August 21, 2013 —
HARRISBURG, PA — Hunters United for Sunday Hunting has officially filed a lawsuit in federal court in Harrisburg seeking to overturn Pennsylvania’s prohibition against Sunday hunting. The Pennsylvania Game Commission is the defendant.
The suit notes that existing regulations say that, unless otherwise noted, “It is unlawful for any person to hunt for any furbearers or game on Sunday.” However, there are exceptions that allow for the Sunday hunting of coyotes, foxes and crows, and hunters can shoot feral swine and farmers can shoot deer for crop damage any day of the week. Sunday hunting is also allowed on noncommercial regulated hunting grounds.
The suit claims that these rules create different classes of hunters in ways that are unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution. For example, the suit maintains that the ban violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution by creating “one class who are not permitted to hunt furbearers, big game and/or small game on Sundays and other classes that permit furbearer, big game and/or small game to be taken on Sundays.”
The suit further argues that Supreme Court decisions (in cases written by the minority) suggest hunting is a right guaranteed under the Second Amendment. It alleges that “to limit select Pennsylvanians right to hunt and bear arms on Sunday is arbitrary and without a secular purpose.”
Finally, the suit argues that the Sunday hunting ban violates the religious tenets of some Hunters United members.
In 2010, the PA Game Commission’s board adopted a resolution supporting Sunday hunting, but it was not passed by the General Assembly. The commission has maintained it does not have the authority to officially approve Sunday hunting. The suit asks the courts to give the commission that authority.