Polling over the years has shown that around 80 percent of NRA members are hunters. So it should come as no surprise that the NRA defends the rights of hunters just as vigorously as we defend the rights of gun owners under the Second Amendment.
In fact, within NRA's bylaws, it states that one of the objectives of the association is "to promote and defend hunting as a shooting sport and as a viable and necessary method of fostering the propagation, growth and conservation, and wise use of our renewable wildlife resources."
What does all of this mean? Well, if you live in Virginia, thanks to the unyielding efforts of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), you can now hunt on Sundays on private land. Virginia has long been one of several eastern states with Blue Laws prohibiting Sunday hunting still on the books, and NRA-ILA's years-long efforts to lift the ban were rewarded last Wednesday, March 5, when Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed House Bill 1237 into law.
HB 1237 will allow Sunday hunting on private land with written permission from the owner, while still prohibiting Sunday hunting on public land, hunting on Sundays within 200 yards of a house of worship, and hunting deer and bears with dogs on Sundays.
In a day and age when time is a commodity in short supply, this important piece of legislation should do wonders to promote youth hunter recruitment and retention in Virginia. Between the busy Monday through Friday school and work week, Saturday was the only real option for many parents to take kids hunting-and that was if sports activities didn't get in the way. Now with Sundays open to hunting on private lands, Virginia families will virtually double their available hunting time, something that will help strengthen both family bonds and our hunting heritage.
If estimates from the Sunday Hunting Coalition are correct, the state stands to benefit economically as well, to the tune of nearly 4,000 jobs and $296 million directly attributed to Sunday hunting activities.
"This is great news for Virginia sportsmen as well as the future of gun rights and hunting in the Commonwealth," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "We thank Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15) and Senator Phil Puckett (D-38) for their leadership in bringing Virginia's hunting laws into the 21st Century."
It is my hope that legislators in my native Pennsylvania, also a state with a longstanding ban on Sunday hunting, are paying close attention to what has transpired in the Old Dominion.