Supreme Court Agrees With SCI Strikes Down Law That Criminalize Hunting Videos
Supreme Court Agrees With SCI and Strikes Down Law That Could Criminalize Hunting Videos
Washington, DC - The U.S. Supreme Court today, in United States v. Stevens, struck down a federal law that could have criminalized the sale of hunting videos. Safari Club International and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation joined to file an amicus (friend of the Court) brief that explained how the law could apply to many hunting videos. The Court quoted SCI’s brief and relied, in part, on SCI’s arguments to hold the law unconstitutionally overbroad.
The law made the production or sale of a depiction (e.g., video or picture) of “animal cruelty” punishable by up to five years in prison. The Supreme Court found that Congress wrote the law much too broadly. The law made illegal any depiction of the killing or wounding of a live animal if the act being depicted is itself illegal in the state where the video is sold. As a result, videos of hunting activities that are legal where filmed would violate the law if the videos were sold in a state where that type of hunting activity is illegal. One example from SCI’s brief on which the Court relied was the sharp-tailed grouse, which may be hunted in Idaho, but not in Washington.
The Court also quoted from SCI’s brief to reject the argument that hunting videos would be protected by the law’s exception for videos with serious educational or scientific value. The Court’s opinion stated “According to Safari Club International and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, many popular [hunting] videos ‘have primarily entertainment value’ and are designed to ‘entertai[n] the viewer, marke[t] hunting equipment, or increas[e] the hunting community.’”
SCI President Larry Rudolph said, “This tremendous victory is a great example of how SCI is First for Hunters. SCI did not hesitate to devote its resources to filing a brief with the Supreme Court to advocate our interests. The people who produce and sell the hunting videos we all enjoy should not have to risk five years in prison and now they will not. With this opinion, SCI has reached a new level of advocacy for SCI members and for all hunters.”
Source: Safari Club International