USSA: Anti-hunting legislator likely head of key House committee for sportsmen

The next chairman of a key house committee with oversight over federal funding for wildlife conservation has a long history of opposing hunting, trapping, and gun ownership.

U.S. Representative Jim Moran (D- VA) is expected to be named Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This subcommittee oversees funding for the Department of Interior and its various agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This makes this chair one of the most powerful positions influencing public policy on federal lands including whether to keep such land open to sportsmen.

Rep. Moran has sponsored and cosponsored a number of anti-hunting and anti-trapping bills during his time in Congress. One of his most high profile battles against sportsmen was an effort to ban the use of bait to hunt black bears on federal land despite being considered a valid management option by wildlife professionals in numerous states. This effort earned him the support of the nation’s leading anti-hunting group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Further anti-hunting and anti-trapping bills supported by Rep. Moran during the current Congressional session include co-sponsorships of:

HR 3710- which would prohibit the use of body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge System; and

HR 2480- "Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2009" which would enforce more restrictive labeling requirements on fur.

Rep. Moran's anti efforts were not the only thing that earned him applause from HSUS. In February, 2009, he helped form the "Creature Caucus" in order to promote animal rights issues in Washington. The head of HSUS' lobbying wing, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, gushed about this group at the time by saying, "We could not be more excited about this new organization of humane lawmakers."

He has also supported anti-gun legislation earning himself the number four position on the NRA's 2006 Top Anti-Gun representatives. He has supported bills such as "assault weapon" bans, prohibitions on transferring ammunition to juveniles, and mandates for additional background checks at gun shows. Rep. Moran also supported legislation requiring ballistics testing data from guns be kept in a national database.

Rep. Moran's expected move is part of a domino effect of legislators shifting committee positions that began with the recent passing of Rep. John Murtha (D- PA).

"Sportsmen are right to be wary that an obvious anti is getting ready to control the gavel for a committee overseeing much of the nation's conservation policy," said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA) vice president for government affairs. "The USSA is going to watch this committee like a hawk and be sure that sound science and sportsmen's voices are not ignored."

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