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New York Packet
Friday, March 14, 1788
To the People of the State of New York:
I PROCEED now to trace the real characters of the proposed Executive, as they are marked out in the plan of the convention. This will serve to place in a strong light the unfairness of the representations which have been made in regard to it.
The first thing which strikes our attention is, that the executive authority, with few exceptions, is to be vested in a single magistrate. This will scarcely, however, be considered as a point upon which any comparison can be grounded; for if, in this particular, there be a resemblance to the king of Great Britain, there is not less a resemblance to the Grand Seignior, to the khan of Tartary, to the Man of the Seven Mountains, or to the governor of New York.
That magistrate is to be elected for four years; and is to be re-eligible as often as the people of the United States shall think him worthy of their confidence. In these circumstances there is a total dissimilitude between him and a king of Great Britain, who is an hereditary monarch, possessing the crown as a patrimony descendible to his heirs forever; but there is a close analogy between him and a governor of New York, who is elected for three years, and is re-eligible without limitation or intermission. If we consider how much less time would be requisite for establishing a dangerous influence in a single State, than for establishing a like influence throughout the United States, we must conclude that a duration of four years for the Chief Magistrate of the Union is a degree of permanency far less to be dreaded in that office, than a duration of three years for a corresponding office in a single State.
The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution. In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility, the President of Confederated America would stand upon no better ground than a governor of New York, and upon worse ground than the governors of Maryland and Delaware.
The President of the United States is to have power to return a bill, which shall have passed the two branches of the legislature, for reconsideration; and the bill so returned is to become a law, if, upon that reconsideration, it be approved by two thirds of both houses. The king of Great Britain, on his part, has an absolute negative upon the acts of the two houses of Parliament. The disuse of that power for a considerable time past does not affect the reality of its existence; and is to be ascribed wholly to the crown's having found the means of substituting influence to authority, or the art of gaining a majority in one or the other of the two houses, to the necessity of exerting a prerogative which could seldom be exerted without hazarding some degree of national agitation. The qualified negative of the President differs widely from this absolute negative of the British sovereign; and tallies exactly with the revisionary authority of the council of revision of this State, of which the governor is a constituent part. In this respect the power of the President would exceed that of the governor of New York, because the former would possess, singly, what the latter shares with the chancellor and judges; but it would be precisely the same with that of the governor of Massachusetts, whose constitution, as to this article, seems to have been the original from which the convention have copied.
The President is to be the "commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States. He is to have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment; to recommend to the consideration of Congress such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; to convene, on extraordinary occasions, both houses of the legislature, or either of them, and, in case of disagreement between them with respect to the time of adjournment, to adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; to take care that the laws be faithfully executed; and to commission all officers of the United States." In most of these particulars, the power of the President will resemble equally that of the king of Great Britain and of the governor of New York. The most material points of difference are these: -- First. The President will have only the occasional command of such part of the militia of the nation as by legislative provision may be called into the actual service of the Union. The king of Great Britain and the governor of New York have at all times the entire command of all the militia within their several jurisdictions. In this article, therefore, the power of the President would be inferior to that of either the monarch or the governor. Second. The President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies -- all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.1 The governor of New York, on the other hand, is by the constitution of the State vested only with the command of its militia and navy. But the constitutions of several of the States expressly declare their governors to be commanders-in-chief, as well of the army as navy; and it may well be a question, whether those of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in particular, do not, in this instance, confer larger powers upon their respective governors, than could be claimed by a President of the United States. Third. The power of the President, in respect to pardons, would extend to all cases, except those of impeachment. The governor of New York may pardon in all cases, even in those of impeachment, except for treason and murder. Is not the power of the governor, in this article, on a calculation of political consequences, greater than that of the President? All conspiracies and plots against the government, which have not been matured into actual treason, may be screened from punishment of every kind, by the interposition of the prerogative of pardoning. If a governor of New York, therefore, should be at the head of any such conspiracy, until the design had been ripened into actual hostility he could insure his accomplices and adherents an entire impunity. A President of the Union, on the other hand, though he may even pardon treason, when prosecuted in the ordinary course of law, could shelter no offender, in any degree, from the effects of impeachment and