The Virginia Senate struck down a ban on Sunday hunting Thursday in an awkward vote for conservative lawmakers used to siding with both guns and God.
“I’ve been the go-to guy on many occasions for the NRA [National Rifle Association],” said Sen. Emmett W. Hanger (R-Augustus), co-chair of the Senate’s sportsmen’s caucus. But he nevertheless voted against repeal of the Sunday ban, saying he believes that Sunday should be “preserved as the day of the Lord.”
Other opponents said that Sunday hunting would disturb the peace, turn more people against the sport and threaten the safety of people who want to engage in other outdoor activities on that day.
Advocates said the ban, a vestige of the blue laws that once banned Sunday shopping, was old-fashioned and unfair to people who have to work the other six days of the week.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Ralph S. Northam (D-Norfolk), passed 29 to 11. Eight of those opposed were Republicans.
The legislation, which has the support of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) but still must clear the House, allows for Sunday hunting on private property. An amendment was added requiring that the property be at least 250 yards from a place of worship.