Alright, this is a back-to-the-future forward for the article. After going back and reading it, I found myself using a fair bit of sarcasm and condescension towards those who believe Hunting and the Second Amendment are related in a way that limits the rights of gun-owners. If you believe this, I apologize for this tone, though I have no intention of editing my words as the core principles ring true. Read on, as we delve into exactly what the Second Amendment actually means, and how it relates to hunting - or doesn’t.
Guns, Tyrants, Bears, Oh My.
Something mankind has literally always done. It has been used as a means for survival, animal population control, sport, enjoyment, and numerous other reasons.
The Right to Bear Arms.
Something that mankind has… selectively had access to throughout history. When allowed freely within a society, it has enabled communities to live safe, prosperous, happy lives. When taken away, it has resulted in the government-sponsored murder of tens of millions of people throughout recorded history.
Do these two topics go hand-in-hand? Is America’s view on the right to bear arms interconnected with hunting animals? Why do politicians so often attack the right to own specific firearms, using the justification that you don’t “need Gun X or Weapon Y” for hunting?
An Overview of Hunting in the United States
The United States, as well as the continent it resides on, possesses a rich and fascinating history of animal hunting, far preceding the colonial era, when Native American tribes relied on hunting for sustenance, clothing, tools, and personal connections with the land. Early European settlers also engaged in hunting for survival-oriented purposes as they attempted to establish communities along the Atlantic Coastline. As the United States developed, hunting continued to play a crucial role in the livelihood of many communities, as it continues to today.
As the population grew, however, the risk of overhunting certain species became a legitimate concern, leading to the near-extinction of a number of animals. This is bad, because indigenous animal populations serve to regulate each other much more efficiently than government can. Native Idaho wolves, for example, were hunted and poisoned to borderline extinction back in the day, resulting in the decision to release British Columbian-based wolves with the intention of “reintroducing” the presence of wolves back into Idaho. To this day, these outsider wolves continue to ravage and decimate elk, deer, and cattle populations, because they are virtually entirely different animals from the original Idaho wolves with different habits, patterns, and appetites.
Pro-Tip: Need to regulate animal populations? Leave it to people who actually know what they’re doing. Generally, that doesn’t mean a pencil pusher on the opposite side of the country.
Figures like Theodore Roosevelt played key roles in establishing national parks and wildlife refuges to preserve natural habitats for various species in the United States. The early 20th century saw the establishment of state and federal wildlife management agencies to regulate hunting and conservation efforts. Today, state and federal agencies implement hunting regulations - including bag limits, hunting seasons, and licensing requirements - all aimed to ensure sustainable wildlife populations and prevent overharvesting. Conservation organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, work to protect habitats and promote responsible hunting, and are able to work in much more efficient manners where the government may be hindered by red tape or, well… incompetence.
And apparently, the current administration seeks to further protect various species by equipping them with body armor and kevlar vests.
That’s a joke. Mostly.
Whether hunting remains an essential element for survival to the ever-increasing populations of Americans in the way it used to be may be up for debate, but the notion that hunting is “unethical” or “impractical” in a modern society where meat is readily available at the grocery store is objectively incorrect. For just over $30, I can purchase an Elk tag here in Idaho, harvest an elk and feed my family with over 200 pounds of meat. Imagine trying to purchase 200 pounds of any type of meat at the grocery store for $30 - let alone elk. In that process, I’ve also likely gotten some cardio and strength training in, killed an animal in one of the most ethical manners possible, and did my part in keeping the local wildlife population in check. And yes - hunting very much allows animal populations to remain balanced through the years.
Hunting and the Foundation of the Constitution
We’ve spoken about the necessity of hunting, but that’s not what this article is about. Let’s go back to the Revolutionary days, when the framework for this nation was being developed. What kinds of thoughts do you believe were going through the heads of the Founding Fathers? We obviously have a fair bit of insight into this through letters, journals, and the Constitution itself - but to you, the reader, personally, what types of thoughts do you believe they were thinking as they wrote them? I’d wager it’s safe to say that they were thinking about the mistakes the British government and other overly-authoritarian nations of old had made, and wanted to craft their own framework around making sure those types of things did not repeat themselves in this brand new, shiny nation.
With that in mind, ask yourself this: Do you actually believe the Founding Fathers were thinking about deer hunting when the Second Amendment was penned?
Hopefully, I don’t need to answer that.
