A hunting we won't go...
Sunday-hunting advocates improbably failed two years ago when they attempted to get the usually pliable state Legislature to bend to their narrow interest. Lawmakers declined to lift the state's ban on most Sunday hunting.
Dissatisfied with the law of the land, Hunters United for Sunday Hunting went hunting for another approach and came up with the assertion that the ban violates the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions.
According to the hunters, the ban violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms, even though the ban does not preclude anyone from owning or using a gun on Sunday. They also contend that the hunting ban violates their right to freely practice religion, which would require a miraculous interpretation by the court to prevail.
In defending the legislatively mandated ban, the state attorney general's office argued that the ban cannot be unconstitutional because there is no constitutional right to hunt, and that the appropriate venue for the debate over the appropriateness of Sunday hunting is the Legislature rather than a federal court.
"Their complaint presents an abstract question which amounts to a generalized grievance most appropriately addressed by the state Legislature, not a federal court," the state contended.
The real question is whether hunters alone or the people of Pennsylvania, through their elected representatives, get to determine the use of Penn's Woods. Those lands, except the private property on which hunters also may hunt, are the property of all Pennsylvanians.
Pennsylvania has a long hunting tradition and is one of the nation's most hunting-friendly states. But jurisdiction over Sunday hunting should remain with the Legislature.