Sunday hunting lawsuit won’t be the last over Maine’s right to food

Gun News

AUGUSTA, Maine — It was always clear that Maine’s pioneering right-to-food amendment could spark wide-ranging legal challenges. Few expected the first to be over one of the state’s most high-profile hunting regulations.

It came Wednesday, when a couple sued the state for violating their new right with a ban on Sunday hunting. Dozens of legislative attempts to erode the ban have been thwarted by landowner opposition and division among hunters on how energetically to pursue it.

The lawsuit is only the first test of the constitutional amendment passed by Maine voters in November guaranteeing a right to grow and harvest food for personal consumption. It is vague and will be defined over time by judges pressed to choose which hunting and food regulations are too onerous and which ones are not.

“It’s a great experiment,” said Dmitry Bam, a constitutional law professor at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland.

The challenges came as a passion project of Democratic lobbyist Jared Bornstein, who was pushing the latest failed legislative bid to legalize Sunday hunting. Eroding the ban has been brought up at least 35 times in the last 45 years, according to a rough state estimate.

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