Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Hunting

SHOTGUN SPORTS AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO HUNT: VIRGINIA COURT TO DECIDE ZONING DISPUTE

Thursday, October 28, 2004

"The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game," subject to regulation by the state legislature, according to the Virginia Constitution. Numerous states have such a guarantee, but few courts have decided the meaning of that right.

A lawsuit pending in Nelson County, located in rural Central Virginia, promises to be perhaps the first in the nation to do so. Orion Sporting Group LLC applied for a conditional use permit to re-open an on-going shotgun sports business on a new 450-acre rural tract of property where Orion has a licensed hunting preserve. It would have been a place for sportsmen and women safely to shoot shotguns at clay pigeons and ZZ-Birds that simulate the flight paths of upland game birds and other fowl as well as small game animals. Even though the facility would have complied with the existing noise ordinance, the County turned it down.

Orion filed suit, claiming that the denial violates the right to hunt. Hunting requires instruction in safety and proficiency. Sporting clays is the ideal learning tool for bird hunting. Such training minimizes chances of firearms accidents and, by teaching how to shoot clay and helice targets at different distances and angles, promotes the humane harvesting of game birds. It`s the very kind of hunter education and training that the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries promotes. The County`s refusal, the lawsuit also maintains, seeks to do an end run around Virginia state law, which restricts county authority to regulate hunting and firearm discharge to residential areas only. Lawyers representing Orion include Steven Raynor, John Simpson, and Stephen Halbrook.

The County sought dismissal of the suit, arguing that corporations have no right to hunt and that sporting clays isn`t hunting. Orion responded that many constitutional rights require the economic support that corporations offer. Newspaper publishers come to mind – the right to a free press couldn`t survive if only lone individuals could disseminate news and opinion. Moreover, simulated hunting makes one proficient at actual hunting. No one wants untrained "hunters" in the woods who can`t shoot straight.

In a decision on Oct. 4, 2004, Circuit Judge Michael Gamble held that Orion`s complaint sufficiently alleged violation of the constitutional right to hunt for the case to go to trial. The complaint was valid in that it asserted that the zoning ordinance "effectively has a county-wide ban on hunting because it prevents sporting clays shooting facilities and shooting ranges." The judge also held that it was proper for Orion to claim that, under the ordinance itself, hunting and sporting clays should be permitted. This decision clears the way for the case to go to trial.

Meanwhile, politicians in control of Nelson County have broadened their anti-hunter policies, ordering the closure of the Bucks Only Hunt Club shooting range which had existed for years. Then County Officials proposed amending the zoning ordinance to require Hunt Clubs to get special permits. In other words, you can exercise what the Virginia Constitution calls your "right to hunt" if some bureaucrat gives you permission. A sea of hunters – hundreds of them – in blaze orange caps opposed the proposal at a public hearing on Sept. 21, cheering Dawson Hobbs, spokesman for the National Rifle Association. Anti-hunters in the Nelson County Board of Supervisors need to be thrown out at coming elections. Meanwhile, the litigation continues.

For further information, contact Charles Jordan (cjordan@OrionEstate.com) or James Slaughter (jdslaughter@OrionEstate.com), Orion Estate, (434) 263-6622.

TRENDING NOW

Monday, August 19, 2019

Florida Alert! "Assault Weapons" Ban Amendment Bans ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

The so-called "assault weapons" ban that is proposed for a constitutional amendment to be on the 2020 Election Ballot bans the possession of: “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun CAPABLE of holding more than ten (10) rounds ...

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

There are some odd dynamics in international relations. Countries in which people are not free serve on the UN Human Rights Council. Political considerations guide every action.  Of course, the NRA is a single-issue organization so ...

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

News  

Friday, August 2, 2019

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

NRA member Darrell Kennedy was on vacation with his family at Yellowstone National Park earlier this month when an anti-gun vacationer snapped a photo of his holstered firearm and tweeted out a hate message. “Sat ...

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

Joe Biden has been out on the primary campaign trail working hard. Maybe a little too hard. “We got to let them know who we are,” he recently told a crowd of supporters at the Iowa State ...

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

The Christian Science Monitor describes itself as “an independent international news organization” that wants to “help you to see news events as starting points for constructive conversations.” Its editorial board recently published an article, A seed for society’s ...

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

A smart person learns from his mistakes. An even smarter person learns from the mistakes of others.  Beto O’Rourke, an unemployed Texan running for president, must not be too smart.           

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

Bill and Hillary Clinton just don’t draw like they used to. Shunned by much of his own party, (described by one Vanity Fair commentator as “2020’s bubonic plague”) the former president has been relegated to providing lazy ...

Governor Abbott Signs Ten Pro-Second Amendment Bills into Law

Monday, June 17, 2019

Governor Abbott Signs Ten Pro-Second Amendment Bills into Law

Governor Greg Abbott has now signed all of the NRA-supported legislation which the Texas Legislature sent him during the 2019 session.

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

In the wake of the recent two criminal mass attacks, a number of gun control proposals have begun to circulate in our nation’s capital. None of these proposals would have prevented the recent tragedies, but they all ...

California: Appropriations Committees Send Bills to the Suspense File

Thursday, August 15, 2019

California: Appropriations Committees Send Bills to the Suspense File

On Monday, August 12, the Senate Appropriations Committee sent AB 1254 to the suspense file and rescheduled AB 1669 to be heard next Monday, August 19. On Wednesday, August 14, the Assembly Appropriations Committee sent SB 172 ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.