Today, the state House Natural Resources Subcommittee tabled Senate Bill 464 for the rest of this current legislative session. SB 464, sponsored by state Senator Ralph Northam (D-6), would have allowed hunting on private land and public waterways on Sundays.
Currently, Virginia is one of only six states in the country that strictly bans hunting on Sunday. This prohibition threatens the very future of our hunting heritage by discouraging hunter recruitment and retention. In addition, this antiquated ban harms Virginia’s economy.
Due to increasingly demanding work, family and extracurricular schedules, older and younger hunters alike often have only Sundays available to hunt. The ban keeps them from remaining or becoming hooked on hunting. There is a reason that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a radical group whose ultimate goal is to end all hunting in America, is one of the most active advocates of maintaining the ban. Hunting license sales in Virginia have decreased from 500,000 to 300,000 in little more than two decades, while the Commonwealth’s population has increased by millions. Our opponents know that the future of hunting is at stake and you should too.
At a time when the economy is struggling and too many Virginians are out of work, legislators must not continue to refuse the enormous economic benefits associated with allowing hunting on Sundays. Comprehensive research from the National Shooting Sports Foundation shows that allowing hunting on Sundays would generate a total annual economic impact estimated at $296 million and create 3,927 jobs. All of this would be spurred by simply eliminating words from state statute books (the current prohibition), not spending taxpayer dollars on some pie-in-the-sky scheme.
While the state Senate passed this critically important legislation by an overwhelming bipartisan 29 to 11 vote earlier this session, it is disappointing that the opposition members of the House subcommittee chose to refuse enormous economic and employment gain to Virginians. Even worse, they have put the future of hunting in the Commonwealth in great peril. While there were several misguided groups in opposition to this legislation – from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation to the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance – there is no group more pleased than the Humane Society of the United States. The members of this radical group have the ultimate objective of ending all hunting in America and they know that Sunday hunting bans do their dirty work for them.
Repealing the prohibition of Sunday hunting in Virginia will continue to be a top priority for the NRA. With the passage of the Senate bill, historic progress was made this year. Momentum will continue to favor those who believe in the preservation of our proud hunting traditions for future generations. It is up to each of us to carry on this battle until the next legislative session. Be sure to educate your legislators, friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to the benefits of allowing hunting on Sundays.