December 11, 2019

Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Pushing Three Bills This Session

I have heard that the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM) is pushing for support of three bills being presented before the Maine Legislature, that are described as in support and protection of hunting, fishing and trapping, changing the way signatures are gathered for public referendum items, and banning public referendum on wildlife issues. Let me address them one at a time.

First, there appears to be another attempt to somehow, through the Legislature, “protect the right to hunt.” I have not seen the language, which, to me, is of utmost importance. It is mostly a waste of time to support any law or constitutional amendment that does not go far enough to protect a right to hunt, fish and trap. What most don’t see is that what has been mostly presented so far, and this is true in several states that have already passed some kind of law to protect hunting, fishing and trapping, is that there is a difference between protecting a right for the opportunity to hunt, fish and trap, and the actual right to hunt, fish and trap. “Opportunities,” as the word is almost always wiggled into any attempt at fake protection of hunting, fishing and trapping, can take on many disguises, some of which one has to use their imagination to see any protection at all.

As things stand currently in Maine, most sportsmen are presented with “opportunities” to hunt, fish and trap. Would outdoor sportsmen be just as happy, years down the road, if those “opportunities” shrank to little or no chance to hunt, fish or trap? Any law passed worded with “provide opportunities” would only require the absolute minimum in order to fulfill the mandate. Thought must be given this matter.

What I have been witness to in other states that include only “opportunities” is that they can tell someone at what percentage the voters passed or rejected the law. Other than that, it really has no teeth, but might possibly discourage some under-funded environmentalist group from suing…but don’t hold your breath.

On the other hand, any law or constitutional amendment MUST provide a mandate, that whoever is in control of game management, must manage all game species “for surplus harvest.” I’m not stupid and I understand this is language fish and game departments, as well as slimy politicians, don’t want to see in any law or amendment. They hate placing mandates on themselves. It cramps their style. However, the only way that the actual act of hunting, trapping and fishing can be guaranteed is by including a mandate that the department must manage the game species for surplus harvest, otherwise what’s the point of it all? That would certainly take care of protecting opportunities.

I would fully support an amendment that contains the appropriate language. I wouldn’t oppose a useless amendment for protecting “opportunities,” but I would spend any time supporting it.

A second issue involves some kind of law that would require a different structure for gathering signatures in order to place a proposal on the ballot as a public referendum. Once again, I have not seen the language, but would support a change that would more equitably provide signatures that most closely represents the voting public. Maine has a wide disparaging population that goes hand in hand with political idealism. It appears that it becomes a bit too easy for someone to focus signature gathering on the most densely populated areas of Southern Maine, where residents there more closely resemble citizens of Massachusetts than the northern two-thirds of the Pine Tree State. I don’t think such a change would actually change anything, except that it might discourage fence sitters with little or no money from exercising their right to petition the government. This is something to consider.

Voters should think sufficiently on this issue before tossing support or opposition. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. In other words, for those seeking signatures that would more easily be targeted in northern and rural Maine, an equal number, or a more representative number of signatures, must be gathered from both regions – the door swings both ways.

And speaking of a goose and a gander, this brings me to the third item up for discussion. For the third time I remind readers I have not seen the exact language of the proposed legislation. It is my understanding that a proposal is being promoted by SAM that would prohibit public referendum items that involve “wildlife issues.”

Who is going to decide what is a “wildlife issue” to be accepted or rejected? What could possibly go wrong?

It appears to me that those in support of such a prohibition are making the assumption that they will always be in agreement with how the state, and in particular the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), manages game and wildlife. Do you have the confidence that the MDIFW will always be doing what you consider the right thing? What will happen then, if MDIFW decides that it will shift all its funds and employees to protecting piping plovers, allowing the deer herd to go to hell in a hand-basket? You try and try and try to get them to better balance their work. Even SAM has mounted a campaign to deal with issues that are important to its members, but there is no changing their minds. What then? What’s left? Presently, you could gather signatures and mount a referendum campaign for the upcoming ballot to force the changes you seek. With a ban on “wildlife issues” on referendums, this right to petition the state is gone.

