PA Bill Number: HB102
Title: In hunting and furtaking licenses, further providing for eligibility for license.
Description: In hunting and furtaking licenses, further providing for eligibility for license. ...
Last Action: Signed in Senate
Last Action Date: May 28, 2020
Pennsylvania Primary Election - 06/2/2020
Pennsylvania 501 N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA
Pennsylvania Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally - 06/8/2020
Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex 501 N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA
FOAC Monthly Meeting - 06/14/2020
South Fayette Township Municipal Bldg. 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan, PA
Gun dealer sues over Athens-Clarke shelter-in-place ordinance :: 03/26/2020
An Athens gun store owner is suing the Athens-Clarke County government over its emergency shelter-in-place ordinance, calling it “an abuse of police power.”
Lawyers for Clyde Armory owner Andrew Clyde say the ordinance violates the U.S. and state constitutions.
“There is no rational basis that requires gun stores to cease their business operations,” argue lawyers Mo Wiltshire and Kevin Epps in their brief on behalf of Clyde, filed Tuesday in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court.
Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz reacted with scorn to the lawsuit.
“While residents of Athens pull together to protect the health and welfare of everyone in the region, we will not be distracted by wasteful filings that lack legal standing. As I carry my banana peels and coffee grounds to my compost heap, I have room for this too,” he said in an email.
Clyde is also a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Georgia’s ultra-conservative District 9, where Doug Collins is stepping down to run for one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats.
The ordinance allows businesses designated “essential” to remain open, though they must continue to observe social distancing, keeping people six feet away from each other to limit the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which has killed 40 people in Georgia, according to the noon Wednesday update from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The gun dealer’s lawyers are asking Athens-Clarke County Superior Court Judge Patrick Haggard to issue an emergency injunction stopping enforcement of the ordinance and a judgment declaring it unconstitutional.
Haggard has not yet scheduled a hearing as of Wednesday afternoon, and Athens-Clarke County has not yet responded with its legal answer to the complaint.
Although gun stores are not listed as an essential business in the emergency ordinance the Athens-Clarke Commission enacted March 19, they are included in a list of essential businesses allowed to remain open that Athens-Clarke staff issued Monday, however.
The gun store and other businesses and their employees “will suffer irreparable injury” from the ordinance, Clyde Armory argues, and that injury outweighs any harm to Athens-Clarke County if the judge orders that the ordinance can’t be enforced.
“The Shelter in Place Ordinance is in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection guarantees of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Georgia because there is no rational basis that requires gun stores to cease their business operations,” wrote Epps and Wiltshire.
Athens-Clarke Manager Blaine Williams and Athens-Clarke Attorney Judd Drake are also named as defendants because they are responsible for enforcing the ordinance, adopted unanimously by the Athens-Clarke County Commission last week.
According to Clyde’s lawyers, the shelter-in-place ordinance’s “overly broad and vague” language allows the the government to arbitrarily decide which businesses are considered “essential” and exempt from the ordinance.
The ordinance says that Clarke County businesses not considered essential “are required to cease all activities at facilities” within Athens-Clarke County, while “essential businesses are strongly encouraged to remain open.”
A long list of exempted essential businesses in the ordinance includes grocery stores, laundromats, transportation providers and a number of others.
Closing gun stores has the same effect as a handgun ban, Clyde maintains, because it “interferes with an individual’s right to self-defense.”
Gun stores serve the same function as other businesses in one of the categories of essential businesses exempted because they are necessary to maintain the safety of residences.
Andrew Clyde made headlines last year when he got a federal bill passed with his name on it, limiting the power of the Internal Revenue Service to seize property in the absence of criminal wrongdoing. The IRS had seized nearly $1 million in bank deposits they said were suspicious. Investigators found no criminal activity, and Clyde got most of his money back.