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
Joe Biden: Hero Who Ended Texas Rampage Shouldn’t Have Had His Gun

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Joe Biden: Hero Who Ended Texas Rampage Shouldn’t Have Had His Gun

Most Americans consider Stephen Willeford a hero for bravely ending the rampage of a crazed murderer at a Texas church … but not former Vice President Joe Biden. During a national television appearance on Monday, ...

Muzzleloaders Now Targeted by “Giffords” Gun Prohibition Lobby

News  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Muzzleloaders Now Targeted by “Giffords” Gun Prohibition Lobby

It didn’t take long after the events in Las Vegas, Nevada for gun control advocates to resort to their usual tactic of blaming hardware for the acts of an evil man. Numerous anti-gun bills were ...

Terry McAuliffe’s Halfway Heroism

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Terry McAuliffe’s Halfway Heroism

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has recently been distinguished by Governing magazine as one of its “Public Officials of the Year.” According to the magazine, Gov. McAuliffe claims his “proudest single achievement” in office has been restoring ...

When Gun Control Fails

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, July 21, 2017

When Gun Control Fails

Gun control is pushed as a strategy to keep Americans safe in their homes, schools and workplaces. It is presented as the key component in safer streets, neighborhoods and families. But what happens when gun ...

With ‘Firearm’ Offenses up 27-percent, UK Holds National Gun Surrender

News  

Friday, November 17, 2017

With ‘Firearm’ Offenses up 27-percent, UK Holds National Gun Surrender

Anti-gun advocates like Gun Control Network Chair Gillian Marshall-Andrews tout the United Kingdom’s longstanding firearms restrictions, which include a near total ban on handguns, as the “gold standard” of gun control. In recent years, UK ...

Gun Controllers Choose to Ignore Cases of Good Guys with Guns

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Gun Controllers Choose to Ignore Cases of Good Guys with Guns

Less than three hours after the tragedy at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was looking to score political points. As is his custom, Murphy fired off a tweet admonishing his ...

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

News  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 2095, which she is calling the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. The 125-page firearm prohibition fever dream is perhaps the most far-reaching gun ban ever introduced in Congress.

This Man Did Not Write A Second (Class) Amendment

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 3, 2017

This Man Did Not Write A Second (Class) Amendment

Courts are telling gun owners that they must choose between their Second Amendment-protected rights and their other constitutional rights. 

Free Beacon  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gabby Giffords’s Gun Control Group Releases Report Warning of Muzzleloaders, Other Firearms

Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords's gun control group released a report on Wednesday warning of the dangers of muzzle loading rifles, a number of other firearms, and some firearms accessories and calling for new gun control ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.