Pennsylvania

‘There’s a Constitution’: Pennsylvania court of appeals strikes down town ordinance banning home gun ranges

‘There’s a Constitution’: Pennsylvania court of appeals
strikes down town ordinance banning home gun ranges 1

STROUD TOWNSHIP, PA – On Thursday, June 3rd, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court of Appeals ruled that the town’s ban on home gun ranges violates the Second Amendment rights of its community members. 

The case has a ways to go before it is finally decided, but the court’s recent ruling is a big legal win for Second Amendment supporters.

According to reports, in the 2-1 split opinion, a majority state appellate panel reversed a lower-court dismissal, allowing a Second Amendment-based lawsuit filed by a Stroud Township landowner who argued that a town ordinance stopping him from operating a shooting range was unconstitutional. 

The court ruled that the town’s ban on home gun ranges violated the Second Amendment rights of a resident who had a private range on his property, but was forbidden from using it after the ban took effect in 2011.

Reportedly, the trial court originally ruled in favor of the township, but the Court of Appeals sent the case back to the judge with instructions to consider all of the plaintiff’s arguments, including his claim that the ordinance violated his Second Amendment rights. 

After another set of arguments, the trial judge once again granted summary judgement to the township, but this time the Court of Appeals did not offer any helpful hints to the judge about the constitutionality of the ban. They made it very clear that the judge had erred.

The opinion stated, in part:

“The Ordinance imposes a burden on the Second Amendment right to maintain proficiency in firearm use by essentially imposing an outright ban on target shooting everywhere in the Township except two specific zoning districts.

“The Township did not meet this burden under the intermediate scrutiny standard to justify such an outright ban on personal shooting ranges at one’s residence because it did not establish that the Ordinance ‘does not burden more conduct than is reasonably necessary.’”

The judge continued:

“In reaching our conclusion, we do not discount the importance of regulating target shooting in a residential environment and the important policy reasons for the Ordinance, nor are we holding that every person needs to have the ability to have a personal shooting range on his property. To the contrary, a municipality clearly may regulate such activity.

“This Court has recognized that Second Amendment rights are ‘not unlimited’ and ‘may be restricted in the exercise of police power for the good order of society and the protection of citizens.’ Perry v. State Civ. Comm’n 38 A.3rd 929, 955 (Pa Cmwlth, 2011).’

“Yet, as we have previously held: it must be remembered that the police power delegated by the state is not infinite and unlimited.

The action taken thereunder must be reasonable, it must relate to the object it purports to carry out, and it must not invade the fundamental liberties of the citizens. It must also be remembered that even legitimate legislative goals cannot be pursued by means which stifle fundamental personal liberty when goals can be otherwise more easily achieved.”

The Court of Appeals used an intermediate scrutiny approach to the township’s ban on private gun ranges. That standard has more often than not been used to uphold restrictions on the right to bear and keep arms.

Intermediate scrutiny can be used for good or bad, depending on the judge wielding the legal theory like a sword. In the hands of a judge hostile to the Second Amendment, intermediate scrutiny can uphold any gun law imaginable.

However, in the hands of judges that, whatever their personal views, treat the Second Amendment with the same reverence as other civil rights, intermediate scrutiny can be used in defense of individual liberty against the stifling power of the state.

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Freedom rising: Governors across the country refusing to put up with Biden’s Second Amendment attacks

April 10th, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.– After President Joe Biden officially released his initial plan to attack the country’s Second Amendment rights, multiple governors have signaled that they will be taking action against the Democratic president. 

According to the Daily Wire, Biden announced several actions, which he articulated during a recent press conference. During this press conference, he also made multiple false claims when targeting two types of gun parts: pistol braces and chunks of plastic and metal that are unfinished firearms.

He claimed that adding a stabilizing brace to a pistol makes it “more lethal” because it makes the firearm “more accurate.” The idea that a brace makes a pistol “more lethal” is not accurate because the brace does not alter the rate of fire of the pistol and it does not alter the velocity of the projectile that is fired from the weapon.

The Biden administration will also be publishing “model red flag legislation” for states to consider. This legislation comes just a few weeks after the Biden administration urged the Supreme Court to uphold a warrantless gun confiscation case.

Following Biden’s press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the announcements were just his “initial actions,” and that there “will be more.”

She added that Biden intends to “use the power of his presidency” to crack down on Americans’ constitutionally protected Second Amendment rights.

At the start of his remarks, Biden controversially claimed that his plans to crack down on Second Amendment rights did not “in any way impinge on the Second Amendment.”

He then claimed that anyone suggesting that his actions were a crackdown on the Second Amendment were engaging in “phony arguments.”

