only voters to reject the idea have been in Arizona, presumably influenced by many retirees and former Californians.

"The amendments have passed despite arguments from critics that they are not only unnecessary but meaningless," the Louisville newspaper reports. Even some supporters have acknowledged there is no direct threat now to hunting and fishing," but note increasing pressure from animal-rights groups. The Indiana measure would guarantee the right to “engage in the agricultural or commercial production of meat, fish, or poultry.”

In Kentucky, legislators say the measure "would prevent animal-rights groups from challenging state-authorized hunts . . . to manage the wildlife population," John Cheves and Jack Brammer report for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "Other sponsors said the measure reflects bipartisan concern in Frankfort following President Barack Obama’s health care reform law and what some people see as overreaching by the federal government. The right to hunt and fish might be targeted by the federal government in the future, they said." (Read more) And we suspect the support of the National Rifle Association has something to do with it, too.

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