Establishing Hunting And Fishing Rights

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Some of the most memorable moments with my dad were during our annual fishing trips on the Magothy River. As a child, I can remember looking forward to it all week long as I was tasked to create the packed dinner menu with no limitations. I would request my favorite foods and snacks. Then there was the actual fishing for primarily white perch and croakers. My dad would make it fun by creating a competition that awarded a quarter for the first fish caught, another quarter for the most, the biggest and so on.

Back when I was a kid, a quarter meant something!

As a Marylander, I know our state has a rich heritage of hunting and fishing. Even our state seal has a picture of a fisherman and farmer on it.

These days, many across the nation are concerned about groups trying to chip away at these time-honored activities. We have seen serious direct and indirect threats to hunting and fishing throughout America. We even had a more humorous back-and-forth attempt to stop catching and eating crabs here in Maryland. An anti-hunting and anti-fishing organization purchased a billboard location in Baltimore to demand that Marylanders stop looking at crabs as meat, and instead look at them as individuals, and become vegan. Afterward, opposing advertisements promoted steamed crabs in a similar-style billboard.

We must realize that simply allowing something is completely different than acknowledging someone has the right to do something.

Therefore, I have submitted legislation to establish that all Marylanders have the right to hunt and fish.

For example, independent of where you stand on the issue of fracking in Maryland, it was allowed, until it was banned. Fracking was not a right but an allowance until it wasn’t.

Millions across America have the right to hunt and fish, but Marylanders do not. My legislation puts Maryland on equal grounds with the other states in America that have acknowledged this right. Currently, about half of the states in America have this right and it grows almost every year.

While I am an avid fisherman, I am not a hunter. However, I do enjoy going to the shooting range with friends and family members. In fact, one of my five daughters, who enjoys target shooting, is now a Secret Service agent on protective detail in the nation’s capital. I am sure she passed the firearms training much easier due to her previous experience at the shooting range.

As of this writing, I was able to successfully navigate the legislation through the Senate with a vote of 42-4 and it is awaiting a hearing in the House of Delegates. Unbelievably, it is anticipated to be a much tougher battle in the House of Delegates, so please contact my office at bryan.simonaire@senate.state.md.us or 410-841-3658, if you would like to add your name to the list of supporters of Senate Bill 86.

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