BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB POSITION STATEMENT
Position Statement on Second Amendment Rights
As the oldest conservation organization in North America, the Boone and Crockett Club is often asked to comment on gun control issues and Second Amendment rights because of the close relationship between gun ownership, hunting, and wildlife conservation.
The Club believes that restricting access to firearms will directly impact participation in hunting, which is essential to the continuing success of wildlife conservation in North America, and elsewhere. The Club is concerned with any restriction on the public’s legal right to own and use firearms for hunting that could weaken or undermine our unique and successful system of wildlife conservation.
The Boone and Crockett Club supports the right of citizens to own and use firearms. The Club maintains that the diverse and abundant wildlife populations that exist in Canada and the United States today are primarily the result of more than a century of wildlife conservation. The public’s right and ability to legally own and use firearms, has been, and remains, critical to the success of this conservation system.
Public ownership of firearms was instrumental to the birth of the conservation movement in North America. This movement was initiated by sportsmen that saw the need for and supported the laws, policies, funding programs, research initiatives, expert agencies, and other delivery mechanisms that are now referred to collectively as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. A fundamental basis of this Model is that every citizen has the right to hunt for specific legal purposes, which requires the ability to own and use a firearm. Wildlife conservation would not and could not have come into existence, nor will it endure, without the public ownership of firearms.
Conservation is active and hands-on. It is a series of actions by people to maintain the integrity and continuity of nature. Hunting is one of these actions. Hunting itself is a mechanism for wildlife conservation, but most importantly it engages people in seeing the need for conservation and its results. Because of traditional outdoor activities like hunting, sportsmen have a vested interest in the security and proper management of the game species they hunt. This advocacy and stewardship extends to the habitats that support these species, which in turn benefits all wildlife—both hunted and non-hunted.
The sustainable harvest of game species is the primary means of keeping wildlife populations healthy, within the carrying capacity of their habitats, and to socially-acceptable levels. The majority of wildlife conservation programs are also largely funded through a “user pays–everyone benefits” system of licenses, permits, and excise taxes on firearms and ammunition paid by sportsmen and recreational shooters. Eliminating the right to own or use a firearm, which is the means by which the majority of game is hunted, would lead to a collapse of the very system that is responsible for wildlife and healthy ecosystems.
The Boone and Crockett Club maintains that hunting is crucial to successful wildlife conservation, that gun ownership is fundamental to hunting, and that all three are critical to one another. The Club believes the best way to ensure well-managed, well-funded and sustainable wildlife conservation programs includes the right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.