What Can We Do To Save Our Sport?by R. Michael DiLullo
As hunters, gundog enthusiasts and firearms owners we must prevent any legislation that has a negative effect on our sports, otherwise we will lose! The best means of defeating these types of laws is through a grassroots approach. Politicians sit-up and pay attention when they start hearing from constituents! Here is a list of easy things you and your family and friends can do to help prevent more anti-hunting laws.
Get Informed! Educate yourself to the facts; statistics and numbers can be manipulated to support any sides’ argument. Know what you are talking about. You do not have to be an expert on the facts, but be well informed. That way you can help to set the record straight and educate others to the reality of the issues. But remember, some people don’t care about facts, and are only led by their emotions or their personal agendas!
Get Involved! Monitor local, state and national issues as to important upcoming actions and initiatives, help to keep friends and fellow outdoorsmen informed of the issues that may affect our sports or our Second Amendment rights and encourage them to get involved.
Get Active! Organize fellow sportsmen to write letters, Emails and lobby your elected officials to support your causes and goals. Support candidates that will stand with us to protect our rights and who fight to preserve our heritage. But, most of all, be vigilant! Hunting & Fishing are now rights and a part of the Constitutions of several states because residents in those states worked on a grassroots basis and got the issue put on the ballot. This initiative alone will not prevent anti-hunting groups from trying to ban or eliminate certain types of hunting. However, preemptive initiatives such as these will make it very difficult for them to eliminate hunting. Remember, their goal is to divide and conquer!
Join Up! Join local, state and national hunting and the shooting sports organizations and clubs. There is strength in numbers and politicians take notice of those statistics. On the national front, the National Rifle Association (NRA) or the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) are two of the largest and most effective. Besides the individual benefits of belonging to these organizations, they lobby lawmakers and support candidates and politicians that will ensure our rights as hunters, firearms and dog owners will be protected.
Become an ambassador for your sport! Recruit new people into our sports, as hunters and sportsmen. Each of us should try to introduce young people, spouses, non-hunting friends and family members to our sport or at least educate them to what hunting and shooting is really all about. The future of hunting and firearms ownership depends on an infusion of “new blood”. For the past decade hunting license sales have been declining and the public is becoming less accepting of our sports, mainly because of a lack of education of what hunting and the shooting sports are truly about. But also due to the constant negative image that hunting and firearm ownership receives from the liberal media and public educators. Children should be taught young and their teachers must exhibit correct ethical behavior afield while demonstrating proper safe firearm handling techniques. Conforming to standards (both written and unwritten) of what is right or just behavior is what defines a true sportsman. Remember, you will be judged by your actions!
Register and Vote! And encourage others to do so, also! Our democratic process is the greatest of any civilization in history. However, if you do not participate in the process than you have no voice. This past Presidential election and the debacle, which followed in Florida, should have been enough to convince anyone that their single vote really does matter! Vote in all local, state, national, primary and special elections. Make your opinion count!
With hard work these efforts will pay off. But, our rights will only survive if we are all willing to work at protecting these cherished freedoms. Someone once said, “The price of freedom is constant vigilance”, and it must be tirelessly protected in order to preserve our heritage and a way of life. History, both past and recent, has shown what can happen to both hunting and firearm ownership if these freedoms are not guarded. The British Commonwealths, Australia and more recently Canada are all good examples of what liberal governments with anti-gun/anti-hunting agendas can do when their citizens sit by and let it happen! The English Parliament, led by Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who has vowed to end fox hunting in that country, is once again debating banning fox hunting with hounds! Remember, “Apathy and complacency are killers!”