Virginia Senate passes Sunday hunting bill

The Virginia Senate passed a bill today in a 28 to 11 bipartisan vote to repeal a law that prevented hunting on private property on Sundays.

House Bill 1237 will allow those who have permission from the landowner to hunt any wild bird or animal, including nuisance species, on private property on Sundays. However, hunting cannot occur within 200 yards of a church, and it prohibits hunting deer or bear with a gun, or other weapon with the assistance of dogs on Sundays.

Once passed, the gun lobbies quickly praised the Virginia legislature for their efforts in repealing the 19th Century blue law.

“Today’s Senate vote is a real accomplishment for sportsmen in Virginia, but it is equally a victory for the economy of the Commonwealth that will see a more than $120 million annual direct economic benefit as the result of hunters going afield on Sundays,” said Lawrence G. Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel.

The National Rifle Association also commented on the economic impact Sunday hunting will have on the state, but also suggested that the act will strengthen gun rights in the state.

“This is great news for Virginia sportsmen as well as the future of gun rights and hunting in the Commonwealth,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. “We thank Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15) and Sen. Phil Puckett (D-38) for their leadership in bringing Virginia’s hunting laws into the 21st Century.”

The bill now goes to Gov. Terry McAuliffe to be signed into law.