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In the opinion of just about everyone in the Democrat party, the idea of asking someone to display a photo ID in order to cast a vote is a thinly veiled racist attempt to intimidate and disenfranchise low income and minority voters. But ssk them whether you should have to show a photo ID in order to purchase a gun — which, unlike voting, is a Constitutionally protected enumerated right — they’re all for it. Somehow they don’t see that as a racist attempt to disarm low income Americans. Now, however, one Pennsylvania man is challenging that requirement on an interesting premise: he’s Amish, and having his photograph taken is against his religion . . .

From Penn Live:

Andrew Hertzler claims in a suit filed Friday in U.S. Middle District Court that the requirement is a violation of his constitutional right to possess a firearm and of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Defendants are the federal government, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James B. Comey and Thomas E. Brandon and Christopher C. Shaffer, acting director and assistant director of public and government affairs, respectively, for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives.

Hertzler states he is an active member of the Amish faith and community in Lancaster County with a sincerely held religious belief that prohibits photographs being taken of him.

The suit states Hertzler on June 2 was not allowed to purchase a gun for self-defense purposes at a Pennsylvania licensed firearms dealer with his state-issued non-photo ID.

He is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm, he notes.

This will be an interesting case to watch. There’s a definite double standard in the logic being used by gun control activists here. Requiring an ID in one situation is clearly racist, but requiring one for another (better protected, Constitutionally speaking) activity is perfectly fine. Given the way the courts are ruling these days the result on this case is up in the air thanks to the religious angle. If it were a straight challenge on the constitutionality of the process I’d see it laughed out of court, but the desire to bend over backwards to accommodate the “politically correct” culture of religious tolerance may give it a fighting chance. We shall see.

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277 COMMENTS

      • You are wrong in that…..An interpretation is needed to even gurantee regular citizens the right to vote…..If you want to play the only what it says game…Then no person has the right ot own one…only a Militia

        • Nowhere does the 2A say the rkba is related to the militia. It makes a statement that a well-regulated militia is needed, and then says the right of the people to keep and bear shall not be infringed. Nothing more.

        • If you want to play the only what it says game…Then no person has the right ot own one…only a Militia

          What is so difficult to understand about this clause: …the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The right applies to the people not to the militia. The grammar and sentence structure are plain. The effectiveness of the militia to serve its purpose is dependent upon upholding the inherent, pre-existing right of the people to keep and bear arms.

    • Since amendments have been required three times in the history of the Constitution to expand the franchise, it is self-evident that voting is not a Constitutional right, except in the cases of those groups specifically named. It’s not a Constitutional right, for example, for people under 18. It used to not be a Constitutional right for people under 21, or women, or blacks, or people who didn’t own land, etc.

      The right to keep and bear arms has never been so Constitutionally limited.

      • I really wish we could go back to being a land owner as a requirement to vote. People who have the most skin in the game care the most about the outcomes.

        • I disagree. Freeloaders care – they care very much that your wealth be “redistributed” to them.

          I know that sounds very elitist, but its very true. There is a tipping point in a society when 51% of the people realize they can vote themselves the wealth of the other 49%. After that there’s no coming back in a true democracy.

          Its just another reason I’m grateful we are a constitutional republic, NOT a democracy.

        • So those of us apartment dwellers have no right to vote? I can’t afford to buy a house or land currently, so until I do, I have rights taken away? So much for freedom.

        • This is for Jon in CO, actually – Participating in a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) might be the side door to getting some skin in the game. Barristers in residence? A response, please?

        • Ethan, I just wanted to say, you’re 100% right- my old man would say it all the time and still does.

          It’s only a matter of time, and I mean LITERALLY, a matter of time in which the clock is ticking, until a majority and by that I mean a voting 51% majority realizes, we can make laws, we can amend the Constitution, we can do whatever we want. All we need to do is get our own people in charge, and then say, “We resolve to put forth this bill (aka make a law) that says, all government money is paid out to us, …..” lets get a little sinister here…. because it’s possible—-> all (people of one race/color) are hereby taxed 75% and all that money is given to people of (different race/color).

