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June 06, 2008

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Discussion Topic: On The Right To Hunt And Fish

From The Charlotte Observer:

Many of the Legislature's most fervent gun enthusiasts asked the National Rifle Association on Tuesday to stop opposing a hunting and fishing proposal and allow it to pass this year.

"We ask the NRA to back off," said Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Clinton, an avid hunter and chairman of the House Sportsman's Caucus.

Members of the House and Senate Sportsman's Caucuses said a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prevent gun control backers from trying to restrict hunting and fishing may die because of specific wording the NRA wants.

In a nutshell, the NRA wants the legislature to guarantee hunting and fishing "by traditional means and methods." Lawmakers say that that wording would prevent them from protecting species when necessary, for example by banning barbed hooks on a particular section of water. The NRA says that without that wording, countless hunting practices could be banned as long as some hunting is allowed.

What do you think?

Comments

Phillip

"The NRA says that without that wording, countless hunting practices could be banned as long as some hunting is allowed."

Yeah, and if the measure doesn't pass, ALL hunting practices could be banned. I don't think there's much point in passing a toothless constitutional amendment, but at the same time the law has to allow the Wildlife Resources Commission to manage the resource... which sometimes means restricting certain "traditional means and methods". A constitutional amendment that binds the arms of the wildlife managers is stupid and dangerous, no different than the California mountain lion hunting ban.

Hunters need an organization that will do for us what the NRA has done for gun-owners... but the NRA is NOT that organization as they've demonstrated time and again. I'm a life member, and I have no qualms about my membership, but this all or nothing approach from the NRA does as much harm as good.

Bob

"All or nothing" may sound unreasonable, but passing a Constitutional Amendment is not something you do very often. In truth you get one shot and if it is not done right, you are stuck with the outcome. It's one thing to accept a less than perfect piece of legislation because it can always be fixed in future years by a new piece of legislation. Amending the Constitution is a whole different ballgame. The problem is, some simply want to pass anything and take credit for it, even if the actual benefit to hunters is an illusion. NRA is right to demand that this be done right and that the amendment actually protect hunting without loopholes that future political appointees might abuse.

jack

I'm with Bob on this one. This is not a law that can be changed whenever the whim of the legislature is moved. It is a Constitutional amendment - about as close to permanent law as one gets. Tinkering with a constitution, unlike ordinances and legislation, should not be done lightly. I believe the NRA posture on this is correct.

Mike Diehl

I agree with the sportsmen. The NRA premise seems to be that Game & Fish don't know how to manage game or will have their rules coopted by people who want to eliminate hunting or fishing. That sort of paranoia doesn't make any sense. If there is an North Carolina Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish, and if someone thinks Game & Fish have gone weird, there's always room for a constitutional challenge to Game & Fish rules based on the "right to hunt" declaration.

So I think the NRA should back off.

RJ

I understand your point Mike, but look at another state, a weird one - New Jersey. there you have a governor who wants remove the professionals in the state's fish and game dept, and replace them with his political cronies that are anti hunting. If this is done, hunting and fishing in that state will be gone forever. Sometimes we have to take strong positions to protect our rights.

Mike Diehl

I agree but the solution to that is for the NRA to organize firearms owners and hunters in New Jersey and kick the rascal out.

Ultimately, you either have people who respect the constitution or who do not. If they don't, it really won't matter what the wording is under "right to hunt" amendment.

Darren LaSorte, NRA-ILA Manager of Hunting Policy

I don’t normally get involved with the blog scene because it can be extremely time consuming but a friend brought this one to my attention so I thought I’d write.

One person mentioned that NRA is wrong to oppose the Senate language in SC on the basis that many hunting practices could still be banned because without an amendment of some kind ALL practices may be banned. Well, this might be true but we strongly believe that an amendment should be done right the first time around, especially in a state like SC where there is no clear and present danger from radical, well-funded groups like HSUS. The threats will come as the demographics of the state change for the worse but we do have time to get it right in a future session.

Another person mentioned that a constitutional amendment should not hinder the scientific management of wildlife. Nothing in the NRA’s model language would disrupt the scientific management of wildlife. What our language would most certainly disrupt is the idea of having game management dictated by politics and emotion. One person correctly pointed out the fact that this is happening in NJ today with regard to black bears. The state badly needs management through hunting but the Governor and his administration have banned bear hunting based solely on emotional appeal. Our model language would prevent this sort of thing from happening in SC but would allow any reasonable, science-based regulations to be implemented.

