Opening up hunting on Sunday is a dead issue, following a ruling yesterday by Judge Robert Holland in Ritchie County.

Members of Hartley Hill Hill Gun Club, which leases 2000 acres in the county, had sought to hunt on their property on Sundays.

Their case was presented by the ACLU, based on constitutional grounds.

Ritchie voters voted 1,400 to 859 in 2002 to ban Sunday hunting.

Jason Huber, the ACLU's attorney, said the ban violates the constitutional right to bear arms.

"The Ritchie County law not only infringes on basic state constitutional rights, but also violates the spirit of West Virginia liberty," said Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU in West Virginia.

Holland said there was no constitutional issue to argue.

Joseph Beeson, represent the WV Farm Bureau, said "There is no limitation on the right to bear arms. It only regulates hunting on Sunday."

Forty-one counties prohibit Sunday hunting.

The case could be appealed.

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