          It sounds ridiculous, but with the way society is going and this whole Occupy This/Our Lives Matter But Yours Don’t/”democratic” socialism-communism/wealth redistribution/etc……. it’s only a matter of time.

          I’d rather it come now, frankly, while I’m young enough to do something about it and contribute to the Good Guys but probably won’t be another 50-100 years….. however, it’s coming.

        • State govs should determine their representation in the state’s house (senate), taxpayers in the peoples’ house (house of reps). States have been denied representation in Congress since 1913.

        • We’d be far better off returning to the original model, in which state legislatures elected US Senators. The Senators represent the States, not the people of the States.

        • I’d be good with that, if only property owners were allowed in state legislatures.

          BTW, that doesn’t just mean land; business owners would count, too, so long as their incomes were above, say, the federal poverty level,

      • Four times, actually (14th, 15th, 19th, and 26th), however this doesn’t prove your (or Nick’s) point; voting is an enumerated (meaning specifically named) right. It has a lot more specific definition on the limitations allowed/disallowed given to it than most other Constitutionally enumerated rights, but that does not mean that it is less important or less existent.
        Now, since there are specific restrictions applied to the right to vote by the Constitution, it seems that reasonable steps should be taken to enforce those restrictions. This is where voter ID laws come into play; only with positive identification can you have any confidence that a given person is over 18 and a citizen.
        Since there is no constitutional restriction (and, indeed, no Federal restriction) on foreign nationals possessing guns, positive identification is not necessary for that purpose, at least. I think this Amish guy has a better argument than most for his case. He should be able to produce reliable witnesses to his identity and that should be good enough for the FFL’s purposes.

      • “It’s not a Constitutional right, for example, for people under 18. It used to not be a Constitutional right for people under 21, or women, or blacks, or people who didn’t own land, etc.

        The right to keep and bear arms has never been so Constitutionally limited.”

        I see what you’re saying, but the Constitution never limited voting rights by gender, race, or property.

      • If you want to play the schematics game then yes it has…and technically still is….The constitutional only gave the rights to a well regulated militia. It never gave it to the average citizen…That is just something that many reasonable people interpreted to be the intention of the framers…but it is unknown….For all we know Washington and Jefferson could have said nope you are wrong all these years

        • The constitutional only gave the rights to a well regulated militia. It never gave it to the average citizen…

          Please quote the part of the constitution that asserts that the militia has the right to keep and bear arms. My copy of the constitution says that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

        • The constitutional only gave the rights to a well regulated militia.

          Nope. First of all, it didn’t GIVE the right to anyone. I recognized a pre-existing right and guarantees that the federal government couldn’t take it away. Second of all, it recognizes the right belongs to the people. Thirid of all, as regards militias, they are assembled and disbanded as required. You can’t do that without the people having arms.

          For all we know Washington and Jefferson could have said nope you are wrong all these years

          Read the writings of the founding fathers. They were very clear on this.

    • The Constitution stipulates a number of reasons that may not be used to deny the right to vote. It does not make voting inalienable. Contrast that with ” shall not be infringed”.

    • There is no (enumerated) Federal Constitutional right to vote. Some state Constitutions do specifically say it is, however, which is the reason why there are various amendments that refer to it.

  1. Funny this reminds me of a movie, “Holyman Undercover” where an Amish Christian is sent on a mission to find his uncle in the ‘big city’ and instead of a photo (because they don’t take them) is given a crude line drawing. We should let this guy draw his own picture.

    • The problem with that is that in the Amish faith the belief is that they can not make a graven image. So drawings would still be considered a sin in their eyes. Even dolls in the Amish community don’t have faces.

  2. THAT’S RIGHT B_TCHES!!! CAN’T VOTE WITHOUT PICTURE I.D., err, oh wait POS (D)’s don’t care if you are American and want to give you the right to vote illegally, at which time they could make the request to own a firearm by AMISH Dude #1, Party in the first Part, but they don’t want Party in the first part from obtaining the firearm otherwise.