conviction. Would not the prospect of a total indemnity for all the preliminary steps be a greater temptation to undertake and persevere in an enterprise against the public liberty, than the mere prospect of an exemption from death and confiscation, if the final execution of the design, upon an actual appeal to arms, should miscarry? Would this last expectation have any influence at all, when the probability was computed, that the person who was to afford that exemption might himself be involved in the consequences of the measure, and might be incapacitated by his agency in it from affording the desired impunity? The better to judge of this matter, it will be necessary to recollect, that, by the proposed Constitution, the offense of treason is limited "to levying war upon the United States, and adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort"; and that by the laws of New York it is confined within similar bounds. Fourth. The President can only adjourn the national legislature in the single case of disagreement about the time of adjournment. The British monarch may prorogue or even dissolve the Parliament. The governor of New York may also prorogue the legislature of this State for a limited time; a power which, in certain situations, may be employed to very important purposes.
The President is to have power, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the senators present concur. The king of Great Britain is the sole and absolute representative of the nation in all foreign transactions. He can of his own accord make treaties of peace, commerce, alliance, and of every other description. It has been insinuated, that his authority in this respect is not conclusive, and that his conventions with foreign powers are subject to the revision, and stand in need of the ratification, of Parliament. But I believe this doctrine was never heard of, until it was broached upon the present occasion. Every jurist2 of that kingdom, and every other man acquainted with its Constitution, knows, as an established fact, that the prerogative of making treaties exists in the crown in its utomst plentitude; and that the compacts entered into by the royal authority have the most complete legal validity and perfection, independent of any other sanction. The Parliament, it is true, is sometimes seen employing itself in altering the existing laws to conform them to the stipulations in a new treaty; and this may have possibly given birth to the imagination, that its co-operation was necessary to the obligatory efficacy of the treaty. But this parliamentary interposition proceeds from a different cause: from the necessity of adjusting a most artificial and intricate system of revenue and commercial laws, to the changes made in them by the operation of the treaty; and of adapting new provisions and precautions to the new state of things, to keep the machine from running into disorder. In this respect, therefore, there is no comparison between the intended power of the President and the actual power of the British sovereign. The one can perform alone what the other can do only with the concurrence of a branch of the legislature. It must be admitted, that, in this instance, the power of the federal Executive would exceed that of any State Executive. But this arises naturally from the sovereign power which relates to treaties. If the Confederacy were to be dissolved, it would become a question, whether the Executives of the several States were not solely invested with that delicate and important prerogative.
The President is also to be authorized to receive ambassadors and other public ministers. This, though it has been a rich theme of declamation, is more a matter of dignity than of authority. It is a circumstance which will be without consequence in the administration of the government; and it was far more convenient that it should be arranged in this manner, than that there should be a necessity of convening the legislature, or one of its branches, upon every arrival of a foreign minister, though it were merely to take the place of a departed predecessor.
The President is to nominate, and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint ambassadors and other public ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, and in general all officers of the United States established by law, and whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by the Constitution. The king of Great Britain is emphatically and truly styled the fountain of honor. He not only appoints to all offices, but can create offices. He can confer titles of nobility at pleasure; and has the disposal of an immense number of church preferments. There is evidently a great inferiority in the power of the President, in this particular, to that of the British king; nor is it equal to that of the governor of New York, if we are to interpret the meaning of the constitution of the State by the practice which has obtained under it. The power of appointment is with us lodged in a council, composed of the governor and four members of the Senate, chosen by the Assembly. The governor claims, and has frequently exercised, the right of nomination, and is entitled to a casting vote in the appointment. If he really has the right of nominating, his authority is in this respect equal to that of the President, and exceeds it in the article of the casting vote. In the national government, if the Senate should be divided, no appointment could be made; in the government of New York, if the council should be divided, the governor can turn the scale, and confirm his own nomination.3 If we compare the publicity which must necessarily attend the mode of appointment by the President and an entire branch of the national legislature, with the privacy in the mode of appointment by the governor of New York, closeted in a secret apartment with at most four, and frequently with only two persons; and if we at the same time consider how much more easy it must be to influence the small number of which a council of appointment consists, than the considerable number of which the national Senate would consist, we cannot hesitate to pronounce that the power of the chief magistrate of this State, in the disposition of offices, must, in practice, be greatly superior to that of the Chief Magistrate of the Union.
Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast in this respect still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer group.
The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and hereditary prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an absolute negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of declaring war, and of raising and regulating fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the sole possessor of the power of making treaties. The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever; the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies. The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation; the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin. The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other? The same that ought to be given to those who tell us that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.
1. A writer in a Pennsylvania paper, under the signature of TAMONY, has asserted that the king of Great Britain oweshis prerogative as commander-in-chief to an annual mutiny bill. The truth is, on the contrary, that his prerogative, in this respect, is immenmorial, and was only disputed, "contrary to all reason and precedent," as Blackstone vol. i., page 262, expresses it, by the Long Parliament of Charles I. but by the statute the 13th of Charles II., chap. 6, it was declared to be in the king alone, for that the sole supreme government and command of the militia within his Majesty's realms and dominions, and of all forces by sea and land, and of all forts and places of strength, EVER WAS AND IS the undoubted right of his Majesty and his royal predecessors, kings and queens of England, and that both or either house of Parliament cannot nor ought to pretend to the same.
3. Candor, however, demands an acknowledgment that I do not think the claim of the governor to a right of nomination well founded. Yet it is always justifiable to reason from the practice of a government, till its propriety has been constitutionally questioned. And independent of this claim, when we take into view the other considerations, and pursue them through all their consequences, we shall be inclined to draw much the same conclusion.
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By Kevin D. Williamson — March 17, 2016http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432899/merrick-garland-moderate-activist-too-activist-constitution
Merrick Garland, the appellate judge whom President Barack Obama has nominated to the Supreme Court, is a “moderate.” Of that we are assured by all the best people writing in all the usual venues: USA Today, Politico, the Los Angeles Times.
A moderate what?
The question may be in this instance a purely intellectual one. Garland could be the second coming of Solomon, and Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues would be looking to leave him locked up in the Senate basement until after the presidential elections, after which President Cruz might choose a better candidate; President Clinton, a much worse one (which would probably result in the lame-duck Senate working to confirm Garland); or President Trump, the devil knows what. The immediate case against advancing Garland’s nomination has nothing to do with Garland and everything to do with the Senate rousing itself to do its constitutional duty and check President Obama’s executive imperialism with such tools as it has at its disposal.
Carrie Severino and others have argued here that Garland is no judicial moderate, that he is a quiet left-wing activist well disposed to political efforts to undermine the Second Amendment. On that question, I defer judgment to our experts. But there is another question we ought to consider, which is whether there is any such thing as a judicial moderate.
If the expanse of your political imagination is roughly the dimensions of the New York Times, that may seem an absurd question. We hear all the time about “moderates” and “extremists” in the nation’s courts. A great deal of huffing and puffing, which no doubt dishevels the pages of a nearby copy of The Economist, insists upon the virtue and the needfulness of such moderation.
But the fundamental question that we must ask about Supreme Court nominees — all nominees to all benches, in fact — is not one of degree, which is the sort of question that the criterion of “moderateness” would apply. Instead, it is an either/or question: Does the law say what it means and mean what it says, or are judges empowered to graft private notions of justice from their own souls onto the law and the Constitution?
Antonin Scalia understood that this was a yes-or-no proposition, and they hated him for it.
