This scares me about a move to Pa - can't shoot on your own property ? So says 3 judges !

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  • jef955

    Active Member
    Feb 26, 2011
    761
    Maryland
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    Prince Law Offices Blog

    PA Supreme Court Issues Political, Non-Judicial, Decision Regarding The Second Amendment


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    Joshua Prince, Esq.

    February 22



    Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a clearly political, non-judicial, 64 page decision, written by Justice Dougherty and joined by Chief Justice Todd and Justice Wecht, in Barris v. Stroud Township, holding that the Second Amendment does not protect the discharge of firearms on one's own shooting range. In fact, reflecting the overall disdain the Court has for the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Bruen v. New York State Rifle Pistol Association and the overtly political nature of the decision, the Court declared that "[o]ur Nation is gripped by a level of deadly gun violence our founders never could have conceived, and, respectfully, some of the [U.S. Supreme} Court’s actions in recent years have done little to quell the legitimate fears of “the people,” as though the courts have the power to simply eviscerate or otherwise redefine constitutional rights, contrary to the intent of those who enacted them. With such a mindset on our highest state court, why even have an amendment process? We should just leave it up to the Kings and Queens of the judiciary to redefine our rights, as the wind blows. But such is what we've come to expect from our judiciary at all levels, even though, when campaigning under a political party platform, they espouse that they will be independent and non-political...But I digress
    Perhaps reflecting the political nature even more, although the Court mentioned the Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Drummond v. Robinson Twp., where the court held that several township zoning ordinances that restricted where citizens could purchase and practice with firearms was violative of the Second Amendment, the Court nevertheless found, directly contrary to Drummond, that the Second Amendment does not protect the discharge of firearms on a shooting range. And then, there were other comments made by the Court including
    Although it’s a bit like shooting at a moving target because the number seems to grow each day, already, well over “two dozen . . . rulings [have] concluded that Bruen’s test invalidates state or federal laws under the Second Amendment.”
    As though, God forbid, our Constitutional Right invalidate unconstitutional laws... And then there's the Court's reference to the Bruen test as a "harsh 'history-and-tradition' test", because the Court are required to interpret it as the People, around the time of enactment, understood it. And if you need anything to emphasize even more the political nature of the decision, the PA Supreme Court has consistently, and just as recent as a couple weeks ago in Allegheny Reprod. Health Ctr. v. Pennsylvania Dep’t of Human Servs., 26 MAP 2021 (Pa. Jan. 29, 2024), agreed that constitutional rights "must be interpreted in its popular sense, as understood by the people when they voted on its adoption." League of Women Voters v. Commonwealth, 178 A.3d 737, 802 (Pa. 2018).
    And then, there is the swipe the Court takes at the amicus brief that Chief Counsel Joshua Prince submitted on behalf of Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League, the Beaver County Sportsmen’s Conservation League, Firearms Owners Against Crime – Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Educational Action, Unified Sportsmen of PA, and USCCA Legal Defense Foundation, declaring that it "it improperly invites us to consider an array of issues that are not before us in this appeal," even though, as addressed in the amicus brief, the PA Supreme Court's own legion of precedent holds that it may affirm, including appellate courts, on any grounds. See, Friends of Pennsylvania Leadership Charter Sch. v. Chester Cnty. Bd. of Assessment Appeals, 627 Pa. 446, 461 (2014); Mazer v. Williams Brothers Co., 461 Pa. 587, 594 n.6 (1975); Bearoff v. Bearoff Bros., Inc., 458 Pa. 494 (1974); Gilbert v. Korvette’s, Inc., 457 Pa. 602, 604 n.5 (1974); Sherwood v. Elgart, 383 Pa. 110 (1955). Apparently, and quite telling, the Court did not want to address that Stroud Township's ordinance is violative of our state firearm preemption statute, i.e. 18 Pa.C.S 6120, Article I, Section 26 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the vagueness doctrine and rule of lenity. Anyone care to take a guess why? Apparently, justice no longer matters to our Court. Or, as a close friend says, we no longer have justice system, we just have "just is system."
    Of course, as the Court is quick to point out at several points in the lengthy decision, Barris' counsel was not the most adept, including stating that his arguments "are puzzling," as he "argues both Heller and Bruen 'are self-limiting in scope' insofar as '[n]either speak to Second Amendment concerns considered subsidiary or corollary in nature'” and his concession that "training [inclusive of shooting at a range] is not covered by the Second Amendment’s plain text." The Court also declared that if the the Township's and Office of Attorney General's contention that a challenger bears the burden at the first step, "Barris’s claim would likely fail right off the bat because he no longer argues his conduct implicates his right “to keep and bear arms” and, moreover, he freely admits “[n]o Second Amendment ‘text’ references firearm training.”
    As some of you may be wondering, what about the other three justices who were on the Court at the time this case was argued. Unfortunately, as now-Justice Brobson heard the case when it was before the Commonwealth Court, he recused himself. Justice Donohue issued a concurring and dissenting opinion, where she concurred with the outcome, but dissented from the Court's application of Bruen, as she felt Barris' conduct of shooting on his own range was not protected by the plain text of the Second Amendment. And then there was the eloquent dissenting opinion by Justice Mundy (which I believe Justice Brobson would have joined, if he hadn't recused himself).
    Where does this leave us? It is time that We The People take back our judiciary and let it be known that will no longer stand for these political, non-judicial, decisions. In that vein, Justices Dougherty, Wecht, and Donohue will be up for a retention vote in November 2025, where We The People can vote them out of office. It is time that we start telling all of our family, friends and neighbors about the retention vote next year. It must become a dinner-table topic, so that everyone know what all is on the line, as our Republic cannot survive with politically activist judges on our courts.
    If you or someone you know has been the victim of an unlawful municipal firearm or ammunition regulation or ordinance, contact FICG today to discuss your options.

    Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.
     

    Inigoes

    Head'n for the hills
    MDS Supporter
    Dec 21, 2008
    49,522
    SoMD / West PA
    Not just PA

    It's the fallacy to think about moving to a place where one thinks the 2A is greener on the other side of the fence.

    Stand your ground and fight like hell to get the government to recognize our fundamental rights that they do not agree with.
     

    Mark75H

    MD Wear&Carry Instructor
    Industry Partner
    MDS Supporter
    Sep 25, 2011
    17,240
    Outside the Gates
    The actual details could be quite pertinent. Was the township trying to prevent someone from shooting in a residential area or were they trying to cordon off an entire end of the county?
     

    AlBeight

    Member
    MDS Supporter
    Mar 30, 2017
    4,460
    Hampstead
    Not just PA

    It's the fallacy to think about moving to a place where one thinks the 2A is greener on the other side of the fence.

    Stand your ground and fight like hell to get the government to recognize our fundamental rights that they do not agree with.
    Or at least provide proper paragraph separation on your long as F*** postings. :innocent0
    :poke:

    Edit: not directed at Inigoes, I mistakenly “replied” rather than simply adding a post to the thread. Apologies.
     
    Last edited:

    alucard0822

    For great Justice
    Oct 29, 2007
    17,687
    PA
    OK, time for the real story

    This involves a bit over 4 acres of land zoned residential at the end of a neighborhood right behind a shopping center in Strousburg, owned by the plaintiff. He got complaints shooting there, he applied for a permit to construct a shooting range, the zoning board denied it. There is an ordinance that shooting ranges can only be constructed in non residential zones. Instead of filing an appeal based on the zoning board decision or against the ordinance, he filed a civil suit based on 2A grounds. Of course it makes for a good headline.
     

    RFBfromDE

    W&C MD, UT, PA
    MDS Supporter
    Aug 21, 2022
    12,420
    The Land of Pleasant Living
    OK, time for the real story

    This involves a bit over 4 acres of land zoned residential at the end of a neighborhood right behind a shopping center in Strousburg, owned by the plaintiff. He got complaints shooting there, he applied for a permit to construct a shooting range, the zoning board denied it. There is an ordinance that shooting ranges can only be constructed in non residential zones. Instead of filing an appeal based on the zoning board decision or against the ordinance, he filed a civil suit based on 2A grounds. Of course it makes for a good headline.
    Sometimes not all is what it seems. :tinfoil:

    Thanks for pointing that out. :thumbsup:
     

    fabsroman

    Ultimate Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    35,883
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    The actual details could be quite pertinent. Was the township trying to prevent someone from shooting in a residential area or were they trying to cordon off an entire end of the county?
    This right here.

    Quite different if some idiot was shooting a 50 BMG in the backyard of his townhouse versus somebody trying to shoot clays on their 1,000 acre farm.