    FU satan’s evil army of blue (D).

    • Wow.. that kind of rhetoric is NOT helpful. Gun rights are not a republican thing – republican’s just happen to support them more often.

      You’re blending your issues, please stop.

        • Nothing wrong with a good rant, just as there’s nothing wrong with sarcasm, which some liberals regard as “cruel”.
          Best rant of the day, owing to the fact it’s the only rant of the day…

      • Gun rights are not a republican thing

        Yes they are (and Libertarian, etc.). I can show you the Democrat platform to prove it. If you think I’m wrong and you’re right, you show me the Democrat platform proving you are right.

      • From the Democrat party’s own website, democrats.org go to the platforms and find this:

        “We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements—like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole….”

        In my mind, that’s infringement of my rights. The Democrat party is evil. Simple as that.

      • The Republican Party certainly has a tarnished record regarding the 2A but they are not the clear and present danger to the 2A. They have certainly never been anywhere near as rabid for gun control that would proceed confiscation as the Democrats. Democrats including a front runner for POTUS are aggressively trying to subvert the Constitution while calling the NRA terrorists. Some Democrats have already gone past that and stated all gun owners are terrorists.

        I am not a Republican (but much closer to than a Democrat) but how can you not think this insane attack on gun rights is not a product of the Democrats? Also, you may not find the rhetoric helpful but it would be far from the first time that the harsh truth did not prove to be helpful to someone and the world still turns..

        The narcissistic childish leader of the party that has never stopped campaigning long enough to govern, the one that currently sits in the White House has completely lost his shit over not getting to put useless/symbolic/unconstitutional gun control on the books for his lame duck legacy. But him being Democrat has nothing to do with it?

    • This…

      He’s “white”, christian, and male… The left wing of the Supreme Court will sweep him under the rug. After all, lately, men don’t even have the right to due process or the presumption of innocence anymore thanks to SJWs and Femminazis.

    • The Amish are….different. They get a certain amount of social love for being quaint and peaceable and strange to most modern Americans. They can be white Christian men, but they are still their own kind of minority. It’s hard to explain.

      Best example is when that nutter shot their little girls. There is talk of forgiveness and then there is true forgiveness – we saw the latter there, and see how that contrasts with the responses to crime that we see on a regular basis. People don’t understand the mentality, and so they can only hope to preserve it as a link to a better past.

  3. I don’t think he’ll be able to ride RFRA very far since the RFRA doesn’t treat sincerely held religious beliefs as uninfringable.

    It’ll get waved off as the “least restrictive” means of furthering a “compelling state interest”.

  4. My grandfather voted Republican up until the day he died, then he voted Democrat.

    If you want to see Hillary at one of her events (and not sure why you would), they ask for an ID to get in. They ask for an ID when you go to the doctor too, just to make sure you’re not using someone’s insurance other than your own. The ID thing is such a transparent attempt to rig voting.

    Democrat motto: If you can’t win an election based on your track record and policies, cheat.

  5. A rather novel argument given that it would be a violation of his religion to anything in defense of himself or someone else that inflicts harm in the attacker.

      • No, sir. Once this man walks into court and demands an exemption from the law that the rest of us have to follow, and claims his religion as the basis for that exemption, then that doctrine and his interpretation of it become matters of fact to be determined by the trial jury.

        Otherwise, anyone could just claim anything is their religion, reserve exemptions for themselves and nobody else could challenge them.

        This guy’s claim is ludicrous on its face, anyway. He ought to be subjected to stern questioning and perhaps should expect some public ridicule.

        • “then that doctrine and his interpretation of it become matters of fact to be determined by the trial jury”

          No, that’s not how religious exceptions work. And we have a rich history of them in the United States. President (formerly General) George Washington wrote to the Annual Meeting of Quakers in 1789, commending them as “exemplary and useful citizens” and praising them despite their “declining to share with others the burden of the common defense”.

          “This guy’s claim is ludicrous on its face, anyway.”

          Again, no. It’s debatable, but it’s hardly ludicrous. It could easily be derived from a plain reading of “shall not be infringed”.

