Safari Club International’s mission is to protect the freedom to hunt and to promote wildlife conservation worldwide. The operative word about hunting in that mission is “freedom.” This includes the equipment needed to exercise that freedom.
With that in mind, our battles against anti-hunters have been augmented tremendously by a misguided social reaction to the school shooting in Florida recently.
I have kids of the same age and as a parent I am horror-struck and cannot even imagine such a nightmare. But my kids, all girls, are also involved in hunting and target shooting. Many of their friends are also interested in both hunting and target shooting.
I completely agree that we need to find a way to stop this disease that has infected our society, but it is not by telling one of my kids that she can't own a gun and go into the field if that's what she wants to do. Hunters are taught gun safety and firearm responsibility by their parents, adults in leadership positions, by the state agencies that run hunter education courses, and yes, by the NRA.
As parents, we need to take responsibility to instill good judgment and responsibility that comes with the lawful use of firearms, automobiles or anything else that could be used for evil purposes. No hunter would ever dream of doing what that twisted person did in Parkland. It is unthinkable. Evil exists. It must be confronted in the most powerful ways possible and must be defeated.
But there is no need to further exacerbate the tragedy by punishing those who not only had nothing to do with it, but who would have stopped it before it happened or when it was in progress had they had the chance. This is a social problem, not a gun problem. And yes, Modern Sporting Rifles (the actual rifles that so often are misidentified as “assault weapons”) are used for hunting.
We have seen this sort of behavior before and I have always been vocal about SCI stepping up to speak up for our members who are gun owners.
SCI opposes any legislation that infringes upon the Second Amendment right of law abiding young adults between the age of 18 and 20 by banning their right to purchase any long gun from a federally licensed retailer, by use of the federally regulated process that includes instant background checks. We have laws on the books to protect the public, and those laws should be enforced to keep our children and families safe at home, school, movie theatres or wherever they go.
I call on all hunters and especially fellow members of SCI to take a stand right here, right now. This is no time to duck and hide, no time to think that this is someone else’s concern. We are all involved whether we want to be, or not. The only question is whether we stand and fight, or whether we duck and cover. War has been declared against us and no war was ever won from defense.
SCI-PAC, SCI’s Political Action Committee, will no longer support elected representatives who support increasing the age of those eligible to purchase firearms legally. They are speaking out of both sides of their mouths to get themselves reelected. We have a strong PAC and we need to support the representatives who will stand with our membership in good times and bad!
I encourage all hunters, and especially SCI members, to unite in this battle to put sanity back into the public discourse that has been overwhelmed with mass hysteria. Please use any avenues you have individually to get the word out, to organize and to engage in the discussion. The world needs to know that there are many of us out here who oppose what some of the enemies of freedom are proposing. We cannot allow them to take perverted advantage of a tragedy to deny the rest of us our rights and to obliterate our hunting culture that has withstood the test of time since the beginning of mankind.
Rest assured that I will do all I can to right this wrong that is being foisted upon us by the enemies of freedom. I welcome all to join me. Together, we can help right what otherwise could turn into a terrible wrong. Thank you.