It always amazes me to witness, so-called, supporters of rights, who turn around and use their right to take away a right they claim they support.

It sucks that we live in a democracy, where two wolves and a sheep can decide what’s for lunch, but it is the system that we have and our rights need to be protected in order that we can have some kind of recourse when government gets too big and out of control. I have zero faith that Maine’s government, or any other government, gives three pieces of camel dung about me and what I think is important. As I witness the changes taking place within fish and game departments, more closely resembling environmental activism, this right to petition the state on wildlife issues must remain in place.

I would NOT support a ban on referendums that involve “wildlife issues” regardless of what the definition is of “wildlife issues.”

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Second Amendment is Considered “Infringable” by Most

ShallNotBeInfringedPeople should ask why it is that the Second Amendment is fair game for infringement – “act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on.”

I have often said that if an honest person is interested in protecting constitutional rights, more than likely they will find themselves among strange company. A right is a right….isn’t it?

The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” And yet, this nation has spent billions of dollars infringing on this right and billions of dollars protecting other rights. I personally know of no organization, that sucks millions of dollars out of the population for their cause, that practices in the protection of the Second Amendment without infringements. Why?

The Second Amendment seems front and center, one more time and one more time we read and hear from the Press and other anti-Second Amendment tyrants, about masses of American citizens eager to expand background checks in order that any person can exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Background checks is registration of guns. People kid themselves, much because they choose to have faith in this corrupt government and believe that when the U.S. Government carries out a background check, information about the person being checked, for gun purchase, is not shared…but it is stored. Therefore, it is a gun registration act. While the check may not contain the information about the gun, it does record that an individual purchased a gun. It will also track, each and every time a person buys a gun.

When argument is made that the requirement of a background check infringes upon a person’s constitutional right, this is most often rebutted by people who state that a background check does not prohibit a person from buying and owning a gun. While not completely true in making such a statement, what is never discussed is that it is not written and surely was not the intent of the Bill of Rights, that a person had to register with the state in order to be able to exercise a constitutional right. Doing so would be an utterly ridiculous idea. Wouldn’t it? Do we have to register to deliver a speech? Would you deem it acceptable to have to get a license to make sure your home isn’t unlawfully entered and searched by government? Would you find it okay to get a license to attend the church of your choice?

I repeat: Government requiring a background check is gun registration. It is at its simplest form an onus placed on the individual, in what must be done in order to exercise a right. That in and of itself can be argued as unconstitutional. This also applies to the act to get licensed/registered to carry a concealed weapon. Disguised as something promoting safety, the registration becomes necessary in order to exercise your Second Amendment right.

Michael Bloomberg, and his little fascists, have invaded the State of Maine, in order to get a referendum placed on a ballot that would implement a draconian law that would require background checks on any and all gun sales and transfers. It’s so absurd that being in someone’s house, let’s say while they were away on vacation, and the house had a gun(s) in it. Both the owner and you would be guilty of failing to get a background check before the “transfer” was made. Yeah, it’s ridiculous.

Background checks is another example of gun registration. Some argue that it will lead to gun registration. They fail to see that it already is a form of gun registration. What happens now when you go buy a new gun? It’s being registered. What happens now if you purchase ammunition and use your credit or debit card? You’ve just “registered” yourself as buying ammunition, which is necessary in order to fully exercise your Second Amendment right.

Yesterday, I spent a great deal of time reading and researching about this unconstitutional act to INFRINGE upon the rights of others. In my reading, I saw references made to Supreme Court rulings about the unconstitutionality of requiring some form of registration in order to exercise a right.