Someone suggested that there are legitimate reasons to ban traditional hunting methods. I’d request an example. The compromise language we offered to senators included a provision that would have allowed traditional methods to be prohibited if it were necessary for the “preservation of a given species.” Once again, this would have clarified that prohibitions could be imposed as long as the action was not dictated by politics and emotion.

One person wrote that he disagreed with NRA’s “all or nothing approach.” I certainly hope he doesn’t believe everything he reads in the media. The example I just gave showed where our approach was anything but all or nothing. We offered countless compromises throughout the process. Yes, we have core protections for hunters we believe must be a part of every amendment in the future but we compromised on many points in SC in an effort to find common ground. I believe that our compromise provisions addressed every single concern raised throughout the process. I would suggest that it was some of the legislators involved in the process who took the “all or nothing” approach.

Finally, one of the writers claimed that NRA is “paranoid” for believing hunting bans might be imposed. Ask sportsmen in Michigan, New Jersey, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State etc. if they were just “paranoid” when their traditional hunting practices were banned by HSUS campaigns. Anyone who denies the reality of politically motivated hunting bans in America hasn’t been paying attention. We’re realists, plain and simple.

The bottom line is that the language we objected to in SC would have done virtually nothing to protect the future of hunting in the state. On the contrary, our model language protects against all foreseeable attacks (implement bans, species bans, regulations and prohibitions instituted by local jurisdictions, mandatory sharpshooters and contraception in place of hunting for wildlife management, etc). Our model language would change nothing with regard to how hunting is regulated or who regulates it as long as the regulations are justified by reason and science. In states where there is a game agency or commission that does the regulating, the system would not change. In the case of SC, the General Assembly is already the entity that is responsible for all hunting regulations, not the DNR.

If interested, you can read my article that was published in the American Hunter about two year ago to better understand why NRA is pursuing truly meaningful language in our effort to amend state constitutions. You can find the article at http://www.nraila.org/Hunting/Read/HuntingArticles.aspx?ID=256.

Thank you.

Darren LaSorte
NRA-ILA
Manager of Hunting Policy

Mike Diehl

"Finally, one of the writers claimed that NRA is “paranoid” for believing hunting bans might be imposed."

You need to either read more carefully or get off the straw man argument soapbox. I said that it was a little paranoid to claim that having passed an amendment to the state constitution guranteeing a right to hunt, that subsequent to that amendment a game & fish dept could be so distorted by an anti-hunting agenda as to eliminate hunting for practical purposes. I noted that for that to happen, a G&F dept would have to be subverted by antis, then a judge would have to rule in their favor despite the state-constitution-guaranteed right to hunt.

In that event, the constitution in your state and the rule of law in your state isn't worth the paper it's written on. In that case, it won't matter how such a right is worded in any amendment to a state constitution.

Mike Diehl

P.S. We all applaud NRA efforts to have state constitutions embrace amendments to guarantee the right to fish and hunt. I'd love to see such an effort here in Arizona. HRC 2037 was supposed to make that happen.

If you think you can get the preferred language in N.C. and still get your amendment I think that is outstanding. Obviously it's for some strategist to figure out. But if insisting on the language will kill the bill, you better be darned sure you can win with the language that you want in the amendment.

sid

"You need to either read more carefully or get off the straw man argument soapbox. I said that it was a little paranoid to claim that having passed an amendment to the state constitution guranteeing a right to hunt, that subsequent to that amendment a game & fish dept could be so distorted by an anti-hunting agenda as to eliminate hunting for practical purposes."

No, that's not what you said. You need to read your own words a little more carefully. You said:

"I agree with the sportsmen. The NRA premise seems to be that Game & Fish don't know how to manage game or will have their rules coopted by people who want to eliminate hunting or fishing. That sort of paranoia doesn't make any sense."

