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PA Bill Number: HB2957

Title: In firearms and other dangerous articles, providing for sale or transfer of high-power firearm ammunition; and, in Commonwealth services, further ...

Description: In firearms and other dangerous articles, providing for sale or transfer of high-power firearm ammunition; and, in Commonwealth services, further ... ...

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Last Action Date: Oct 30, 2020

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Judge Rules Zoning Rule Doesn't Violate Second Amendment :: 09/25/2020

In this day and age, it seems like everyone is out after the Second Amendment. Local, state, and federal officials all seem to be gunning for our right to keep and bear arms. No pun intended. OK, maybe a little bit intended.

Anyway, it seems like everyone is after the Second Amendment and those who believe in it.

Which is likely what sparked the lawsuit against Howell Township after their vote scuttled a planned gun range.

However, a federal judge saw things a bit differently.

A federal judge ruled Howell Township did not violate gun owners’ constitutional rights when township planners denied a request to amend a local ordinance that could have allowed a new outdoor gun range on property in the township.

Oakland Tactical Supply and five gun owners filed a federal lawsuit against the township in November 2018. In 2017, Oakland Tactical Supply owner Mike Paige filed an application to amend the township’s zoning ordinance to allow a 1,000-yard outdoor shooting range and other amenities on about 350 acres on Fleming Road. It would have been called Premier Precision Park.

The land, an abandoned gravel pit, is currently zoned for agricultural and residential uses.

Paige planned to build an outdoor range, conference center, restaurant, trout fishery and swimming beach on the land, which he is leasing.

Connecticut Second Amendment attorney Martha Dean, who is representing Paige and five others in the suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, argued the zoning ordinance creates an effective ban on outdoor shooting ranges and violates the Second Amendment.

The judge, as noted, saw things quite differently.

U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman dismissed the lawsuit Sept. 10.

Friedman concluded local governments are not required to permit shooting ranges anywhere within a particular zoning district, and the township is not banning ranges because they are allowed on land zoned for highway service commercial uses.

“In the present case, the requested amendment was so expansive that it would have applied not only to Oakland Tactical’s 352-acre parcel but to the entire (agricultural and residential) district, which comprises 13,500 acres (21 square miles) or 65% or more of the township’s land,” Friedman wrote in his order dismissing the suit.

In other words, it’s not a Second Amendment violation.

I hate to say it, but the judge has a point. Plus, I can see legitimate safety reasons to restrict zoning on an outdoor gun range. I’ve seen some real stupidity on ranges. I’ve damn near been shot due to other people’s stupidity on ranges. It’s not difficult to understand why a city wouldn’t want ranges in certain parts of town.

That’s not a Second Amendment issue.

Oh, you can criticize zoning laws all day long if you’re so inclined and I’d likely join in with you. I hate the idea of someone not being able to do what they want with their own property. Property rights should be respected.

But that doesn’t make this a Second Amendment issue. The judge got this one right, which I’m sure a lot of people won’t agree with, but I’m used to that by this point in my life.

Tom Knighton is a Navy veteran, a former newspaperman, a novelist, and a blogger and lifetime shooter. He lives with his family in Southwest Georgia. He's also the host of Unloaded TV on YouTube. https://bearingarms.com/author/tomknighton/

https://bearingarms.com/tom-k/2020/09/24/zoning-rule-doesnt-violate-2a/