The Right to Hunt

Craig Fehrman questions the recent push to add the right to hunt to state constitutions.

Why, if Kentucky’s gun rights were never in peril, did this bill exist in the first place? More than anything else, it was because the NRA wanted it to exist. When Leslie Combs intoned that “people have hunted since the dawn of civilization,” she wasn’t reciting words she’d written—she was reading directly from NRA talking points. Now, at a time when the NRA is laying low in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, the group's right-to-hunt efforts reveal its essential character. As the push in Kentucky shows, this is an organization that derives its power by cultivating and inflaming a base in gun-friendly states—and by concocting imaginary threats and pursuing redundant rights.

My home state of Nebraska recently passed its own right to hunt/fish amendment. If there is a place where this should not be considered necessary, it is my fine home state. Even the city slickers of Omaha enjoy a good hunt now and then. States should rarely amend their constitutions, and such frivolity is certainly not worthy, especially from conservatives.