First, which sportsmen? I'm a sportsman, and I support NRA on this. Second, I never saw anything that even remotely suggested NRA felt that the folks in South Carolina (yeah, you even got the state wrong) charged with game management don't know how to do so. Read a little deeper, next time. Finally, you said, "That sort of paranoia doesn't make sense." You were talking about NRA's position, then made the "paranoia" comment. So yeah, you said (or is "implied" a better word choice?) that NRA is "paranoid." BTW, your comment on NJ was a bit naive. Are you aware of what the political climate is like there regarding hunting and firearms? I'm betting the answer is no.

As for Arizona, you opposed that legislation, too. You clearly support weak amendment language, while NRA clearly promotes strong language. Sorry, but this sportsman stands with NRA in South Carolina (again, not North Carolina).

JohnR

I'm with Darren LaSorte! The language the NRA wants has teeth in it to protect the future of hunting and fishing in the State of SC. I'm betting the wishy washy legislators (read politicians) want weak language so they can later weasel out of any responsibility for the amendment should the political climate change. Just my two cents.

William

I think that the language of the proposal still needs more refinement. It's obvious that if both sides don't agree to the language of the bill they need to rewrite this. I see a problem with the language "by traditional means and methods" but lets face it, what does that mean? The proposal needs to clarify exactly what these "traditional means and methods" are because in of itself this means squat to me. Traditional in itself is defined by Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary as as an inherited, established, or customary pattern of action or thought, action or behavior [as religious practice or social custom]. The NRA or legislature haven't established or identified or defined any customary pattern or thought of hunting practices to protect so the bill would have little effect with it's vagary and could likely easily be challenged on this in court in the future I can understand why the legislature has trouble swallowing this verbage because it leaves one wondering what this means in relation to hunting or fishing.

William

I'm sorry for that last run on sentence.

sid

I would think that "traditional" is pretty clear. It would cover those hunting practices commonly in use at the time. If people regularly do it now, it would be protected. The legislators opposed to this language seem to agree, as the article and Mr. LaSorte's comments indicate they don't like the language because it might restrict them from banning certain practices in the future. The definition, in my opinion, is established and understood, which is the reason for the opposition.

As for specific clarification, you can't really do that with an amendment that covers something like this, I would think. If you define every hunting and fishing practice protected, you end up with something several pages long. Besides, what about future hunting or fishing practices? Who knows what might become popular in the future? If it is widely accepted as a good practice, and stands the test of time (say 10 years or more), it too, one could argue, would become protected as "traditional." But by spelling out specific protections, only those practices spelled out get locked in, and nothing developed in the future would be protected. Plus, imagine the debate over what should be included as "traditional."

Seems to me you have to strike a balance between being too vague and too specific.

Mike Diehl

"No, that's not what you said."

Yes it is what I said. If you were better at reading comprehension you'd be able to read what was attributed to me vis "paranoia" and logically connect my reply to that which was attributed to me. Try again.

"First, which sportsmen?"

Clearly I agree with the group asking the NRA to stop objecting to the amendment. There were really only two positions mentioned in that article, so I don't see how any rational person could imagine that I was ambiguous on the matter.

"Second... I never saw anything that even remotely suggested NRA felt that the folks in South Carolina ..."

No one suggested that the NRA indicated that SC G&F as currently organized, staffed, and directed by the state, didn't know how to manage the wildlife. What I said was that NRA seemed to think that G&F could be subverted in the future by an "anti-" driven agenda. See below.

"Read a little deeper, next time."

I do not need to. My understanding of the points of view is comprehenisive and sufficient. Indeed, my grasp of the issues is superior to yours.

"You were talking about NRA's position.."

You need to get your mind connected to the argument. I said that NRA's paranoia seems to be that some group might co-opt SC G&F and, by dint of imposing hyper-restrictive rules, effectively ban hunting, despite the fact that the proposed state Amendment, if passed, would guarantee a right to fish and hunt. With such an amendment in place, I do not see how an "anti-" agenda could be used to coopt game & fish's rule making process to effectively ban hunting or fishing. That is the heart of the matter, or at least it seems to be the core of NRA's objection to the amendment, and I stand by my claim that the objection makes no sense.

"BTW, your comment on NJ was a bit naive."

I disagree. My comment was spot on. If you want to fight baloney you do it by electing pols who don't try to feed you baloney. If the NRA is so weak or NJ so devoid of self-interested hunters and fishermen that they can't turn this around in NJ, then what is the alternative for NJ? Hypothetically speaking, if somehow, a "right to hunt" Amendment were to come up, say, next year in NJ, and should it be likely to pass, would you or the NRA also object to the amendment if it did not include language as to methods of take? Knowing as you do that you might not get a second shot at it?