Numerous governors immediately pushed back on Biden’s attacked on Second Amendment rights and indicated that they will be taking action to protect their residents from Biden’s agenda.

On Twitter, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) wrote:

“Biden is threatening our 2nd Amendment rights. He just announced a new liberal power grab to take away our guns. We will NOT allow this in TX. It’s time to get legislation making TX a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary State passed and to my desk for signing.”

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) said that Biden’s actions “won’t save lives or stop criminals” and would only “disarm law abiding citizens.”

He added:

“Alaska is a Second Amendment sanctuary state and we will be evaluating our options.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) said in a statement:

“I think it’s out of control and it’s obvious that they can’t get it through Congress and so he’s acting on his own. He’s doing it at rapid speed. There has not been another president, I don’t think, in history that has implemented the number of Executive Orders that this president has implemented.”

She added:

“And the hypocrisy of running as a united and a president that was going to bring both parties together and heal this country, he has done nothing but that. He is continuing to divide the country and he’s doing it through these outlandish Executive Orders.”

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) highlighted the portion of the Second Amendment that states “shall not be infringed,” writing:

“Biden claims that his actions won’t infringe on the 2nd Amendment. That’s false. Taking away guns with Red Flag laws is an infringement. Placing new limits on firearms sales is an infringement. Curbing ammo purchases is an infringement.”

Idaho Governor Brad Little (R) said that his state will be standing up for its residents’ Second Amendment rights.

He said:

“Idaho will not stand for President Biden’s unilateral actions to erode your Second Amendment rights. Idaho’s Congressional delegation and I are in lockstep in our opposition to the President’s actions and his direction to Congress to strip law-abiding Americans of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon (R) tweeted:

“Wyoming is, has always been, and will continue to be a state where 2nd Amendment rights are recognized and protected.”

He added:

“I oppose any orders or actions imposed from the federal level that infringe on this fundamental right. Today, I signed HB 236, which prohibits financial institutions and payment processors in Wyoming from discriminating against firearms businesses engaged in lawful commerce.”

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What Second Amendment? Psaki confirms that Biden intends to sign executive orders on gun control

March 28th, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.– On Friday, March 26th, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that President Joe Biden intends to sign executive orders on instituting increased gun control. 

In a response to a question on the subject during Friday’s press briefing, Psaki flatly stated:

“Yes. I can’t give you an exact time frame in part because they have to go through a review process, which is something that we do from here.”

She added:

“I will note that when we, when the president was the vice president in the Obama-Biden administration, he helped put in place twenty-three executive actions to combat gun violence.

It’s one of the levers that we can use that any federal government, any president, can use to help address the prevalence of gun violence and address community safety around the country.”

The new gun control push by Democrats follows the murders on Monday, March 22nd of 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado grocery store. The week prior, a gunman killed eight at an Atlanta-area massage parlor. 

Biden hinted at enacting gun reforms through executive action at his press conference on Thursday, March 25th, but he also stated he needed to “wait another minute” to first pursue other priorities, primarily his “Build Back Better” economic recovery package.

Reportedly, the New York Times stated that gun control advocates felt betrayed by Biden’s comments during his press conference. Brady: United Against Gun Violence Vice President Marsha Fields said in a statement:

“I’m disappointed he has the nerve and audacity to say he’s going to do things in sequential order. It’s out of order to have to bury your child. It’s out of order to be shopping for eggs and to have your life disrupted.”

According to recent reports, the White House is considering orders to require background checks for “ghost guns” that can be manufactured at home without serial numbers and a requirement that local cops be notified if someone fails an FBI background check to buy a gun from a registered dealer.

However, the reported orders under consideration are not necessarily applicable to the recent mass shootings.

Suspected Atlanta gunman, 21-year-old Robert Long, reportedly bought a semi-automatic firearm from a dealer after passing a background check on the day of the killings.

Suspected Boulder gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, also 21-years-old, bought a Ruger AR0556 pistol after passing a background check six days before the supermarket massacre. On Tuesday, March 23rd, Biden called for gun control legislation.

However, significant reforms are unlikely to pass the evenly divided Senate where 60 votes generally are needed to pass bills. Just this month alone, 35 Senate Democrats introduced legislation to ban “assault weapons,” including popular semi-automatic guns such as AR-15 style rifles.

These proposed legislations are not likely to pass as bipartisan legislation previously failed to expand mandatory background checks to cover private gun transfers among non-dealers.

Reuters reported that Biden is also looking to take action on 3D printer guns and imported firearms. Biden said in a statement:

“We’re looking at what kind of authority I have relative to imported weapons as well as whether or not I have the authority.”

