Supreme Court Agrees With SCI and Strikes Down Law That Could Criminalize Hunting Videos

Supreme Court Agrees With SCI and Strikes Down Law That Could Criminalize Hunting Videos

Safari Club Internationa
Safari Club Internationa

Washington, DC –-( The U.S. Supreme Court today, in United States v. Stevens, struck down a federal law that could have criminalized the sale of hunting videos.

As reported on Safari Club International and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation joined to file an amicus (friend of the Court) brief that explained how the law could apply to many hunting videos. The Court quoted SCI’s brief and relied, in part, on SCI’s arguments to hold the law unconstitutionally overbroad.

The law made the production or sale of a depiction (e.g., video or picture) of “animal cruelty” punishable by up to five years in prison. The Supreme Court found that Congress wrote the law much too broadly. The law made illegal any depiction of the killing or wounding of a live animal if the act being depicted is itself illegal in the state where the video is sold. As a result, videos of hunting activities that are legal where filmed would violate the law if the videos were sold in a state where that type of hunting activity is illegal. One example from SCI’s brief on which the Court relied was the sharp-tailed grouse, which may be hunted in Idaho, but not in Washington.

The Court also quoted from SCI’s brief to reject the argument that hunting videos would be protected by the law’s exception for videos with serious educational or scientific value. The Court’s opinion stated “According to Safari Club International and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, many popular [hunting] videos ‘have primarily entertainment value’ and are designed to ‘entertai[n] the viewer, marke[t] hunting equipment, or increas[e] the hunting community.’”

SCI President Larry Rudolph said, “This tremendous victory is a great example of how SCI is First for Hunters. SCI did not hesitate to devote its resources to filing a brief with the Supreme Court to advocate our interests. The people who produce and sell the hunting videos we all enjoy should not have to risk five years in prison and now they will not. With this opinion, SCI has reached a new level of advocacy for SCI members and for all hunters.”

SCI-First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI’s approximately 190 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 18 other countries. SCI’s proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.

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