A joint resolution, submitted by Florida Congresswoman Lauren Melo (R-District 82) and Florida State Senator Jason Brodeur (R-District 10), presented as House Joint Resolution 1157 and Senate Joint Resolution 1234, is currently being deliberated in the Florida legislature. If passed by both chambers of the legislature, the provision will create Section 28 to Article I of Florida's constitution preserving “in perpetuity hunting and fishing as a public right” to go before Florida voters as a ballot measure in the 2024 election.
In a statement provided to Townhall.com Representative Mello expressed “As a native Floridian, growing up hunting and fishing, I couldn't be more passionate about this great legislation that will preserve our rights for generations to come…With the passage of this bill, my family and all of Florida will continue to enjoy our freedoms in the great state of Florida!"
Representing Melo also stated, "This is so much more than just reporting about the billions of dollars sportsmen contribute annually to Florida's economy. This is about allowing us to continue traditions that have been respected and valued for hundreds of years. Based on a study dating back to 2017, about 74% of gun owners say the right to own guns is essential to their sense of freedom—although, today, sportsmen are being banned or censored on social media for posting a family picture of a harvest…Currently, states are trying to pass ballot initiatives to ban and criminalize fishing and hunting. The passage of this bill will ensure that it doesn't happen in Florida. As the daughter of an avid sportsman, I had the blessing to grow up with the value of these traditions. I believe our future generations deserve and will benefit greatly from the same opportunities."
Based on information provided by the American Sportfishing Association and Southwick Associates, USFWS survey updated in 2020 survey and published by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, 4 million licensed resident and non-resident anglers purchased $37.8 million of fishing licenses contributing a whopping $13.8 billion annually to Florida’s economy while273,000 licensed and non-resident hunters add an additional $1.3 billion of economic contributions through hunting purchases.
With Vermont leading the way in 1777, Twenty-three states have now constitutionally protected the right to hunt & fish. Of the states proposing such an amendment, only Arizonans rejected a constitutional guarantee in 2010.
Efforts to constitutionally protect sportsmen’s’ & women’s right to hunt & fish often receive bipartisan support, but political organizations people often wouldn’t associate with being concerned about hunting or fishing like the National Education Association and Open Society Policy Center, Inc. provided millions in funding during a failed attempt to stop a similar amendment to North Carolina’s constitution in 2018 while the Sierra Club openly opposes similar measures as “unnecessary", and Wildlife for All advocates the decoupling of hunters and anglers from wildlife management decisions suggesting the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is outdated.
It gets worse. Recently the Biden administration closed off 60 million public land acres to hunting in Alaska while a handful of wayward Republicans attempted to forward the RETURN Act in 2022 undermining foundational Pittman-Robertson funding.
Make no mistake; threats to fishing and hunting aren't exaggerated. Please join Under Pressure Outdoors in supporting conservation and championing the Floridian’s constitutional right to hunt & Fish. Our friends at Howl for Wildlife have made it easy; simply click the following link, scroll down and add your name to the growing list of supporters!