"As for Arizona, you opposed that legislation, too. **You clearly **support weak amendment language, while NRA clearly promotes strong language."

You are neither fit enough, nor authorized, to represent my opinion in this matter.

The issue in Arizona was about the wording of the Arizona amendment. As written it seems to give the Arizona state legislature direct control over the rule making process. Game management is basically a matter of demographic and ecological science. In my view, that is why some in SC object to the language NRA is trying to insert in the SC amendment, and that is why some in AZ object to language that is in the AZ amendment.

In either case, in my view, any amendment guaranteeing a right to hunt and fish will be better than no amendment at all. The one in AZ seems likely to be a Ballot Referendum this fall, and I will vote for it even as written, although I think it could be written better.

sid

Nope, you've simply backtracked when caught saying things you either didn't realize you were saying, or didn't realize people would call you on.

As for "sportsmen," you conveniently chose to omit reference to the group being a group of legislators in a weak attempt to make it look like it was sportsmen, in general, who were opposed to NRA's position. The fact is that some sportsmen support NRA's position, and some do not. Most who do not seem to be politicians first, and "sportsmen" second. You were likely intentional in your ambiguity, but if not, then you were simply wrong.

"The NRA premise seems to be that Game & Fish don't know how to manage game..."

Um, these are your words. To then say "no one suggested that the NRA indicated that SC G&F as currently organized, staffed, and directed by the state, didn't know how to manage the wildlife" is patently false. You suggested it.

As for your grasp of the issues, you couldn't possibly be more wrong. You could try, but you would fail, miserably.

The heart of the matter is, as LaSorte implied, that a weak amendment is as dangerous as no amendment. By not specifically protecting "traditional means," you leave them open to being banned. In other words, an amendment that says hunting is a protected right means ALL hunting cannot be banned. But it does not mean that SOME hunting cannot be banned. Ban bow hunting and hunting with certain firearms, and you still have hunting. And that could easily survive a legal challenge if the amendment is too weak. If you cannot understand that, then you have a very poor grasp of the issue.

Regarding NJ, the fact is that gun owners and hunters ARE a weaker minority than in most states. At least, from what I've seen. NRA is likely doing everything possible to organize them to take action. Nonetheless, your comment as to an appropriate response in NJ is, again, naive. The political climate there, as in some other states, is pretty tough for gun owners and hunters. You clearly just don't get the process, and rely on the simplistic solution to "kick the rascal out."

Regarding Arizona, I am fit to offer my opinions based on your stated views. But I don't pretend to represent your opinions. However, you have stated, "AZGFD also opposes the bill in its current form, and the Sierra Club is correct to join them." So, you are on record as supporting opposition to what looks like a strong amendment. You also state, "The problem with a 'right to hunt' as worded in the current bill is that it might restrict DNR's and AZGFDs ability to properly manage populations." It "might," but in reality, it would not. The amendment clearly states the right is "subject only to reasonable regulations and restrictions specifically prescribed by the legislature." So, as long as the regulations and restrictions are "reasonable," there is no problem. I guess you support "unreasonable" regulations and restrictions? Or do you support a paranoid viewpoint that every single restriction will be challenged as not "reasonable"?

You are certainly entitled to your opinion that any amendment is better than no amendment. In my opinion, a strong amendment is better than a weak amendment, and no amendment is better than a weak amendment. Especially if there is a chance to get a strong amendment passed at a later date.

Mike Diehl

"As ..was sportsmen, in general, who were opposed to NRA's position."

Are you saying that they don't represent a substantial proportion of SC sportsmens' opinion? That was not evident in the article.

"The fact is that some sportsmen support NRA's position, and some do not."

You will get no disagreement from me on that. These issues are always complicated and can be viewed from a glass half-empty or half-full, depending on pov.

"Most who do not seem to be politicians first, and "sportsmen" second."

And that is self evident because, errm, because "Sid said so"?

"You were likely intentional in your ambiguity, but if not, then you were simply wrong."

Actually, I was neither wrong nor deliberately ambiguous. I never said all sportsmen were against the NRA's intervention.