It is a testament to the corruption of the Supreme Court that there is never any question about how any of the so-called liberals on the Court — who are anything but liberal — will vote on any given question. Elena Kagan swore up and down during her confirmation hearings that there was no constitutional right to gay marriage — it was the usual exercise in Democratic taqiyya. But no serious person ever doubted for a second that she would discover one lurking in the penumbras the second she had a lifetime appointment and the power to substitute her own will for the content of the Constitution.
A judge isn’t a little bit of an activist any more than a person suffers from a little bit of cancer. Activism is activism, and cancer is cancer. There are better and worse cancers to have, to be sure, but you either have cancer or you don’t. Which is not to say that there will not be honest disagreements among justices about the meaning of a particular constitutional provision or how a statute should be construed. But the party-line character of the Supreme Court shows us the institution’s true nature: It is, effectively, a super-legislature, not a court. That the party-line character is lopsided, with a few conservatives still using Scalia’s Stupid But Constitutional stamp while the so-called liberals operate as a unit, is of course relevant; but the attention that is paid to the ratio of progressives to conservatives on the Court fails to account for the fact that this should not matter.
It should not matter — if the law were the law. If the law is whatever our black-robed secular clerics say it is, then it does matter what sort of political views justices hold. And if it matters what sort of political views justices hold, then the Supreme Court is not a court, but something else.
Conservatives should not accept an extreme left-wing judicial activist. They should not accept an extreme right-wing judicial activist, if there were such a thing. They should not accept a moderate judicial activist, for the same reason that they would not shoot themselves in the foot with a firearm of moderate caliber. Litmus tests may be in bad odor with our self-proclaimed sophisticates, but here one is very much in order: The law is the law is the law, and it isn’t anything else. Those who believe otherwise do not belong on the Supreme Court any more than moderate phrenologists belong on medical-school faculties or moderate foxes should be assigned guard duty at the henhouse.
If the best that can be said of Garland is that he would do only moderate violence to the Constitution, then that is a complete and whole case against confirming him, or even considering his confirmation.— Kevin D. Williamson is National Review’s roving correspondent.
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Earlier this year, ATF rule 41F was entered into the Federal Register, which significantly changes the transfer of items regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) and, perhaps most importantly, several things regarding suppressors.
Rule 41F, which will take effect July 13, is determined to shake things up, but it’s not all bad news. In fact, one of the most significant changes to celebrate with the new rule is the removal of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) sign-off on NFA applications. Previously, applicants for NFA items (suppressors, short-barreled rifles, fully automatic firearms, etc.) were required to obtain a certification from a CLEO. This, many gun owners and advocates argued, allowed officials to arbitrarily deny Americans from owning NFA items.
Now, the new rule only mandates applicants to notify CLEO’s instead.
“For the first time in 82 years, local law enforcement will no longer have de facto veto power over any NFA applications,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association. “While their inclusion in the process made sense in 1934, before background checks, or even computers existed, the removal of this antiquated measure from the NFA process is a major victory for the suppressor and NFA communities.”
Rule 41F is not all rainbows and cherries, however; it does include several frustrating changes that could impact you. For example, the ATF itself estimates that NFA wait times could double once the rule change goes into effect. This is due mostly to the rule change around fingerprinting for trusts and corporations. Yes, two fingerprint cards, as well as a passport photo of each person listed on a trust, are going to be required going forward after July 13, 2016 each time you want to purchase a NFA item under the Trust.
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For several reasons I felt compelled to read Joe Bell’s article, Thoughts on Fair-Chase Bowhunting, http://pope-young.org/comm/article_details.asp?uid=F95B5128-3B16-4239-8FD0-A23EED172325I aspire to be a student and practitioner of Fair Chase and ethical hunting. I write, lecture and consult on hunting and shooting ethics; and, coincidentally, I am learning to shoot and hunt with a crossbow. Given the article’s title and the prestige of the Pope and Young Club, I figured I could learn something about how bow hunting relates to Fair Chase. I share my thoughts about Mr. Bell’s article and my respectful disagreement with his arguments and conclusions.
