NSSF Urges Supreme Court to Support First Amendment Use of Hunting and Fishing Images

NEWTOWN, Conn. — With the U.S. Supreme Court slated to hear arguments today in the United States v. Stevens, No. 08-769, the National Shooting Sports Foundation encourages the court to support the First Amendment rights of all media to show images of hunting and fishing.

The case centers around a 1999 federal statute used to prosecute a Virginia man on animal cruelty-related charges that because it is so broadly written could similarly be used to prosecute anyone who publishes images of hunting or to prosecute retailers for stocking and selling books, DVDs or art depicting hunting scenes.

"The National Shooting Sports Foundation and its over 4,500 member companies oppose animal cruelty, which is illegal in every state, and stress that hunting scenes are not representative of criminal behavior. Hunting is a legitimate, licensed activity, and responsible hunters respect the animals they pursue and utilize," said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF. "Such images assist novices with basic hunting and field dressing techniques and provide education about wildlife conservation and safe and ethical hunting."

In the 2004 case, the defendant was initially convicted, but the decision was later overturned by the Third Court of Appeals, which struck down the federal statute as a violation of the First Amendment.

In a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Stevens's position, NSSF said the federal criminal statute "is unconstitutionally overbroad, because it criminalizes free speech protected by the First Amendment. [The statute] was enacted to combat animal cruelty. NSSF abhors animal cruelty and the unethical taking of game. The broad language of the statute, however, criminalizes lawful speech and, in the process, chills lawful commerce in that speech."

Many outdoor media groups such as the Professional Outdoor Media Association, Outdoor Writers Association of America and American Society of Media Photographers, along with sportsmen and conservation groups such as the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, have also filed friend-of-the-court briefs.

Demonstrating its anti-hunting position, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed an amicus brief for the government.

Related Stories:
Exposed: Humane Society of the United States Fundraising Scandal

Is Rush Limbaugh's cat being held hostage by animal rights extremists?

Bizarre indeed: Rush Limbaugh's unholy alliance with animal 'rights' extremists

Leading Conservation Groups to Rush Limbaugh: Cease Support of HSUS

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.