"Um, these are your words."

Yes they were my words, *in the context of the observation that a state Amendment that otherwise would guarantee a right to hunt and fish* would seem to make 'manipulation of the rules by game management officials to the end of banning hunting or fishing by overregulation' seem silly.

"You could try, but you would fail, miserably."

I might fail miserably, but I'm certain I'd succeed better than you. See below.

"The heart of the matter is, as LaSorte implied, that a weak amendment is as dangerous as no amendment."

Indeed, that is the question. I'm not sure he's correct. Now that you seem interested in discussing the context again, let's review.

If one had a constitutional amendment that guaranteed the right to fish and hunt, how would the absence of the phrase "by traditional means" leave a compelling opening for ant-hunters to effectively ban hunting by hyper-regulation?

As I observed before, the only way I can see that happening is if all three of the following happen: (1) wildlife managers' rule making decisions are coopted by an "anti" agenda, that effecively bans hunting and fishing by limiting means of take, and (2a) no one bothers to bring a case against the rules as a violation of the hypothetically amended state constitution, or (2b) in such a case, a judge rules that the constitutional amendment doesn't matter.

"By not specifically protecting "traditional means," you leave them open to being banned."

Unless you lay out in detail what is meant by "traditional" you might wind up leaving them open to being banned anyhow. Have you read any of the debates over what a "traditional" muzzleloader or bowhunt comprise? Inclusion of the word "traditional" could wind up as a lever for banning all forms of hunting except "traditional" hunting by use of atl-atl and spear, in the hands of the wrong attorney.

"In other words, an amendment that says hunting is a protected right means ALL hunting cannot be banned. But it does not mean that SOME hunting cannot be banned. Ban bow hunting and hunting with certain firearms, and you still have hunting. And that could easily survive a legal challenge if the amendment is too weak."

OK, with *that* I agree.

The problem is that the phrase "hunting by traditional means" is ambiguous that it still allows the de facto elimination by excessive restriction phenomenon that people (rightly) wish to avoid.

States are, for example, all over the map in re what is a "traditional firearms" season. And is a crossbow a "traditional" weapon? In some states it's allowable for bowhunting and in others not. The fact that it's a 2300 year old technology (more or less) doesn't seem to weigh in the discussion.


"Nonetheless, your comment as to an appropriate response in NJ is, again, naive."

How so? What's the alternative? Give up NJ as a lost cause for sportsmen?

"You clearly just don't get the process, and rely on the simplistic solution to "kick the rascal out."

As political solutions go, it's the best solution that one could hope for. I'm not saying it's doable.

"So, you are on record as supporting opposition to what looks like a strong amendment."

Did you mean "opposing?" We're talking about Arizona right? I'm on record stating that Sierra Club's support of AZGFD's opposition to the amendment seems appropriate.

I say that because in AZ it only *looks like* a strong amendment, at least in my opinion. Again, the devil is in the interpretation. The amendment in Arizona seems to suggest that the State Legislature may become actively involved in setting rules. It would seem, on the face of it, to invite legislative efforts to restrict hunting by hyperregulation. IMO, in AZ I am far less likely to run into an "anti" working for G&F than I am to encounter an "anti" running for state office.

"The amendment clearly states the right is "subject only to reasonable regulations and restrictions specifically prescribed by the legislature."

How is that any different from the proposed SC amendment uninclusive of "by traditional means"? 'Reasonable restrictions' could mean just about anything. In AZ it would depend on whether the legislature is influenced by antis, and how they decide to split hairs over the definition of "reasonable."

Similarly, "by traditional means" could be anything, depending on what your regulator (be it legislature or G&F) deems to be "traditional."

Either way, if some hunter or fisher feels their rights have been stepped on by hyperregulation, you still wind up in a court in a case pitting rules against a state constitutional amendment, and a judicial panel that has to figure out what the words mean in terms of action.

That's why my position is that any amendment to the state constitution is better than none at all. I'd vote for the Arizona one as worded if it's the only one on the table, although I think it could be stronger.

"I guess you support unreasonable regulations and restrictions?"

That would be an illogical supposition of the form described by Carl Sagan (in his "baloney detector kit") as the "fallacy of the excluded middle."

"Or do you support a paranoid viewpoint that every single restriction will be challenged as not "reasonable"?"

