Rethinking the hunting & fishing amendment

We made some cursory judgements on the proposed constitutional amendments earlier. Our friends at The Beaufort Observer have come along with a piece that has us rethinking  our initial YES vote:

[…] Had the proposed amendment said “The right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is a valued part of the State’s heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good. The people have a right, including the right to use traditional methods, to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife” we would be all in favor of it.

Unfortunately, it did not stop there. It then says: “subject only to laws enacted by the General Assembly and rules adopted pursuant to authority granted by the General Assembly to (i) promote wildlife conservation and management and (ii) preserve the future of hunting and fishing.” That provision, it seems to us, is contradictory of the first part guaranteeing the basic right to hunt and fish because it allows the legislature to restrict that right. Not only does it enable legislative abridgement of the right, but it would appear to allow non-elected regulatory bodies (i.e., Wildlife Resources Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries) to restrict that right. The wording is vague about what standard the Legislature or regulatory bodies must meet restrict the right.

We recognize that no right is absolute and that every right must be exercised in light of the context in which it is exercised. American jurisprudence has provided a time-honored and proven way of addressing when and how constitutional rights may be restricted. It is called the “strict scrutiny test.” Simply stated, when a court applies strict scrutiny to a government action that infringes on a fundamental constitutional right it applies a two-pronged test: “Does the government have a compelling reason for restricting that right?” and “is the method used the least restrictive manner for accomplishing that compelling reason?”

Thus, we would argue, the proposal should read: “The right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is a valued part of the State’s heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good. The people have a fundamental right, including the right to use traditional methods, to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife and no such right shall not be abridged without a showing of a compelling reason by the government, subject to strict judicial scrutiny.”

That’s it. Just that simple.

Constitutions are not meant to grant rights to the people. Our rights come from God, not the Legislature. Constitutions are meant to restrict the power of government and thus protect our rights. We have a natural law right to hunt and fish, although it is not absolute. But if it is to be restricted, the constitution should set the standard for how those restrictions may be imposed and for what purpose. This proposed amendment does not do that. It gets it backward. […] 


14 thoughts on “Rethinking the hunting & fishing amendment

  1. Vote no for Amendment to Hunt and Fish. Concerns are the NC Legislators will place more restrictions/laws to prevent Hunting and Fishing!

  2. This is a compelling argument. Early voting begins tomorrow. Given the logic presented here, I will vote NO on this Amendment. Would that someone among the outdoor fraternity had engaged in an early warning in enough time to fix this amendment. The very last thing wildlife, and those who are most committed to preserving it, e.g. hunters and fishermen, is to turn more power over to the Raleigh Deep State.

  3. After reading the full newspaper article, it looks like this amendment is worthless. It accomplishes nothing to guarantee the right to fishing and hunting since the legislature can still take away whatever rights it wants.

    I’ll vote AGAINST.

  4. This sounds like it was something put together by the Sea CA Coastal Conservancy Association was does a good job of seducing Republican legislators but is in fact a republican Progressive organization they are to blame for the Georgia legislature surrendering all control of saltwater to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The Georgia DNR within one year so up to an act new regulations based on junk science to provide them an additional Revenue stream. I was fighting them at the time when some idiot conveniently copied me in one of their emails and I blew up their plans .
    CCA is a proponent of Regulation. One of their reasonings for getting the Georgia legislature to give up their control of saltwater was so that the DNR could actually control all commercial aspects of salt water under the guise of protecting the environment for recreational fishermen however the creel limits for recreational fishermen were hit so hard that it was no longer worth going fishing in some places for some species. The guides loved it.

  5. I do not usually comment on such, but it reminds me of Regan when he said “I’m from the Goverment and I’m here to help”. Relieve you from more of your rights and money. So weigh your options carefully before you vote.

  6. I’m reminded of Regan saying “I’m from the Goverment and I’m here to help”. Here to releive you of more of your rights and Money. Think carefully when to mark your ballot. I will vote NO.

  7. Pretty much, a lot of these amendments are not so much intended to change the way we do business as a state, but to drive attendance to the polls.

