NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Some Tennessee lawmakers say they are trying to save an "endangered species" — the American hunter.
"Just as we protect the right of free speech, I think that the right to hunt and fish is also very dear and important to a lot of Americans," said state Sen. Doug Jackson (search), a Democrat from Dickson.
Jackson is proposing an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution (search) guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish. He says attacks on the sport by animal rights activists and America's move away from its agrarian roots have placed hunters in the minority.
"It secures the right for a minority against the will of a majority," Jackson said.
The proposal faces opposition not just from animal rights activists, but from others who say passing a constitutional amendment to protect an activity that's already legal is a waste of government time and resources.
"It's fundamentally silly," said Nashville attorney Henry Walker (search), who formerly worked for the state and federal governments. "It's fundamentally a distraction. We have a lot of other, more important things to worry about."
Tennessee is not alone. More than half a dozen other states have already passed hunters' rights amendments. Jackson predicts more states will follow suit because laws alone may not be enough.
"The Tennessee General Assembly (search) could remove the opportunity for sportsmen to hunt and fish with a single vote," he said.
Walker said that's unlikely.
"The state that brought you Davy Crockett is not going to outlaw hunting," he said.
While critics dispute the necessity of hunters' rights amendments, Jackson remains confident about its popularity and expects the amendment to pass both houses of the Tennessee Legislature.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Jonathan Serrie.