And yet, how many times have you heard a politician today target the Second Amendment with statements like, “Nobody needs an AR-15 to hunt deer!” or “How many deer are wearing a Kevlar vest, you know?” Ideally, this helps you realize how outright stupid statements like these truly are.
CAN you hunt with an AR? Of course. You can hunt with all sorts of weapons. The Second Amendment isn’t about weapon selection for animal hunting. (Photo: MeatEater)
The Founding Fathers varied as far as personal interest in hunting went at that time. Some of these men were frequent hunters, either for sport or to provide for their families and friends. Some of them had rarely (if ever) shot a firearm in their lives. Consequently, it should go without saying that these individuals were probably not just two amendments into the Bill of Rights thinking to themselves, “You know what? The people should have access to firearms for hunting animals - that is one of the most important freedoms they should have.” See, I’d wager it has much more to do with, oh I don’t know… being necessary to the security of a free State.
Sorry, I’ll cut the sarcastic tone.
The Second Amendment and Hunting today
Alright, let’s be perfectly clear: The 2nd amendment had - and has - absolutely nothing to do with hunting animals. The types of guns you own and why you own them is your business, and your business only. That of course applies to body armor and tactical gear.
The 2nd Amendment was never intended to “give” the right to bear arms to the people, for any reason, let alone hunting. In fact, it was not directed to the “people” at all - it was directed to the future government, as a warning. Amendments in general are not a “we the federal government give the people permission to do this” type of thing. They are a “this is an inalienable right, one which the government does NOT have permission to interfere with or infringe upon, and we are making sure everyone - including our future leaders - knows that.”
Great job we’ve all done protecting that right these days, eh?
Are you even an American if you don’t find yourself identifying with Ron Swanson from time to time? This is definitely one of those times.
And now… we have today’s society. One where people have spent so many years in a state of perceived security and safety, but hearing on the news that someone down the road is not in that same state of safety, and so the answer is clearly to transfer more control to the federal government and relinquish their own rights, including firearms that never had - and never would - harm another human being. It’s the truth: Guns do not kill people. They are inanimate objects incapable of making decisions or having thoughts. People kill people, with or without guns. Good people giving up their guns for the sake of “safety” is one of the most ridiculous things you could do to save lives, and statistically does absolutely nothing to prevent deaths from gun violence.
You want to save lives? Focus on where lives are being taken. Heart disease. Vehicle collisions. Suicide. Heck, even fists, knives, or blunt objects. But don’t go and tell me that because AR-15s take around 300 lives each year, that is the the #1 priority and focal point with regards to saving lives - and then double down on this stupidity by implying that no one “needs” an AR for hunting anyway, as if hunting is the reason the Second Amendment was written. Regardless of the numerous bogus interpretations I hear on a weekly basis of what a “well-regulated militia” does or does not mean within the context of the Second Amendment, anyone with more than two brain cells (or a desire to control others) knows exactly what “hunting” has to do with the Second Amendment.
If a political puppet is incapable of defining “assault weapon” yet calls from the tops of the mountains for a ban on them… you might start to think they have ulterior motives.
Most gun-grabbing politicians understand this perfectly well. And that is why you should be skeptical. If they’re willing to knowingly lie and exaggerate one topic to emotionally sway the masses, what else are they lying about?
Of course, that’s a can of worms for another day.
Wrapping things up
Whew. I should probably throw a disclaimer at the top for the amount of sarcasm and condescension in this article. I usually don’t like to go that route and feel bad when I do, until I have the displeasure of hearing something ridiculous on the news and just shake my head at the lies being bought by everyday people on every side of the political spectrum.
So, I’ll keep this short. Friends, family, and strangers: Please do not give up your right to protect yourself. Please do not give up your children’s and their children’s rights to protect themselves in favor of a stronger central government. It may seem appealing now, I know how persuasive the people at the top can be. But no matter how appealing or convincing their arguments are, even if you genuinely respect those individuals at the top, ask yourself if you can confidently say you have faith in the leader after them, and the leader after them, and after them, to not abuse the additional power you’ve given them out of a hollow promise for short-term safety that will never be fulfilled.
Because at the end of the day, no one is truly “anti-gun” - you simply believe that either the people or the government deserve to have more power over the other.
Pick your side. The ghost of millions of disarmed souls, murdered by government bodies, are watching. I invite you to ask them how much “government safety” matters to them.