Texas Right-to-Hunt Bill Clears Senate

DALLAS – A bill offering constitutional protections for hunting and fishing in Texas has passed the state Senate by a vote of 27-3 – well above the two-thirds majority required for passage. DSC is toasting the landslide as a strong step toward ensuring Texans’ right to hunt and fish as the preferred method of managing and conserving wildlife.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives. A vote is expected within the next few weeks. A two-thirds majority vote in the House would place the question on the November ballot.

Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), who authored SJR 22, announced Senate passage shortly after the April 1 vote. The announcement explained:

“The ‘Right to Hunt & Fish’ proposed constitutional amendment does not affect the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s ability to collect hunting and fishing license fees and is strongly endorsed and supported by the National Rifle Association, Dallas Safari Club and over 60 sportsmen’s organizations representing 3.3 million avid outdoorsmen.”

Ben Carter, DSC executive director, added, “This measure protects hunting and fishing, but it’s more than that. Because hunters and anglers contribute more to conservation than any other group of Texans, this legislation also extends benefits to wildlife, wild places, aquatic habitats and species of all kinds — even those not pursued by hunters and anglers. Everyone who appreciates wildlife should be supportive.”

Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) introduced a companion measure, HJR 61, in the House.

Carter wrote a newspaper opinion-editorial about the economic and other benefits that could stem from Creighton and Ashby’s legislative efforts. The op-ed appeared in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Eighteen states have added similar versions of this amendment to their constitutions.

New Rules for Traveling with Firearms

U.S. hunters and sport shooters who travel abroad could be impacted by newly implemented rules on temporary export of firearms and ammunition.

DSC members first encountered and reported the change in mid-March.

Previously, an individual traveling internationally with a firearm was required to visit a Customs office and complete a Customs Form 4457. This process proved that the individual owned the firearm prior to going abroad. The form was presented upon return to the U.S., thus protecting the individual from paying import duties. In 2012, the State Department quietly changed the rule and is now, apparently, beginning to enforce it. Individuals now are required to declare firearms through an online process designed for use by businesses.

DSC is working with the National Rifle Association and other concerned groups to sort out the new procedures. More info is posted here.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015

Along with a large coalition of sporting and conservation organizations, DSC continues to actively support the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 (S. 405).

Introduced by Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), S. 405 is a package of measures that will expand, enhance and protect America’s hunting, fishing and conservation heritage.

In mid-March, committees heard supportive testimony from Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane, as well as opposition from Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne Pacelle.

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