Fairfax, Va. – Today the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal animal cruelty law so broadly written that it would criminalize the distribution of hunting videos and magazines under many circumstances. The 8-1 ruling in U.S. v Stevens is a big win for the National Rifle Association and hunters across America. A brief submitted by the NRA was cited in the majority’s opinion.
“The NRA condemns animal cruelty. However, hunting and depictions of hunting are not animal cruelty. This excessive law would have imposed felony penalties for creating, possessing or selling mainstream hunting images. Therefore, we are pleased that the Supreme Court ruled against this overbroad law,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Indeed, NRA publications like American Hunter, the largest-circulation all-hunting magazine in the world, could have been in jeopardy if this law was upheld.”
Anti-hunting extremist organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) were the primary advocates for the deliberately overreaching language in Congress and its defenders in Court. HSUS’s intentions should have been apparent from the beginning. Before becoming president of the organization, Wayne Pacelle said, “The definition of obscenity on the newsstands should be extended to many hunting magazines.” And, this is precisely what the law did.
“American hunters and sportsmen are our country’s true conservationists. It is offensive that those who work hardest for the preservation efforts of wildlife in this country are grouped with those who commit actual animal cruelty,” concluded Cox. “Fortunately, the Supreme Court chose the First Amendment over Pacelle’s radical agenda, and the overruling of this law prevents the unwarranted punishment of ethical hunters and outdoor media in the United States.”
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services.