Tag Archives: fishing

Trolling for sensible fishing laws.*

Apparently the old “regulate guns like cars” argument has worn out. Now…

Fishing for sensible gun laws
As the West’s elected officials wrestle with how to protect us from gun violence in the aftermath of the Las Vegas nightmare, two things come to mind. First, these leaders are not actually wrestling with the issue of how to protect us from gun violence. If they were, the solution would be as clear as a mountain stream: Treat people more like fish.

Marty Jones is somehow under the impression that firearms are less regulated than fishing.

Perhaps he should take a little time to educate himself on the subject of firearm lest he continue to sound like a foolish kook. The Zelman Partisans “Gun Culture Primer” is a good place for him to start.

If Jones believes fishing and firearms should be subject to the same laws, then let’s try applying gun laws to fishing and its gear.

Manufacturers of fishing gear would require federal licensing, and would be subject to no-notice compliance inspections. All equipment would be individually serial numbered and otherwise marked under standards right down to the font size and stamping depth. Failure to so mark equipment early enough in the manufacturing process could be punished as a felony and the company could lose its license and be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Retailers would also be federally licensed (this is in addition to any state or local licensing, of course). All fishing gear inventory would be tracked in a bound book. That book and inventory would also be subject to no-notice inspections. Misprints in the book could result in fines, loss of license, and even prison time.

Thanks to special tackle store zoning restrictions, you may do some traveling to find one. Exposure to fishing implements would be damaging to youth psyches, so tackle stores can’t be within 1,000 feet of any school or daycare facility (even Miss Sally’s after-school place in her house next door to you). They probably can’t be near churches either. Nor any place selling alcohol.

When selling a fishing pole, the retailer would have to guess if the buyer might be a prohibited person (we’ll get to that in a moment), or if he’s making a straw purchase for another person.

The buyer would be required to fill out a multi-page form in which he discloses various legal and health conditions. He’d have to tell his race. He has to have a government issued photo ID, which the retailer will photocopy for his records (the ones subject to no-notice inspection and copying by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fishing. I wonder why they need to know what race you are?

The retailer would then request a background check through NICS. If a “proceed” is not given immediately, the buyer would have to wait days before taking possession of the fishing pole. If the transaction is denied, the sale cannot complete. Roughly 95% of denials are in error, and those that are correct almost never result in prosecution — much less conviction — which may make the fisherman wonder why they bother with the check.

That form the buyer and retailer fill out? The retailer better check it closely, because if you or he makes a typo (or mark “Y” instead of “Yes” in full he can lose his license and be fined.

The check is to make sure the buyer is not a prohibited person. There is a long list of disqualifying conditions, but basically no more fishing for anyone convicted of a crime potentially punishable by 24 or more months in prison, even if you got off with a fine and no jail time. Some misdemeanors will render you fish-free for life, too. Unlawful use of drug, or alcoholism make you a prohibited person. Being adjudicated mentally deficient also does the trick.

You’d have to be at least 18 years of age to buy a long pole, and at least 21yo to buy a short pole.

If a former buddy’s widow wanted to sell you her hubbie’s old fishing pole, you’d both have to go to a Federal Fishing Licensee to go through the background checks.

Want to buy a fishing pole from mail order company? The seller will have to ship it to your local FFL, where you go through a background check. If you travel to another state, you can buy long pole but not short ones.

Reels capable of holding more than 15 feet of line would be banned.

Denver would ban reels altogether, and limit you to 15 feet of line tied to the end of a pole.

Unless licensed to possess a fishing pole, it would be a felony to posses a pole within 1,000 feet of a school. Using the pole inside city limits would be at least a misdemeanor, possibly a felony. Oh, and there would be no more youth fishing licenses.

When setting off on a fishing trip, you’ll need to store your pole in a locked container, separately from you line and hooks. If passing through certain states (and look it up before leaving because state laws on fishing poles will vary, and may ban your possession outright- instant felony i New Jersey), you may have to disassemble your pole, rendering it inoperative. (And for folks that think guns and cars should be regulated the same, consider taking your car apart for a road trip.)

Jones claims there is no bag limit on people, unlike fish. That’s because with the exception of self defense, bagging humans at all is illegal. And even a self defense shooting is likely to get you prosecuted. So even having jumped through all the other hoops, if you attempt to use your fishing pole, you’d better be able to prove in a court of law that a fish was necessary to your survival.

As it happens, contrary to Jones’ assertion, there are caliber limits on firearms. Anything over .50 caliber — half inch, as measured from rifling groove to rifling groove — is a “destructive device” and requires special law enforcement approvals, licensing, and taxes; and the owner is subject to no-notice inspections. I think a similar half inch hook restriction for fishing is in order; right, Jones? Unlicensed DD hook possession would be a major federal felony.

Want to practice casting? Not in town, nor in built-up county areas. You may be restricted to a dedicated “casting range” which will require membership in the National Fishing Association to use.

Jones should join Fishing Pole Owners of America, to help protect himself against further fishing control regulations and bans on reels, and evil black assault poles; and limits on how many poles or hooks he can own; not merely how many he can use simultaneously on a fishing expedition- how many he can own. “Nobody needs more than two poles, without reels.”

Aside from laws and regulations, Jones can expect to be demonized in the media. Columnists who clearly know nothing about his sport and equipment, nor the laws and regulations in place, will write ridiculous articles making nonsensical comparisons to make fishermen look like unreasonable jerks opposing commonsense fishing safety laws. He’ll be called a racist for wanting to own poles. People will make disparaging remarks on his Facebook page saying that he only needs that long pole to compensate for a short penis. Irrationally, those fishing control advocates will make the same penis-compensation argument against female anglers, making Jones wonder if they’ve ever gotten laid and know the anatomical differences between men and women.

So, sure. Let’s regulate fishing and shooting the same way.


* This was sent to the Denver Post in rebuttal to Jones’ silly column. They declined to publish it, so I’m posting it here as I will be doing with other rebuttal attempts.

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