- WND - http://www.wnd.com -

Pennsylvania town sued for anti-gun zoning

The Second Amendment Foundation is suing a Pennsylvania town for allegedly trying to drive a gun range out of business.

Federal courts previously have ruled that many restrictions on gun ranges violate the U.S. Constitution.

Now the fight focuses on William Drummond, the owner of property on which the Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club has been located since 1967.

The case, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleges violations of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments by Robinson Township by “subverting the club’s operation.”

Cases against the gun range date back to 1993, when the township claimed the site was a nuisance. But it lost in court. A second attempt to take down the gun range was launched two years ago, and it also failed.

But now the gun range, under Drummond’s management since December 2017 via a lease, is having trouble again.

SAF ‘s lawsuit contends the new zoning restrictions have deprived Drummond and the members and other customers of their right to keep and bear arms in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

“This amounts to a local government attempting to drive a legal operation out of business through the use of zoning restrictions,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “There have been meetings about which Mr. Drummond was not informed, and we believe this has been done in order to close down the historic range operation.

SAF seeks a court order for the township to issue all the necessary permits for operation.

“We expect the federal court to bring an end to what appears to be a long running effort to shut down this range facility, and hold the township responsible for this nonsense.”

It was in 2017 that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Chicago’s efforts to restrict gun ranges.

The city has some of the tightest gun restrictions in the nation along with the worst gun violence. Last weekend, at least 28 people were shot there, including three who were killed.

WND reported in 2017 the appeals court struck down Chicago’s limits on the location of gun ranges.

The move came after the city lost the McDonald case at the Supreme Court in 2010 that affirmed an individual right to bear arms.

In response, the city imposed a requirement that gun owners practice at gun ranges and then proceeded to ban all gun ranges.

In the latest case, Chicago sought to restrict gun ownership by “an elaborate scheme of regulations governing shooting ranges,” according to the court opinion.

It included zoning restrictions that allowed gun ranges “only as special uses in manufacturing districts,” a prohibition on ranges within 500 feet of a residential district, school, place of worship or “multiple other uses” and a provision barring anyone under age 18 from entering a shooting range.

A three-judge panel on the appeals court said the restrictions aren’t constitutional.

“The two zoning regulations – the manufacturing-district classification and the distancing rule – dramatically limit the ability to site a shooting range within city limits. Under the combined effect of these two regulations, only 2.2 percent of the city’s total acreage is even theoretically available, and the commercial viability of any of these parcels is questionable – so much so that no shooting range yet exists,” the judges wrote.

“This severely limits Chicagoans’ Second Amendment right to maintain proficiency in firearm use via target practice at a range. To justify these barriers, the city raised only speculative claims of harm to public health and safety. That’s not nearly enough to survive the heightened scrutiny that applies to burdens on Second Amendment Rights,” the judges wrote.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion in McDonald v. Chicago that the “right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a [substantial] guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the states legislated in an evenhanded manner.”

The decision followed the 2008 Heller case in the District of Columbia that declared the Second Amendment to be an individual right. That case, however, pertained only to D.C. The McDonald case established the precedent nationwide.