I support a viewpoint that says no matter what you write into that amendment, SOMEONE is going to have to make the rules for managing wildlife. SOMEONE is going to interpret what is meant by "traditional" or where the rule making boundary exists between the legislature and wildlife managers.

I tend to favor wildlife managers because legislators are usually not experts in much apart from politics.

"and no amendment is better than a weak amendment. Especially if there is a chance to get a strong amendment passed at a later date."

Alternatively, you might never get a chance to pass a stronger one.

As I noted above, ultimately if in any given state there is a battle between antis and sportsmen, it's going to come down to a judicial panel deciding on the interpretation of the right enumerated in the amendment.

Better to have an amendment that affirms some kind of right to hunt and fish than to have no amendment of any kind.

Can you imagine holding out for an amendment that says that "The right to hunt by means of any firearm that loads through the muzzle or breach, firing bullets made of lead, lead-alloy, copper, or steel, propelled by rimfire, centerfire, or paper cartridges, ignited by means of a hammer striking a brass cartridge or striking a percussion cap, or by a hammer driven flint igniting a spark in a frizzen pan, or by a matchlock and ignition hole method, shall not be infringed?"

Will the SC amendment add all that detail? If it does not, it seems to me that it's still open to the same restriction by rule-making process with or without the phrase "by traditional means."

Phillip

While Mike and Sid see who can piss the highest up the wall, I'm gonna stick to my guns despite Mr. Lasorte's response (which I appreciate, since I've been utterly unable to get a substantial response from the NRA-ILA on the CA lead ammo ban).

Maybe the proposed amendment needs more work. It probably does. I honestly haven't read the whole thing. But I do know what "traditional means and methods" includes in that neck of the woods. It includes running dogs, shooting with centerfire rifles regardless of terrain or population density, hunting along the public way (roads and highways), hunting over bait, and several other practices. Now I have no general issue with any of these, methods, but I do have a problem with making them a citizen's constitutional right.

A constitutional guarantee that offers the RIGHT to continue to use these means and methods would take away the power of the state to control when and where these practices take place. For example, in areas like Rock Hill (across the border from Charlotte, NC), urban sprawl has encroached on "traditional" hunting lands. This sprawl creates conflict when hunters continue to line the highways with high-powered rifles, or run their hounds through private land (already protected by antiquated range laws). In some cases, unfortunate as it may be, those practices cannot continue. The hounds have to go, and centerfire rifles either need to go as well, replaced by shotguns and archery tackle, or get off the ground and into elevated stands.

Hell, this is mostly a rhetorical stretch, but spotlighting deer has a widespread traditional following... of course it's currently illegal, but how would that be managed given the "traditional means and methods" argument?

Moving to fishing...

There's a long-standing tradition of shrimp trawling in SC as well. With declining shrimp populations, that practice may need to be curtailed or even prohibited for a time. Same for oystering, crabbing, or even fishing. Does the amendment differentiate between sport fishing and commercial?

Upholding "tradition" is a noble ideal, but it's simply not realistic in a rapidly-changing, modern world.

Compromise is the only answer. The state should find a solution that provides the basic gun-owner protections that the NRA is looking for, but the NRA can't insist on binding the hands of the lawmakers when it comes to the ability to manage the state's fish and wildlife resources or the public safety of its citizens.

Oh, and as far as whether or not I believe everything I read in the media... the NRA Press is the "media" as well. But don't worry, because I don't believe everything I read. Propaganda flows fast and thick from both sides, and only a fool makes up his mind with just one side of the story.

sid

"Are you saying that they don't represent a substantial proportion of SC sportsmens' opinion? That was not evident in the article."

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. They are elected officials who represent their constituents by voting on certain issues. They do not, however, speak for their constituents. Unless, of course, they polled them, which there is no indication they did.

"And that is self evident because, errm, because 'Sid said so'?"

Well, if they are acting as legislators, then, errm, they are supposed to be politicians first. Kinda goes with the job. If they felt so strongly about their position as "sportsmen," why didn't they just go against NRA?

"Actually, I was neither wrong nor deliberately ambiguous. I never said all sportsmen were against the NRA's intervention."

You were one or the other. You said:

"I agree with the sportsmen."