I cannot divine Mr. Bell’s mind and soul but I can study the words he actually wrote and what he did not write and then draw conclusions from them. His title includes the phrase Fair Chase, which is a noble concept. I looked forward to seeing how Mr. Bell discussed it. The Pope and Young website has a definition of Fair Chase: http://pope-young.org/fairchase/default.aspThe definition is curious because it defines what Fair Chase is not rather than what it is. Example: “The term “Fair Chase” shall not include the taking of animals under the following conditions:…..” The definition ends with the even more curious and vague rule: “Any other condition considered by the Board of Directors as unacceptable.” Not much guidance there.
Mr. Bell begins his statement with definitions of three of his most important terms: he defines a “bow” and an “archer” and a “bowhunter.” These terms are the foundation for his arguments and conclusions.
“To begin with, the Club defines a bow as a hand-held, hand-drawn device, in which you pull the bowstring back using your body's strength. This is where the energy comes from to propel the arrow forward. We believe anyone that uses such a tool is an archer and therefore a bowhunter when pursuing game.”
Mr. Bell writes: “This is why the Pope and Young Club does not accept a crossbow as a real archery tool. For this reason, we are against them for use in archery-only hunting seasons.”
On the surface, Mr. Bell gives the appearance of weaving Fair Chase principles and ethics into his arguments. His motive is obvious: his arguments and conclusions will gain credibility and moral justification if he can successfully draw upon Fair Chase and ethics to support them. However, Mr. Bell does not show why Fair Chase principles or ethics supports his definitions. He just says so.
Mr. Bell writes: “But lines must be drawn, and the "bow" is a great place to make it clear cut. Again, it must be hand held, hand drawn, so your body takes up the power of the bow's force in order to propel the arrow forward.” He doesn’t say why a line must be drawn. He doesn’t explain why, based on ethics and Fair Chase, anyone would care or should care if a line is drawn. He does not provide an explanation based on ethics as to why a line must be drawn. Again, he just says so.
Mr. Bell’s policy recommendation is limited: “Are we against the person using the crossbow? No, absolutely not. This is foolishness. We are simply against the "tool" for use during archery-designated seasons.”
Does Mr. Bell make a case based on ethics and Fair Chase principles for restricting the crossbow? I don’t think so.
Mr. Bell doesn’t offer evidence or show which Fair Chase principles support his conclusion that it is more ethical to ban crossbow hunting from archery-designated seasons. Mr. Bell simply says it is so. More specifically, Mr. Bell offers no evidence that the “hand-held” bow is in any way more ethical or more consistent with Fair Chase principles than the crossbow.
No references are made to arrow speed, accuracy, range, power or other variables that might provide an ethical basis for distinguishing crossbows from hand-held ones. Mr. Bell has a bias against crossbows, which is fine, although he writes that the use of any kind of bow is up to the subjective sense of the individual hunter. But his bias is not supported by facts or ethics or Fair Chase principles.
Mr. Bell writes: “This is why the Pope and Young Club does not accept a crossbow as a real archery tool.” Okay, fine. He is entitled to his opinion; but he is not entitled to make up or ignore facts or twist the meaning of Fair Chase or ethics to support his opinion. Mr. Bell’s subjective definition of a ‘real archery tool’ has nothing to do with Fair Chase or ethics, and, in fact, he doesn’t try to show that it does.
Mr. Bell has a bias against crossbows “Because it severs the line between what is archery and what is not.” It is easy, of course, for Mr. Bell to reach his conclusion because he defined the terms of bow and archer in such a way that no other conclusion is possible. His conclusion is not grounded in ethics but in manipulating definitions.