    I can "legally" walk out my back door and start shooting clays here in Carroll County on my 3 acre lot. I do NOT do so because I know the neighbors would be PISSED. There is a neighbor down the way with more land that shoots every couple of months on his homemade range. I am happy he does. However, some think it is a nuisance. Please, I just heard dirt bikes all day the other day. Meh. Now, gunfire every day, or unsafe gunfire.....................

    What exactly was the issue in this case?

    Here is some meat:

    Barris is the owner of a 4.66-acre tract of land in the Township, located at 7335 Pioneer Lane in Stroudsburg, Monroe County, Pennsylvania. In 2011, the Township enacted the Ordinance, which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:


    Section 1: Intent and Purpose.

    Due to the density of the population in the Township of Stroud, it is necessary that the discharging of firearms be regulated for the protection of the public health and safety and general welfare of the residents, property owners, visitors and others within Stroud Township, and that the unauthorized discharge of firearms be prohibited.

    Pursuant to Section 1506 of The Second Class Township Code, Act of May 1, 1933, P.L. 103, as amended , 53 P.S. § 66506, the Board of Supervisors is authorized to make and adopt ordinances necessary for the proper management, care, and control of the township and the maintenance of the health and welfare of the township and its citizens.

    ....

    Section 3: Firing or discharge restricted.

    It shall be unlawful to fire or discharge any firearm within the Township ... except as provided in Section 4 Exceptions below.

    Section 4: Exceptions.

    Exceptions to this Ordinance are as follows, however, in no case shall a firearm be discharged before dawn or after dusk and/or within 150 yards of an adjacent occupied structure, camp or farm, except as provided under paragraphs A., B., indoor facilities under D., and E. below:

    A. The use of firearms is permitted when employed by any duly appointed law enforcement officer in the course of his or her official duty.

    B. The use of firearms is permitted when necessary as authorized under state and/or federal laws.

    C. The use of firearms is permitted when hunting ....

    D. The discharging of firearms shall be allowed on indoor or outdoor shooting ranges pursuant to applicable provisions of the Stroud Township Zoning Ordinance, as may be amended, under the supervision of the owner or occupant of that property or his or her duly appointed representative, provided that:

    1. All shooting ranges shall be constructed and operated in a safe and prudent manner. If standards, regulations and/or recommended procedures for operation are established or promulgated by any recognized body, such as the National Rifle Association or the American Trap Shooting Association, then such standards, regulations and/or procedures shall be adhered to.

    2. Such range is issued zoning and occupancy permits by the township zoning officer, which
    permits shall specify the area or areas designated for shooting range purposes.

    E. Farmers engaged in "normal agricultural operation" protecting their "agricultural commodity" from animal predators ....

    F. Members of any organization incorporated under laws of this Commonwealth engaged in target shooting upon the grounds or property belonging to or under the control of such organization or affiliated club, such as the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc.

    Full case text:

     

    jef955

    Active Member
    Feb 26, 2011
    761
    Maryland
    The thing that strikes me the wrong way with all of this, is that this isn't apparently the only time this has happened. If anyone here follows the Youtube channel duelist1954, he's also in the middle of a suit involving a township that ordered him to stop shooting on his own property - in a much more rural area. He has no issues with any direct neighbors, and an "acting" township code enforcement officer is the one who ordered him to stop shooting on his own property based on the fact he doesn't live there - his house is close by from what he's said. His case is still working it's way through the courts.
     

    fabsroman

    Ultimate Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    35,883
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    You know why ordinances like this get passed? They get passed because people do things that are unreasonable.

    Kind of like asking chat board members to come over and hunt deer on their 1/3 acre parcel in the city where 230 yards is all that separates their street from the street behind them, government owned land is behind them, a multiunit development is behind them, and at least 10 houses on their own street are within 150 yards of their backyard. Hey now, everybody come over and bow hunt these deer to non-existence.

    My parents are on 2/3 an acre in MoCo with parkland behind them, and a school, and neighbors all around them and they have some large bucks there. Would not dream of hunting their property because of the possible pitfalls, but I am sure others would.
     
