In the state of Pennsylvania, there is a ban on many forms of hunting on Sundays and a group of hunters are now challenging that law in federal court. They argue that the law violates the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution as well as the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Hunters United for Sunday Hunting, a Lancaster County-based sportsmen’s group, has filed suit in U.S. Middle District Court in Harrisburg, seeking to have the ban voided on grounds that it is unconstitutional….
HUSH contends that the long-standing Sunday hunting ban violates federal and state protections of the right to bear arms and freedom of religion. Also, the group is claiming that the ban illegally creates two classes of hunters – the few who can hunt on Sundays by special provision and the vast majority who cannot.
And since the state’s so-called Blue Laws that once barred most businesses from operating on Sundays were abolished years ago, there is no longer any rationale for the hunting ban to continue, HUSH contends in its suit…
The ban, which dates back decades, bars most hunting for large and small game on Sundays. However, feral swine, crows, foxes and coyotes may be hunted on Sundays, and farmers may kill deer and elk at any time on their own land if the animals are damaging their crops or property.
I’m a bit bothered by the claims in regard to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That law forbids the government from placing an “undue burden” on a person’s religious freedom without demonstrating that it is using the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling state interest. But why is religion singled out for such treatment? An atheist hunter who wants to hunt on Sundays has no grounds under this law to bring such a suit because non-religious motivations are considered less important than religious ones under RFRA. But they should win this suit on other grounds. You can read the complaint here.