In Thomas v. Collins, 1945, Thomas traveled to Texas to deliver a speech before a group of people lawfully assembled to learn about forming a union. His duty was that only of speaking. Local officials presented Thomas with a restraining order that prohibited him to attend this function and deliver his speech. After consulting his attorney he went ahead and made his speech  but was charged with breaking the law because he did not obtain the proper “licenses” to recruit people to a union. The case found it’s way to the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

The majority opinion was delivered by Justice Rutledge. The appeal was based on what was believed to be an infringement upon his First Amendment Right of free speech. Justice Rutledge in part stated: “The restraint is not small when it is considered what was restrained. The right is a national right, federally guaranteed. There is some modicum of freedom of thought, speech and assembly which all citizens of the Republic may exercise throughout its length and breadth, which no State, nor all together, nor the Nation itself, can prohibit, restrain or impede. If the restraint were smaller than it is, it is from petty tyrannies that large ones take root and grow. This fact can be no more plain than when they are imposed on the most basic rights of all. Seedlings planted in that soil grow great and, growing, break down the foundations of liberty.”

The SCOTUS determined that it was unlawful to limit, through registration, freedom of speech in this case. The local regulations required those who assembled and conducted union forming business, obtain permits to do so. They did. It was believed that because Thomas was to speak to the assembled group, he could have his First Amendment rights restricted because he didn’t obtain a permit first.

You also cannot restrict a constitutional right based on what might happen. Can you?

We see a similar restriction of the First Amendment in Lamont v. Postmaster General, 1965. In this case, before the SCOTUS, the challenge came as the result of a postal requirement (law) that the post office would not deliver certain “unsealed” mail unless the recipient first “registered” to receive this mail. This was ruled by the court as a First Amendment infringement because it required a “registration” in order to exercise one’s First Amendment.

In Justice Douglas’ majority opinion, he states: “We conclude that the Act [the requirement to register in order to receive perceived unwanted mail] as construed and applied is unconstitutional because it requires an official act (viz., returning the reply card) as a limitation on the unfettered exercise of the addressee’s First Amendment rights.”

Something so simple as this and yet the Courts will seemingly go out of their way to protect at least the First Amendment while stripping the Second Amendment to shreds.

If readers can see beyond the end of their noses, they might find the third case an interesting one and an example of how any kind of gun registration can be self-incriminating (Fifth Amendment).

In Haynes v. United States, 1968, Haynes was charged with the violation of 26 U.S.C. 5851(part of the National Firearms Act) because he failed to register a weapon the state had determined to be undesirable, and wanting registration of such a weapon for the purpose of taxation. Haynes contended that the requirement to register his gun would violate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The majority opinion in this case, while having some issues with the National Firearms Act, found that: “We hold that a proper claim of the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination provides a full defense to prosecutions either for failure to register a firearm under 5841 or for possession of an unregistered firearm under 5851.”

The SCOTUS ruled that the requirement to register a firearm, the act of which would incriminate the registrant, was a violation of the Fifth Amendment.

All of these cases are complicated and full of extenuating circumstances. However, the broader issue here is the effort of the Courts to protect certain constitutional rights while infringing on others, namely the Second Amendment.

It would therefore seem to me, that background checks, being a form of registration, is forcing people to undergo a registration in order to exercise the right to keep and bear arms. According to these cases, and the context to which those decisions by the Supreme Court were made, makes gun registration unlawful.

Consider the context of the rulings. Simple events like registering with local authorities before delivering a speech, or returning a simple postal card letting the service know whether you wanted to receive questionable materials, where consider such grave infringements, they were done away with in order to protect First Amendment rights.

In the third case, we see where, because of ill-written guns laws, even though a gun may be in a person’s possession without being registered, the protection of the Fifth Amendment and a person’s protective right against self-incrimination, that right being more important than the registration of a gun.

Then why is it that we allow the continued infringements on the Second Amendment? Every time you and I or your neighbor, or the NRA or anybody else says, reasonable restrictions on buying and owning guns are necessary and responsible, we cannot see that these actions are an infringement and therefore is a destruction of the right.

We are not dealing with rational lawmakers and lawyers. Because of much complacency and a willingness of American’s to allow central government to infringe on our Second Amendment, current laws and policies that set precedence, in this day and age of corruption and total disregard of the constitution, become the rule of law. Although executive actions by a sitting president can be overturned, the precedent exists and therefore carries some kind of authority into the future.