Mr. Bell wants the moral authority gained by saying his arguments are supported by the Fair Chase doctrine but he never shows how any of its principles apply to any of his arguments or definitions. He simply writes Fair Chase as if the words alone stops all debate. He does not show why or how a vertical bow is consistent with Fair Chase and a crossbow is not. By itself, whether an animal is taken with a hand held bow or with a slice of month-old pizza has nothing to do with Fair Chase.
I try to understand and do justice to Bell’s arguments and then write accurately about my understanding. To do otherwise would be unethical, as if I, as a lawyer, misstated to a judge the facts or holding of a legal case. It may well be that, in Mr. Bell’s words, “it’s the practice of Fair Chase and high-ethical standards that keeps all Pope and Young Club members branded as one.” But he doesn’t show how ‘real archers’ advance these goals better than crossbow hunters.
Primitive-Like and Legacy
Another part of Mr. Bell’s bias against crossbows is that they are not ‘primitive-like.’ He writes: “we owe it to them and our sport to protect this legacy, which is to keep the sport primitive-like and as challenging as possible...to keep bowhunting a full-body shooting engagement.”
Several issues leap out. First, ‘primitive-like’ is a suspiciously flexible term that defies precise meaning. Thus, like tofu, you can make ‘primitive-like’ into anything you want. Second, defining the modern compound bow as primitive-like defies reason. Made of space-age materials such as carbon, titanium and specialized steel alloys, deriving great mechanical advantages from pulley systems, boasting luminous sight sticks, range finders and release triggers and machined to stunning tolerances, these bows are marvels of modern technology and precision. They are as primitive as a Porsche.
Third, Mr. Bell’s reference to ‘legacy’ is unhelpful. Legacy is a morally neutral concept. Some legacies are good; some not so terrific. Slavery comes to mind. Mr. Bell limits legacy to one factor: the mechanical action of how a string is drawn. Again, fine, but he fails to show how such a legacy in any manner advances Fair Chase and ethical hunting. Appealing to legacy without explaining why the legacy is virtuous is not a persuasive argument. Moreover, I would bet a substantial sum that the animal cares not a whit how the arrow was released.
When evaluating Mr. Bell’s arguments, another factor deserves attention. I have volunteered on hunts with many severely disabled persons and persons not disabled but afflicted with upper-body injuries. They cannot draw a compound bow. They might be able to shoot a crossbow. Is Mr. Bell going to look into the eyes, for example, of the fourteen-year old I accompanied on a pronghorn hunt (rifle hunt) last year, a boy with no legs and two withered arms, and lecture to him that he can never be worthy of the title ‘archer’ or ‘bowhunter’? That he can never hunt according to Fair Chase principles because, at best, he can only use a crossbow? I hope not. But if so, the key question is: what benefit is derived from that argument?
Why Are We Dividing Ourselves?
I read and re-read Mr. Bell’s article, and several questions kept haunting me. Why did he write it? What was he trying accomplish that deserved to be accomplished? Why start the equivalent of an Animal House movie cafeteria food fight among hunters using different bow platforms for the trivial goal of eliminating some of them from the archery-designated season?
Hunters of every platform face real problems, problems that threaten every kind of hunting. We live in perilous times. If interest rates creep up, if the welfare state continues to consume the economy like a metastasizing cancer, if the economy contracts a little, the billions of dollars for hunting and conservation raised through Pittman-Robinson taxes will dissipate like smoke from a campfire. When photos appear showing an animal with an arrow through its head or neck, thereby creating the equivalent of Cecil the Elk or Bear or Deer or whatever, the Great White shark of viral social media won’t distinguish how bows were held or how the arrow was drawn. When hunting is ended and the animals are dead from starvation and poaching and so forth, it really won’t matter which bow platform you liked and disliked.
Much of the world has gone insane, and viciously insane, feasting on reptilian predatory opportunism. Turning bowhunters against each other strikes me as self-destructive and void of logic and reason. I’d much prefer we hunters focus on meaningful issues. Let us develop strategies for fighting anti-hunters that buzz drones over the animals and who on social media threaten injury and death to hunters and their families.