    It was like that in 2011 when most of the legislators would privately admit up front that passing the marriage amendment would make the federal courts step in and force us, they openly talked about how what mattered the most was bringing Republicans to the polls. They are using the referendums as a political lever to drive voter attendance.

    I’ve had problems with this from the start. A Constitutional Amendment should CHANGE something. We’ve discovered a problem and now we are fixing it. If an amendment to the Constitution is proposed that doesn’t actually change the way we operate, then I am suspicious of its purpose and effect immediately.

    Deeper looking never seems to change my impression, although I stay open regardless. This time like others, I am minded to only vote for VoterID. Which shouldn’t be needed either, if not for rotten apples in our own barrel and the long standing insanity on the left.

    These amendments by and large change nothing. They add complexity to a Constitution which already addresses these topics effectively enough that these amendments would not actually change any laws, excepting technical corrections to retain the integrity of the code.

    Politics should not write our Constitution. People should. This is why that was the only subject set to a popular referendum.

    Now that the Jones Street cabal has learned to use referendums for political messaging, it is time to amend the Constitution to add another referendum process, perhaps for statutory consideration, for these children to play at and leave our Constitution to the apolitical foundational document it was intended.

  8. It is a shame, a true constitutional house member is attacked by his own party, the republicans. Glen was the best member of the assembly. We need him in there again. Thanks Glen !!

  9. This amendment is actually very necessary to combat the far-left, anti-hunting, anti-farming clowns from shutting down hunting in NC. It sounds crazy, but the NJ Governor just stopped all bear hunting in NJ for no reason other than politics. It had no basis in science or conservation, just pressure from the left. In Florida, they have also been fighting to keep bear hunting legal. In California, the liberals are trying to end mountain lion hunting. Without this amendment, PETA or HSUS only has to get a bill passed to end any form of hunting or fishing or trapping.

    If the Legislature, NCWRC, or Governor tries to take away any hunting or fishing rights the citizens have legal recourse if this amendment exists. What would stop PETA from padding the NCWRC and getting bear hunting banned because bears are cute? What about the hundreds of millions of dollars of crop damage they do and the fact they are currently over populated? What recourse would a citizen have?

    As far as fishing and the CCA, this does nothing to help or hurt the CCA vs Commercial Fishing fight. Their fight is what is the real science and that would not be impacted by this.

    Liberals think the Constitution or the government gives you rights. Conservatives understand that rights are granted by God and simply affirmed by documents from man. So let’s affirm this one.

    This amendment was endorsed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, Safari Club, Mule Deer Foundation, NRA, and virtually every hunting group there is because they recognize the threat and fight it daily in other states.

  10. To begin I am proud to say I am a Brant Clifton and Glen Bradley fan but I also have some disagreement or maybe just some comments to the contrary regarding Glen’s comments on this amendment. Always I thank Brant for bravely reporting.

    There is a movement in this state to end hunting and fishing, to end the domestication of animals for food and the elimination of animal products ( like milk ) from the marketplace. These groups, like PETA, are determined to get their way and the vehicle by which they travel is through the Democrat Party. Elect Democrats, especially as radical as they have become, and they will do the bidding of those who help get them elected like PETA.

    The “strict scrutiny” doctrine, as mentioned in the article, only applies when judges, such as on our democrat controlled State Supreme Court, refrain from legislating from the bench which we all know is a Democrat judges favorite pastime. Therefore a Constitutional amendment is the only way to stop a radical activist supreme court.

    Unfortunately, over the last decade maybe more, constitutions, either state or federal, have become more and more viewed, even by some in the republican ranks, as living documents subject to review in light of current situations. Without the clarity of this amendment and without the need for legislation our current radical State Supreme Court can easily change the meaning of what is meant by “The right to Hunt and Fish”.

    As for Glen’s comment on the marriage amendment (which I take issue with), and I hope he can correct me if I am wrong, but just because the Federal Courts will ultimately choose to intervene in the affairs of State Constitutions should not prevent us from pursuing a subject like the marriage amendment. If this trend continues ( The countering of state constitutional amendments on subjects that are clearly state’s rights issues ) we may have to take Thomas Jefferson’s advice and replace one repressive government with the Constitutional Republic our founders created.

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