State Capitol News
11:18 pm
Wed March 5, 2008

Hunting a constitutional right?

Phoenix, AZ – Some state lawmakers want to make the ability to hunt and fish a
constitutional right. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer
explains why.


National Rifle Association board member Todd Rathner told members
of a House panel Wednesday hunting is under attack.

(We've seen all kinds of crazy things going on from bans on dove
hunting in Michigan to other initiatives where they've banned
hunting. What we want to do is raise the bar on the ability of
people that don't want hunting to happen, we want to raise the
bar on them to be able to ban hunting.)

Constitutionally protecting hunting would keep future legislators
from imposing new limits. It would not ban voter initiatives. But
it takes more signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the
ballot than to propose a change in state law. Jennifer Martin, a
member of the Game and Fish Commission, warned of dire
consequences. She said states can enact regulations if they
rationally further a legitimate government interest. But
restrictions on constitutional rights are subject to a higher
standard.

(The burden would fall on the state to demonstrate that the rules
that we were setting or any licenses that we revoke or any
actions that we took were the least restrictive means of
accomplishing a state objective.)

Martin said that could forbid regulations that govern hunting
seasons and even how many animals any one person could kill. For
Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.