State Legislation Not the Only Threat To Sportsmen & Sporting Dog Owners
By Jeremy Rine
Associate Director of State Services
Columbus, OH –-(Ammoland.com)- Last week, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its Sporting Dog Defense Coalition alerted Oklahoma sportsmen to a proposed local ordinance that would have prohibited most sporting dog owners in Tulsa from keeping more than three dogs.
This brought up a good point for sporting dog owners, and all sportsmen for that matter, to consider: Local laws and ordinances can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than legislation being considered in your state’s capitol.
Local laws passed by your city council, county commissioners, or trustees have the same effect as a state law. The only difference is that a local law applies only to a specific area of the state like a city or a county. Simply put, if your local government passes a law that says you can’t do something, then you can’t do it. This makes local laws just as dangerous to sportsmen and sporting dog owners as state laws.
On top of that, local laws are often passed with few people knowing they were even being considered. Local lawmakers often have shorter legislative processes, are quicker to pass laws as a knee jerk reaction to isolated events, and aren’t as widely covered by the media as state issues. All of this means sportsmen have fewer chances to know what is going on and are given less opportunity to provide input.
So what can you do to make sure your local officials don’t pass laws taking away your rights?
Follow these tips:
- Stay informed. Make sure you are keeping an eye on what your local lawmakers are doing so you will know if they are considering something that might take away your rights. This can be as easy as reading your local newspaper and/or attending a few city council or county commissioner meetings.
- Educate local lawmakers like you would your state representatives. Take some time to meet with your local lawmakers and get to know them. Invite them to a club meeting, a club event, or a field trial. Give them information on sporting dogs and let them know that dog related ordinances, even if well intended, could potentially hurt responsible dog owners like you. If they know you as the knowledgeable “hunting dog guy” they are much more likely to turn to you when these issues arise.
Attacks on your rights as sportsmen and sporting dog owners can come from all levels – federal, state, and local. Sportsmen must be ready to fight to keep those rights at all levels of government.
As always, if you are faced with the threat of your rights being taken away, USSA is here to help.
The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen's organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. Visit www.ussportsmen.org.