Not "the legislators" or "these particular sportsmen." You have a passable understanding of articulating a message, so you clearly said what you said either for a desired effect, or by mistake. I'm betting on the former.

"If one had a constitutional amendment that guaranteed the right to fish and hunt, how would the absence of the phrase "by traditional means" leave a compelling opening for ant-hunters to effectively ban hunting by hyper-regulation?"

Hmmm, let's see, how do I answer that. Oh yeah, with your words:

"OK, with *that* I agree."

You said that in response to my statement that some hunting could be banned under a weak amendment, which is what was being promoted.

Hunting by "traditional means," as protected in a SC Constitutional Amendment, would cover those "traditional means" that are currently legal in SC. Leave out the red herring of what other states might do. And leave out your confusion as to how to define what is "traditional." Again, it covers that which is currently legal, and has been legal for some time. Details may get argued in court, but that would happen, and with less protection, under an amendment that does not specifically protect "traditional means."

"How so? What's the alternative? Give up NJ as a lost cause for sportsmen?"

Legal challenges are probably the best option for NJ. Voting should still be promoted, of course, but they've been doing that in NJ for years, and what has that accomplished?

"Did you mean "opposing?" We're talking about Arizona right? I'm on record stating that Sierra Club's support of AZGFD's opposition to the amendment seems appropriate."

No, learn to read, or at least comprehend. I said "you are on record as supporting opposition to what looks like a strong amendment." That means you supported the opposing view, which means you opposed the strong amendment.

"The amendment in Arizona seems to suggest that the State Legislature may become actively involved in setting rules. It would seem, on the face of it, to invite legislative efforts to restrict hunting by hyperregulation. IMO, in AZ I am far less likely to run into an "anti" working for G&F than I am to encounter an "anti" running for state office."

Elected officials are far more responsive, and accountable, than appointees. And considering the process for appointment, one anti-hunting gov. could destroy hunting in Arizona. It takes just three anti-hunters. Compare that with how many anti-hunting lawmakers it would take to do damage. The math is easy, so I have no problem with putting the authority in the hands of lawmakers. They can already pass laws right now that would affect hunting.

"How is that any different from the proposed SC amendment uninclusive of 'by traditional means'?"

The difference is the AZ language DOES contain the "traditional means" language. See, you get both a "reasonableness" standard, AND protection of "traditional means." Do you not see how that works?

"Either way, if some hunter or fisher feels their rights have been stepped on by hyperregulation, you still wind up in a court in a case pitting rules against a state constitutional amendment, and a judicial panel that has to figure out what the words mean in terms of action."

Which is why you make the language as strong as possible. You are far more likely to win a case against banning bow hunting with the "traditional methods" language than you are without it.

"That would be an illogical supposition of the form described by Carl Sagan (in his 'baloney detector kit') as the 'fallacy of the excluded middle.'"

No, that would be called sarcasm. I don't actually think you support such views (although you certainly could). I do think you lack a firm grasp on the issue, however, and I like poking fun at you.

"Alternatively, you might never get a chance to pass a stronger one."

So, give up, because it might be too hard to get good language? Silly, and dangerous, perspective.

"Can you imagine holding out for an amendment that says...."

Ah, the sweet smell of Sagan baloney.

"Will the SC amendment add all that detail?"

As I said before, the trick with amendments is to strike that delicate balance between too much detail, and not enough. Seems like the NRA position does that. There are, of course, no guarantees, but it seems pretty clear that "traditional methods" offers far more protection than " ."

sid

"A constitutional guarantee that offers the RIGHT to continue to use these means and methods would take away the power of the state to control when and where these practices take place."

No it woudn't. It would just prohibit the state from banning the practices completely. I believe the SC language said the state can enact laws, rules, and regs. I believe it also refers to the right being subject to things like property rights. So you wouldn't be allowed to run your dogs wherever you want.

"Moving to fishing..."

I would guess if you limited the "traditional methods" protection to hunting, NRA would not object.

"Compromise is the only answer. The state should find a solution that provides the basic gun-owner protections that the NRA is looking for, but the NRA can't insist on binding the hands of the lawmakers when it comes to the ability to manage the state's fish and wildlife resources or the public safety of its citizens."

Again, no binding of hands. The amendment would allow for laws, rules, and regs. Just no complete bans.




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