Let us absorb the fact that we are one Supreme Court Justice away from perhaps losing the individual right to own or possess a firearm. “What’s that got to do with me?” some bowhunters might ask. Well, consider that Scotland is now enforcing its Air Weapons and Licensing Act, https://www.nraila.org/articles/20160304/scotland-sets-july-deadline-for-airgun-licensing
requiring registration and permits to possess an airgun. Is there any rational basis to believe this could not happen to bows?
I never met Joe Bell. Pope and Young is an honorable organization. I believe Mr. Bell is passionately dedicated to preserving and advancing bow hunting. But, in this instance, whatever compels him, he allowed passion to dominate reason, and generally nothing good comes from such a dynamic. I conclude Mr. Bell did not make his case. He did not persuade that the crossbow restrictions are justified by Fair Chase or ethics. We cannot afford to fracture the hunting population, bow hunting included. The stakes are too high. We need to pull together, not create division, especially when there is no moral or factual reason to divide us.
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Daniel Xu +
Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism recently made its stance on hunting very clear when it announced that it officially opposed any kind of hunting ban in the country. Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said that about 5,000 hunters visit the country annually. These hunters are instrumental in providing the necessary funds to protect conserved land such as game reserves, national parks, and communal conservancies. It is estimated that about 44 percent of Namibia’s total land area is made up of land under some form of conservation.
“Since Independence, Namibia has adopted legislations and policies aimed at promoting wildlife as a sustainable form of land use,” Shifeta told the . “As a result of such efforts the wildlife populations have increased drastically and distribution range has expanded inside and outside national parks. Innovative policies and legislations underpin the conservation of wildlife in Namibia.”
There has been a recent upswing in calls for hunting bans in African nations. This became especially noticeable after the killing of Cecil, a famous black-maned lion in Zimbabwe, by American hunter Walter Palmer. Although the Zimbabwe government later cleared Palmer of all charges, the controversy generated by the hunt was enough to cause to ban the transport of hunting trophies. Activists also urged government officials across Africa to close their borders to hunters.
However, officials say that these activists fail to acknowledge the beneficial impact that hunters can have. Visiting hunters not only provide a economic impact, but they also provide the much-needed funds to manage national parks, pay wardens’ wages, and to protect the very animals they hunt.
Last month, one of Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife reserves announced that it is seeking to up to 200 lions after a decline in hunters. As the park is in the same country where Cecil was harvested, it generated some discussion on not only the long-term benefits of having hunters, but short-term benefits as well. Benefits such as managing game animals. For reserves like the Bubye Valley Conservancy, culling animals with hired sharpshooters or wardens would mean the loss of funds. Funds that could go towards maintaining the reserve or protecting the lions from poachers. In the end, the reserve clarified that it will mostly likely donate the lions to another reserve, but is having difficulty finding homes for all its surplus lions.
“I wish we could give about 200 of our lions away to ease the overpopulation,” Blondie Leathem, the conservancy’s general manager, told the . “If anyone knows of a suitable habitat for them where they will not land up in human conflict, or in wildlife areas where they will not be beaten up because of existing prides, please let us know and help us raise the money to move them.”
Historically, the lion population in the reserve was managed partially by hunters, many of which stopped coming to Zimbabwe following the Cecil controversy. Namibia’s hunting industry has also experienced controversy of its own. In 2014, American hunter Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for a rare permit to hunt black rhinos. The Namibian government offers five black rhino hunts each year, and they are generally regarded as among the world’s rarest hunting opportunities. Funds raised from the rhino hunts not only go back into rhino conservation, but overflow into other projects as well.
“Cabinet directed the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to actively campaign against any attempt to ban or restrict hunting and the export of wildlife products from Namibia,” Tweya said.
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In the spirit of Steve Hayward’s occasional blasts from the past, I offer these words that have been going around in my head over the past week:
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.