        • Good point, BDub. I hadn’t thought of that.

          Twency, afraid not. Religious exceptions must be based on a reasonable interpretation of a bona fide religion. Even then, there are no guarantees.

          Assuming such a thing existed, the government is not going to let you run around carrying a light saber, just because you call yourself a Jedi. You cannot do that legally with a steel saber, claiming a Christian exemption, even though swords are referred to repeatedly and favorably throughout the Bible, including among Jesus’ retinue.

          For crying out loud, you don’t get to engage in some boisterous airing of grievances and feats of strength in public without risking a possible disorderly conduct charge, just because you claim Festivus is legitimate.

    • This self-defense issue is nonsense. He may be buying a long-arm for hunting or target shooting. Or, just because it is his right. He has no need whatsoever to claim an intention to use it for self-defense; nor, to claim that he intends to prepare for muster for militia duty. Why introduce a spurious issue?

  6. Interesting to see where that goes.. Why would he need a modern gun anyway? Shouldn’t he be buying a sling shot or bow?

    I don’t have an issue with background checks personally.
    I live in Alabama (very fun friendly state) and have to do a background check for every stripped lower I buy. (I still think that blows goats as much as the NFA papers for my can)
    But I don’t really have an issue with a check for buying a functioning firearm for CMA purposes.
    Honestly, I’ve never bought a gun and not had a check ran. Only had to experience a ‘cool down’ period once when I was 19 or 21 (can’t remember) with my first pistol; which actually pissed me off. Heh
    10 mins to fill out a form and a 3 min phone call and yur out the door.

    What bothers me more is any and every time a cop sees my permit he uses it as an excuse to try to search my car and handle my pistol, even if it’s locked in the glove box.

    • Interesting to see where that goes.. Why would he need a modern gun anyway? Shouldn’t he be buying a sling shot or bow?

      Maybe because he lives in 2015, and not in 515? Why should he not avail himself of the most effective tool available to provide for his self-defense?

      I don’t have an issue with background checks personally.

      Would you take issue with background checks for voting? Or speaking?

      And what, pray tell, do background checks accomplish?

      • “And what, pray tell, do background checks accomplish?”

        With our current prosecution rate? Not much. If we actually enforced the NICS system like it was meant to be, I think it would help to a small degree. Its still not worth it though – “Shall not be infringed” and all…

      • What background checks should accomplish is to allow a seller to decide whether the prospective buyer is someone he wants to sell to. Hence, it should be open to everyone.

        It irks me that for years the Democrats have opposed making NICS open to anyone, but now they want to force it on everyone.

    • Yeah, in most cases they have the infringement time pass pretty quickly. It isn’t the time that is infringing so much, it is the underlying assumptions.

  7. Oh bull.

    This guy should have no more right to flout the law because he thinks his beliefs make him special than the women who want to wear a full burka in their driver’s license pictures for the same reason.

    You, Nick, are conflating two completely unrelated issues solely to rile up the self righteous Fox News buyers around here in order to cash in on their persecution complex-based click rates.

    It’s disingenuous, smarmy and is something that used to be beneath you.

      • Because we live in 2015, not 1791 and the infringement ship sailed a long time ago. The NRA estimates that there are over 30,000 infringements to 2A in place in this country. I don’t like that anymore than you do, but arguing about one more kind of lacks impact.

        And I don’t think having to show ID is an infringement anyway. It doesn’t bother me to show an ID to buy a gun. How do you know if a person is law-abiding if you don’t know who he is? Keep in mind there are some other religions, more dangerous ones, who claim the “no picture” thing also.

        • How do you know if a person is law-abiding if you don’t know who he is?

          It is not the law-abiding person’s burden to prove that he is law-abiding. He enjoys the presumption of innocence.

          Keep in mind there are some other religions, more dangerous ones, who claim the “no picture” thing also.

          Indeed. And photo ID requirements and background checks do absolutely nothing to prevent such people from obtaining firearms.

