Andrew Hertzler, an Amish man has recently filed a federal lawsuit in the State of Pennsylvania that conjoined the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) with the 2nd Amendment.
Mr. Hertzler, stated in his suit, resides in Lancaster County, PA, and is an “active and practicing” member of the Amish community. Continuing on his bloodline that his grandparents, parents, and his brothers and sisters that all practice the Amish faith. He said “has a sincerely held religious belief that prevents him from knowingly and willingly having his photograph taken and stored.”
One excerpt of the lawsuit reads “The Amish faith prohibits an individual from having his/her photograph taken, this belief stems from the Biblical passage Exodus 20:4, which mandates that ‘You shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth,’ as well as the Christian belief in humility.”
Mr. Hertzler dilemma occurred back in June when he was attempting to buy a firearm from a local gun dealer while using his non-photo, state-issued identification. The dealer would not let Freedom reign and told Hertzler that his state-issued identification had to have a picture on it.
Hertzler followed the chain of command and contacted his Senator, Pat Toomey (R) but he just passed the buck and handed it off to the ATF, and not even try to help his constituent.
Toomey finally wrote back “As the enclosed response [from the ATF] states, Federal firearm laws require photo identification when purchasing a firearm, and there are no exceptions to this federal requirement.”
Hertzler was stuck with a choice, in order to enjoy his Human Right to keep and bear arms that is supposed to be protected under the Second Amendment, then he would have to breach his faith.
The choice of giving up his rights to have the weapon of his choosing for the defense of himself, his family, and his home, was not and option and neither would violating his religion. The exercise of one Constitutional right cannot be contingent upon the violation or waiver of another.
The lawsuit also included, “By knowingly and willingly sitting for a photograph, even for a state-issued identification document, Mr. Hertzler would be violating his religion by taking a graven image of himself. Thus, Mr. Hertzler’s religious freedom has been substantially burdened — in order to exercise his fundamental right to possess a firearm for defense of himself and his home, the Government is requiring him to violate a major tenet of his sincerely held religious belief.”
Fighting for religious exemptions is nothing new to the Amish, they have been in and out of court for several years. While winning some and losing some cases, one that was most remembered was a 1972 case where the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that they were allowed to exempt themselves from education laws on religious grounds. Hertzler’s only hope for a victory solely depends on if the judge decides that his right to exercise his freedom of religion trumps the government’s requirement to having a photo on your state issued identification to purchase an inanimate object for self defense.
The Supreme Court hasn’t had to rule on religious exemptions for photo ID’s for drivers’ licenses or voter ID. The lower courts have usually been willing to recognize photo identification as a compelling purpose that overrules religious claims. A Congressional Research Service study of the issue has found that to provide a photo identification is “applied uniformly and without exemption.”
Lancaster online columnist Gil Smart wrote, “At a time when there’s been such a loud clamor to ‘do something’ about guns — and ‘doing something’ always involves more restrictions — if the courts agree with Hertzler, it will ultimately amount to fewer restrictions. Although I don’t think we have to worry too much about the Amish and gun crime — unless, maybe, they’re the victims.”
In Illinois, Douglas County Sheriff Charlie McGrew stated that after the change in the state law that required the Amish to have photo identification to purchase guns back in 2011. “A lot of the Amish hunt and they usually use squirrel or rabbit rifles to bring some food back home. Their big concern is this means they won’t be able to purchase guns or ammo.”
Mr. Hertzler’s defense is clear, Freedom of Religion and his right to bear arms should protect both sides of his argument. If hell freezes over and the court caves then the case law could be used again and again in future cases where the almighty government has stifled freedoms. But then again, the Supreme Law of the Land, the tattered and torn U.S. Constitution is constantly disregarded in the defense of the people who it was authored for. His defense team has been found, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince at princelaw.com and their Facebook page . Give them a like and a thank you for Fighting for our Right to self defense by standing strong with the 2nd Amendment.
By Andre’ Gabriel Esparza – DontComply.com
A Pro Liberty, Pro Freedom, Human Rights Activist, very involved in a wide variety of Activism and Exposing the Truth at all costs.
Just but a used gun….problem solved.
The constitution apparently no longer applies in this country.
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