He added:

“These new weapons that are being made by 3D equipment that aren’t registered as guns at all. There may be some latitude there as well.”

Biden is urging the Senate to approve two bills passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on March 11th that would broaden background checks on gun buyers. Biden also called for a national ban on “assault-style” weapons, which previously expired back in 2004.

On Wednesday, March 24th, Psaki objected to the notion of President Biden potentially eliminating or altering the Second Amendment if Congress fails to pass “common sense” gun control reforms. She said in a statement:

“No one is talking about overturning or changing the Second Amendment. What our focus is on is putting in place common sense measures that will make our community safer, make families safer, make kids safer.”

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Report: Most of Biden’s ‘gun control’ policies already in place in CA, which has seen a string of mass shootings

February 2nd, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The state of California has many of the most prominent aspects of President Joe Biden’s gun control plan, yet the state has been plagued by a steady flow of mass shootings. 

According to AWR Hawkins, an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the string of California mass shootings in 2019 led the Mercury News to ask, “Does gun control work?”

Back in November 2019, California saw three mass shootings in four days and four within three weeks. 

Two of Biden’s chief gun control proposals are universal background checks and an “assault weapons” ban. UC Davis noted that California adopted “comprehensive background check” policies back in 1991.

Southern California Public Radio reported that the state’s “Robert-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 became law on January 1, 1990.” Hawkins noted:

“Democrats such as Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) described universal background checks as the ‘North Star’ for gun controllers; the crème de la crème of all gun controls.”

Hawkins added that similar talk is heard about “assault weapon” bans, as Democrats employ “weapons of war” phraseology in an effort to convince Americans to give up entire categories of guns.

In both cases, Americans are promised that the implementation of such controls will “keep them safer.” According to Hawkins, these promises flow especially free after a highly publicized mass shooting. 

Everytown for Gun Safety’s Rob Wilcox now focuses on the word “safety” when talking about Biden’s intent to secure universal background checks. He told The Hill:

“A Biden presidency is the gun lobby’s worst nightmare, but it’s a dream come true for anyone who case about gun safety in America.”

Biden’s platform includes banning the sale of “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines and requiring background checks for all gun sales. Gun safety advocacy groups have praised his platform as one of the “toughest of any presidential candidate.”

Nico Bocour, governmental affairs director for gun reform advocacy group Giffords, predicts that America will see some gun reform measures within Biden’s first 100 days in office. Bocour said:

“We believe that, you know, within the first 100 days, there is going to be a background checks bill that you will see passed. There is widespread support for universal background checks, this is something that the public has shown tremendous amount of support for over the years and that support is increasing.”

However, Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, predicts that Biden’s platform will drive more people to buy guns simply out of fear. He said:

“If suddenly they said well you’re not going to be able to buy more cereal while everybody would run out and clean out all the cereal out of the stores, and get theirs before it disappeared.”

He added:

“Same thing with guns, every time they threatened to take them away people decide it’s time to buy one and those that have one decide maybe to buy another one.”

However, Hawkins asked:

“But, what has happened in California, where universal background checks and an “assault weapons” ban have been the law of the land for 30 years?”

Below is a short look at just a few of the high profile California shootings during the past decade:

ABC7 reported that “seven people were killed and three were wounded when a 43-year-old former student opened fire at Oikos University in Oakland, California,” on April 2, 2021;

22-year-old Elliot Roger, “killed six people and wounded 13 in a shooting and stabbing attacks in the area near the University of California, Santa Barbara,” on May 13, 2014;

Breitbart News highlighted that Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire in a San Bernardino, California, Health Department Christmas party on December 2, 2015, killing 14 people;

The Associated Press wrote that 39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad shot and killed three people in downtown Fresno, California, on April 18, 2017;

ABC7 noted that 38-year-old Jimmy Lam “opened fire inside a San Francisco package facility, killing three people and injuring several others,” on June 14, 2017;

12 people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Borderlin Bar & Grill, in Thousand Oaks, California, on November 7, 2018;

Breitbart News covered a shooting that left three killed and 12 injured on July 28, 2019, at the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival;

The New York Times reported an October 31, 2019 shooting that left five dead in Orinda, California and;

On November 18, 2019, the Guardian ran a column title “Ten Dead After California Sees Three Mass Shootings in Four Days.” Those shootings included the Santa Clarita shooting at Saugus High School and the killing of four individuals during a “family party” in Fresno.

The above-listed shootings and various others occurred despite California’s universal background checks and an “assault weapons” ban. Yet, Democrats continue to push such checks and such bans as a means to keep America safe.

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