A plethora of new laws proposed in several states on the Eastern part of the United States are seemingly aimed directly at gun owners, sport hunters, gun ranges, and now even hunting dogs.
Legislation pre-filed in Virginia by State Delegate Dan Helmer would heavily restrict private indoor shooting ranges and require extensive background information on people who frequent them. House Bill 567 is awaiting a committee referral, and this one is ugly, and targets private ranges and private gun owners.
While current law allows for indoor shooting ranges on private property, new language in House Bill 567 would require one of three conditions to be met for an indoor range to operate in Virginia:
- The indoor shooting range is owned or leased by the state or federal government;
- The range has less than 50 employees;
- Or at least 90 percent of the range users are law enforcement officers.
A person that uses or operates a private indoor range without meeting these conditions will be subject to a fine up to $100,000! I would think that most private ranges have fewer than 50 employees and could thereby be exempt from the newly proposed law, but with legislation obviously targeted at hampering gun owner’s rights, we don’t know that for sure.
Virginia has been a focal point for anti-gun legislation since Michael Bloomberg (Democratic presidential candidate and former NYC mayor) threw over $100 million into Virginia local, county, and state elections to turn the state blue. More obvious is the blatant quid pro quo that surfaced immediately after the 2018 elections and continues today – liberal lawmakers are pushing very hard towards their anti-gun agenda, which is masterminded and marketed by Bloomberg.
They’re not even trying to be casual about it. Bloomberg and his associates want to straight up abolish the Second Amendment and totally do away with private gun ownership.
In addition to the restrictions, HB 567 would require indoor shooting ranges to maintain a log of each customer’s name, phone number, address and the law-enforcement agency where the user is employed.
This legislation is an abuse of government power that’s only intent is to explicitly target a cohort of legitimate businesses and organizations. Most of the indoor ranges targeted by this legislation operate in areas of high population density with limited access to outdoor ranges.
“This type of calculated political attack on shooting sports and shooting organizations is completely inappropriate, a violation of individual civil rights and, frankly, dangerous. Education and training opportunity are the foundation of firearms safety. As we decrease access to training opportunities for private citizens, the potential for crime and public safety issues increases,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It appears Delegate Helmer doesn’t care about American citizens’ right to bear arms nor right to privacy, and certainly doesn’t care about gun safety, education and training” – January 2020 Sportsmen’s Alliance
In another recent article by the Sportsmen’s Alliance, the magazine noted that legislation pre-filed in New York by State Senator James Sanders would require anyone wishing to purchase a firearm to first pass a mental health evaluation. Senate Bill 7065 has been referred to the New York Senate Consumer Protection Committee where it awaits a hearing.
Current New York law requires the use of a licensed firearms dealer and passage of a federal background (NICS) check to transfer any firearm. SB 7065 would require the mental health check prior to initiating the background check. The implementation of a mental health evaluation for firearm transfers constitutes unprecedented government regulation and overreach. The mental health requirement would even apply to a father giving a treasured firearm to his son or daughter.
Violators of the new law would face non-violent Class D felony charges and up to 7 years in prison. Some other non-violent Class D felonies in New York include robbery, burglary and vehicular manslaughter. If you are convicted of any felony, you lose your right to own a firearm and your right to vote.
“In addition to the clear violation of Second Amendment rights, this legislation unfairly targets the hunting and sport shooting community by creating barriers that limit access to the outdoors,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “As it becomes more difficult to legally obtain a firearm in New York, it also becomes more difficult to drive participation in hunting and shooting sports” – January 2020 Sportsmen’s Alliance
In a seemingly innocuous bill designed to protect dogs kept as pets, especially during inclement weather, Pennsylvania State Representative Joseph Hohenstein has introduced House Bill 2104, which would make it a crime to leave a dog outside even on days with moderate temperatures.
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HB 2104, which is modeled after similar bills introduced in other states, requires that any dog left outside for more than 30 minutes have access to a shelter with a very specific building design. When temperatures are below 32 degrees, a dog is not allowed outside for more than 15 minutes, even if it has access to a shelter.
While the bill seems helpful, providing penalties and fines for people who leave dogs outdoors in bad weather, it does something that shows a much different intention. Current PA law recognizes the need to acclimate hunting dogs to weather conditions and provides an exemption for dogs used in hunting and field trials. This legislation would specifically remove these protections for sportsmen and their dogs.
This bill, like a Trojan Horse, could be interpreted as a direct measure to stop using dogs in sport hunting – acts where the dogs are specifically trained and accustomed to the conditions.
House Bill 2104 would make it a crime to keep your dog in the back yard on a 65-degree day without access to a shelter. It would make it a crime to leave hunting dogs outside when the temperature is below freezing, even though they frequently hunt in these types of conditions. Pennsylvania law already has strict regulations that protect animals from neglect due to weather.
“House Bill 2104 defies common sense and actually poses a threat to the health of hunting dogs that need to become used to the temperatures in which they will hunt.” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services with the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Most days of the year have weather that doesn’t pose any threat to the health of dogs, and yet this bill would make it a crime to have your dog in your fenced in yard unless you have built a shelter. This bill is overkill” – January 2020 Sportsmen’s Alliance.
Rhetorical question: Why the need for increased regulations on protecting dogs if the only thing the new law does is target hunters?
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