    The thing that strikes me the wrong way with all of this, is that this isn't apparently the only time this has happened. If anyone here follows the Youtube channel duelist1954, he's also in the middle of a suit involving a township that ordered him to stop shooting on his own property - in a much more rural area. He has no issues with any direct neighbors, and an "acting" township code enforcement officer is the one who ordered him to stop shooting on his own property based on the fact he doesn't live there - his house is close by from what he's said. His case is still working it's way through the courts.
    I think I know what you're talking about and, if correct, the property in question is not habitable and butts up against a "special" type of state-owned land (sanctuary of sorts?) in York County.
    If it is what I'm thinking of, it was the law prior to him buying the land, yet he assumed he could do as he pleased once purchased.
    NOTE- There are three caveats in my post above as to whether this is the case I am thinking of.
     

    fabsroman

    Ultimate Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    35,883
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    The thing that strikes me the wrong way with all of this, is that this isn't apparently the only time this has happened. If anyone here follows the Youtube channel duelist1954, he's also in the middle of a suit involving a township that ordered him to stop shooting on his own property - in a much more rural area. He has no issues with any direct neighbors, and an "acting" township code enforcement officer is the one who ordered him to stop shooting on his own property based on the fact he doesn't live there - his house is close by from what he's said. His case is still working it's way through the courts.
    Does the 2A give you the right to shoot on your own property? I don't think so.

    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    I am pretty sure that the 2nd Amendment allows us to possess firearms, not shoot them wherever we feel like.

    Regardless, it will be interesting to see what happens with this case you are following.
     

    jef955

    Active Member
    Feb 26, 2011
    761
    Maryland
    I think I know what you're talking about and, if correct, the property in question is not habitable and butts up against a "special" type of state-owned land (sanctuary of sorts?) in York County.
    If it is what I'm thinking of, it was the law prior to him buying the land, yet he assumed he could do as he pleased once purchased.
    NOTE- There are three caveats in my post above as to whether this is the case I am thinking of.
    He did a couple videos explaining the case in much more detail - and I beleive you're correct that it's in York county.
     

    jef955

    Active Member
    Feb 26, 2011
    761
    Maryland
    Does the 2A give you the right to shoot on your own property? I don't think so.

    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    I am pretty sure that the 2nd Amendment allows us to possess firearms, not shoot them wherever we feel like.

    Regardless, it will be interesting to see what happens with this case you are following.
    I think you summed it up better than I did, but it just gives me pause to move, buy/build whatever, and have some crap like this happen..
     

    fabsroman

    Ultimate Member
    Mar 14, 2009
    35,883
    Winfield/Taylorsville in Carroll
    I think you summed it up better than I did, but it just gives me pause to move, buy/build whatever, and have some crap like this happen..
    I moved to Howard County believing that I would be able to shoot on my own 1.75 acre property. Granted, not really firearms, but at least pellet guns. Sadly, I did not check the Howard County ordinances before we moved from MoCo and even shooting a pellet gun in the county, even on 1,000 acres, was not legal for target practice. No target practice allowed unless at a shooting range.

    Again, I am really happy here in Carroll. However, that will change over time. As more transplants move here, there is bound to be one or two people that are unreasonable with their shooting and BOOM, the rest of us get screwed. They call it progress.
     

    jef955

    Active Member
    Feb 26, 2011
    761
    Maryland
    Or at least provide proper paragraph separation on your long as F*** postings. :innocent0
    :poke:

    Edit: not directed at Inigoes, I mistakenly “replied” rather than simply adding a post to the thread. Apologies.
    Sorry it came out the way it did - it wouldn't let me modify anything when I copied/pasted, I noticed it didn't look quite right either, but I didn't want to just paste a link to his newsletter either..
     

    jef955

    Active Member
    Feb 26, 2011
    761
    Maryland
    I moved to Howard County believing that I would be able to shoot on my own 1.75 acre property. Granted, not really firearms, but at least pellet guns. Sadly, I did not check the Howard County ordinances before we moved from MoCo and even shooting a pellet gun in the county, even on 1,000 acres, was not legal for target practice. No target practice allowed unless at a shooting range.

    Again, I am really happy here in Carroll. However, that will change over time. As more transplants move here, there is bound to be one or two people that are unreasonable with their shooting and BOOM, the rest of us get screwed. They call it progress.
    Yeah, seems like a cancer that never stops mestastitising (I probably slaughtered the spelling of that). In addition to downsizing a good bit, I've also bought a couple supressors, and had Walt Frear do a lot of threading for me. The more of a low key I can keep at home the better I figure. Of course, I'm looking to move to the sticks, so hopefully I croak before the idiots find me and move next door !! Zoning, municipalities, and all that are all things I'm looking to avoid.
     

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