Shane Mahoney speaks thoughtfully and eloquently on the gun in America, and the gun's vital connection to and relationship with wildlife conservation.
Celebrated conservationist Shane Mahoney talks about the influence of the gun in America and Canada, in our nation building, in our modern society, in our national psyche. He maintains that the gun, in its physical form, has been a powerful influencer, but the gun as an idea may be even more powerful.
The gun represents many things to Americans and Canadians: freedom, protection, violence, safety, self-reliance, tyranny or liberty, to name a few.
But Mahoney's real interest in the gun is how it relates to and has played (and continues to play) a vital role in the conservation movement as exemplified in the most successful conservation program ever devised: the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
After discussing some of the history and influence of guns on society in general, Mahoney says,
"My purpose here, however, is to emphasize that gun ownership, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, has had enormous influence - indeed a founding influence - upon the wildlife conservation movement in North America.
Indeed, without a citizenry knowledgeable about, capable with and legally supported in the right to own and use firearms, the great and enormously successful wildlife conservation movement we recognize as the North American Model, would never and could never have come into existence. And nor can the model persevere without a citizenry entitled to bear arms."
Mahoney maintains that the discussion of guns in society has not given fair consideration to the role that the firearm has played and continues to play in conservation. This part of the discussion, he says, has been given short shrift.
"To trace the great North American Wildlife Conservation Model with all its social and environmental benefits, to the notions of freedom and liberty essential to American society is to understand why this unique approach to conservation evolved where it did, and to appreciate why gun ownership - so symbolic of freedom everywhere - is so central to the conservation debate in the United States of America and in Canada."
Mahoney sums it up succinctly:
"Hunting is critical to conservation. Gun ownership to hunting. And all three things to one another."
Lest anyone think that there is a viable alternative to a citizenry-empowered and supported conservation movement, Mahoney states forcefully:
"The alternative of wildlife conservation being the expensive burden and responsibility of government only, would be a disaster.
Legal gun ownership and conservation, go hand in hand."
Mahoney makes a powerful argument for both the Second Amendment and for its role in wildlife conservation. It would behoove every outdoorsman and outdoorswoman to be aware of this supportive relationship, and be ready to use it to counter those who would desire to limit gun ownership.
It seems that most people who would wish to limit our Second Amendment rights are nevertheless in favor of wildlife conservation. Yet, you cannot logically be in favor of one but not the other. People need to be made aware of this.
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