We know the Press/Media/Journalists, etc. will fight tooth and nail to protect their First Amendment rights. They will use that right to infringe upon the Second Amendment.

It is, however, very clear that the Second Amendment is fair game for destruction. Those wishing to destroy it, offer no respect to those of us who find it extremely valuable – even to the value that it may be the last fortress that is protecting all the other rights.

I just wonder how these same mental midget, emotional Second Amendment destroyers will see things when their prized right is taken away from them? When it is, it will NOT be because I worked to destroy them.

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The Dust Settles Over Maine’s Bear Hunting Referendum

Three strikes and you’re out! Maine has now endured two onslaughts by radical animal rights groups and I don’t need a crystal ball to predict for me that “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.” There will be a third….at least of some sort.

Already we are beginning to hear the threats and promises of making another stab at ending the so-called “cruelty” to bears. Was the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) too greedy in going after a virtual end to bear hunting? Will they return, only this time attacking trapping and hounding? Incrementally destroying American Heritage is a popular thing. For whatever the reasons, HSUS thought they could win this time. They were wrong…..this time.

It will not end here. No more than it did the last time, 10 years ago. Outdoor sportsmen, writers, wildlife managers and politicians ran scared AND sat on their hands. This cannot happen again. We must show the radicals that we mean business and that referendums aimed at destroying normal and real scientific game management is a waste of time in Maine. How can we do this?

Let’s first look at what we did or didn’t do after the first round of radical, anti-hunting citizen’s initiative. We did nothing to discourage another referendum. We did everything we could to look scared of them. Those are the two biggest issues, and there are more.

When I say we did nothing, I mean there was no real attempts to write or rewrite laws to better protect the ability of the state to manage wildlife for the good of all and not the whims of radical minorities. I’m again suggesting a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to hunt, trap and fish.

Many of you might recall that just over one year ago, Rep. Kenneth Fredette sponsored an amendment posed as a “right to hunt” bill. I wrote about this back then explaining the amendment was incomplete. A right to hunt, trap and fish has no validity when it is not mandated by the same law that fish and game managers are required to manage game populations for surplus harvest. I’ve seen this in other states. With no legislative mandate to provide surplus harvest, wildlife agencies simply are managing their wildlife in numbers too low that any kind of harvest would be detrimental to the species. Because fish and game departments are often operating under “Post-Normal” management practices, they don’t want to see hunting, trapping and fishing.

Maine needs an amendment with teeth aimed at guaranteeing the PEOPLE not the special interest groups.

An amendment is not a sure way to stop referendums and lawsuits but it certainly does a lot to limit and discourage those who hate the rest of us.

Maine cannot afford to continue the same approach as before by always running scared fearing another lawsuit or another referendum. We have seen there has been no end to the lawsuits and no end to referendums. The approach has to be positive and with strength, presenting a management plan that sends the message that Maine will manage wildlife for all and that surplus harvest is the proven and desired method of population control, i.e. the North American Model. We have to let everyone know we are proud of our history in wildlife management and that we will do what we know is right. Lawsuits and referendums will continue but if Maine can show strength and strength in numbers perhaps outsiders will be a bit more discouraged to waste money trying to stop us.

This show of strength must begin in the governor’s office, as it did when Governor LePage got out front on the latest referendum opposing it. This must be done by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife commissioner following the lead of the governor.

To continue on with business as usual will not get the job done. Yes, Maine won another round, but when you consider the costs and resources to fight this effort, doesn’t it make sense to thwart it with strength and a strong message before any more lawsuits and referendums appear?

Congratulations to everyone who fought the fight against the radicals at HSUS, et. al. Let’s not get comfortable in our victory just yet. There is more work to be done; work that will make life in Maine the way it should be and provide all of us with more and better time to spend in the outdoors and not debating the rights and wrongs of outdoor sports. Now is the time while all this is fresh in our minds.

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