        • Your logic is…..OK it isn’t, logical that is.
          Wow, since there are unconstitutional infringements, why worry about more? OK sure, next only Leo’s, elected officials, or those given authority by selected for officials shall be allowed the rkba. Just a other infringement, right? That ship sailed long ago.
          Just because your chains don’t bother you doesn’t mean others share your views.

        • You sound just like all the people yesterday, who were ok with a BGC on non-NFA silencers, just because there already is one under the NFA – except this is more egregious still. The yoke is no less cumbersome because you have grown used to the weight.

        • John: They know who he is. He has a state issued ID card, sans photo. That ID is as common here for the Amish, and some Mennonites, as chicken corn soup and shoo fly pie. They have already established his identity – that is not at issue here.

        • JohnF wrote on October 27, 2015 at 15:39 hours:

          “And I don’t think having to show ID is an infringement anyway.”

          He _did_ “show an ID”: a state-issued ID, no less:

          “…Hertzler…was not allowed to purchase a gun for self-defense purposes at a Pennsylvania licensed firearms dealer with his state-issued non-photo ID.”

          But the ATF requires that there be a photo on the ID, even if the state doesn’t.

          If no photo ID is needed or required to vote, then it’s unconstitutional to require one to exercise RKBA.

        • So we need to actually get back to the 2A. In the mean time all the religious whack-a-doodles have to follow the same rules as the rest of America.

      • AC/DC – the founding fathers of the U.S. took up this project with incredible, indelible, visible, complete deference to my GOD (meaning, from what I know of them, I believe we shared belief in the same one). They founded the U.S. in shrinking-awe, and “Fear of the Lord”. No one will ever be able to change that.

        Further, nowhere is it written in any of our founding documents that we should have separation of ‘Church and State’ but even if it was IT WOULD STILL NOT BE IN THE PURVIEW OF THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, OR THE POWERS OR AUTHORITIES OF ANY OF IT’S EMBODYING CITIZENS TO REDUCE MY INITIAL STATEMENT TO THAT OF SUPERSTITION.

        We get that you don’t fit-in, you’re angry about it and you don’t know why. You lash-out at Amish people and people of faith, we get it. We just want you to know that you can un-f_ck yourself at any time.

        • Egads Joe (diRt), you are a complete illiterate who can’t even read The Constitution The FFs tolerated you ignorants as a convenience, nothing more.

        • “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religious, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.” Patrick Henry 1776

          “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.” The US Congress 1782

          “Let…statesmen and patriots unite their endeavors to renovate the age by…educating their little boys and girls…and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” – Samuel Adams

          “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scripture ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evil men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” – Noah Webster

          “I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am perfectly satisfied that the Union of the States in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Devine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testaments.” – Benjamin Rush

          “There is not a truth to be gathered form history more certain, or more momentous, than this: that civil liberty cannot long be separated from religious liberty without danger, and ultimately without destruction to both. Wherever religious liberty exists, it will, first or last, bring in and establish political liberty.” – Joseph Story, Congressman and Supreme Court Justice

  8. So, if he wins (big if) in this day and age of identity politics, I think I will “identify” as Amish, but only when present in a gun store or a gun show.

  9. A law cannot give preferential treatment over another on the basis of religion. This is literally in the First Amendment of the Constitution, which I guess the Amish guy (and many of the commentors here) haven’t read.

    Unless he is trying to remove the photo ID requirement for everyone in the US? In which case, good luck with that.

    • A law cannot give preferential treatment over another on the basis of religion. This is literally in the First Amendment of the Constitution, which I guess the Amish guy hasn’t read.

      Or perhaps you’re the one who hasn’t read the first amendment? That, or you don’t know the definition of literally. Maybe both.

      In any case, neither the literal text of the first amendment, or its meaning, bears any resemblance to your statement. The first amendment says that the government may not establish a State religion, and may not pass no law that prohibits the free exercise of religion.

      Thus, if congress passes a law that forces someone to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs in order to follow, then the law is unconstitutional. I’ll be happy to cite several related Supreme Court cases that uphold the point.

