Anti-hunters argue that the law violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Attorney General Brad Schimel, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Steep are being sued by a group of activists claiming the law violates their right to free speech. Joseph Brown, Louis Weisberg, and Stephanie Losse filed the lawsuit July 17th, the Wisconsin Public Radio reports.
Wisconsin’s hunter harassment law was passed just last year. Just in case you aren’t familiar with the law, it prevents people from interfering with lawful hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor activities, including attempts to film or photograph hunters without permission.
One activist is looking for an injunction to prevent enforcement of the law. Matthew Liebman of litigation for the Animal Legal Defense Fund claims that it violates the First Amendment and should be struck down.
Wisconsin Public Radio quotes him as saying:
“Nobody has a right to physically or verbally assault somebody else, but we already have laws that prohibit that. This is just an extra content-based attack on the free speech rights of activists. We want this statute declared unconstitutional.“
Joseph Brown and Stephanie Losse are volunteers with Wolf Patrol, a “conservation movement” that is supporting the recovery of gray wolves in the lower 48 states. Filing as they are interested in tracking hunter movements and activity on public lands. Including filming and taking photos of hunters. Even though Wisconsin ended its wolf hunts in 2014. Sounds a little suspicious, as Losse has been accused of hunter harassment.
Liebman also states:
“You do have a right to approach someone and try to engage them in conversation, and that’s really at the heart of the First Amendment. To not be able to do that at the place that matters most, the place where animals are being killed, I think is a significant infringement on the free speech rights of individuals.”
Well, using that logic the next time he’s driving someone should hop in his car and strike up a conversation. People and animals are killed on the road all the time.
Side note: don’t actually get in a stranger’s car, or any of the people listed in this article.