        • A la requiring someone to violate his sincerely held religious beliefs in order to exercise an enumerated right is a violation of the establishment clause, because it gives preferential treatment to religions without those beliefs.

    • The law also can’t require someone to violate a religious belief to exercise a basic right. Without photo ID he cannot keep and bear arms according to the law. It’s not preferential treatment, it’s the fact that since the law forces him to choose between a right and his religious beliefs, it is unconstitutional. (Then the rest of the law is unconstitutional because it preferentially gives one person the ability to ignore it.)

    • Accept the Amish have a legal exemption to Social Security Taxes, and all churches are exempted from most taxes. I don’t agree with it, but it does shoot a hole in your argument.

  10. I live in Lancaster, PA, and have some Amish as friends. Many view them as one group, but there are numerous “Ordnung” – a German word for their “order” or the rules they follow. There is no central Amish church structure, so each local assembly is autonomous and locally governed, and some of the rules they live by vary based on what the elders decide. He probably wants the gun to hunt – there are a lot of Amish and Mennonites (there are Old Order Mennonites that can be mistaken for Amish) here that hunt. We call them the “Straw Hat Army” when they hit the woods in the fall. Self defense? Not so much – Anabaptist theology is pretty much pacifist across the board in. It’s pretty much universal that they don’t have photo ID, don’t vote or get involved in the politics of the “English” (that’s all of us by the way) and don’t like their picture taken.

  11. He will never win. If they allow this, then the floodgates will open for people to skirt around all sorts of government control based upon “religion.”

    • I believe that’s part of what makes the Bill of Rights work so well. They’re interlinked.

      Well, on the rare occasion that the government actually obeys it, that interlinking works well…

  12. ?? Amish people can’t even drive 1920’s cars – how can they own something complicated like a firearm? Shouldn’t he be sticking to horse drawn wagons, black and white outfits, etc? I’m not questioning his gun rights – everyone should be able to buy a gun without an ID; I’m questioning this religious concept.

        • Not even close. Mean time between failure? The model T is abysmal compared to the AR.
          Granted, you say a lot, without much knowledge to back any of your words. Typical.

        • Gotta keep that AR lubed up – just like the Steve Miller Band said: “…everything’s better when wet”

        • Paul G, Statements like this is where you demonstrate the true “depth” of your knowledge and “intellect”…

          A Model T turned about 1600 revs per minute. I’ve personally never seen an AR/M go 1600 rounds without a misfire/FTF, but let’s pretend…

          Let’s pretend they go 16,000 rounds – that’s a Model T running for a whole 10 minutes.

          Let’s pretend they go 160,000 rounds – that’s a Model T running a whopping 100 minutes. And there is NO AR/M platform that has done near 100K rounds without a full rebuild. Ever. They’re trashed by 10K.

          Seriously, do you really succeed with these type of uneducated arguments anywhere in life?

        • Cyclic rate does not translate into engine rpm. Only someone technically and mechanically inept would attempt such a comparison.

        • Oh really? Do explain the difference between a cyclic rate and a cyclic rate. I’m just dying to hear this tortured illogic tree…

        • A model T engine can do 1600 RPM and be providing no work. Comparing cyclic rates provides no meaningful measure of reliability. Similarly, an AR15 propels it’s payload at supersonic speed, as opposed to 45 mph. I am sorry if such ideas are too technical for you. Neither is a good measure. Service life perhaps? No contest, especially considering the increased pace of technology.

        • Except while running at 1600 RPM it was putting out 26HP+ of work. You just appear to be a 5th-grade dropout every time you post. You should really revisit middle-school as a prelim to getting you set for grown-up life in public.

          Had you actually learned your middle-school math, you’d know how to convert joules to HP with a time specification. The people who actually matter know this, or are googling right now. I feel so sorry for your parents.

        • Wrong. Out of gear, at 1600 rpm, that motor is doing zero work, and producing negligible horsepower. Odd that you mentioned 5th grade, I understood that in 5th grade. Guess you haven’t made it there yet.
          I guess they taught us better in the old days.