Here’s an interesting First Amendment case with Second Amendment ramifications:
An Amish resident of central Pennsylvania is challenging the photo identification requirement to purchase a firearm, saying his religious beliefs prevent him from being photographed.
PennLive.com reports that Andrew Hertzler argues in a suit filed Friday in U.S. Middle District Court that the requirement violates his religious freedom and his constitutional right to possess a firearm.
Hertzler said his beliefs as a member of an Amish community in Lancaster County bar photographs being taken of him, but he was prohibited from buying a gun in June for self-defense purposes.
The lawsuit said Hertzler could get a federal firearms license to deal in guns without a photograph but has no desire to do that. He contends that the state’s non-photo ID along with other documentation should be sufficient.
Requiring Hertzler to get a gun dealer’s license as a workaround to obtain a firearm is absurd, and the government should make reasonable accommodation for Hertzler and other Amish gun purchasers who have well-known Second Commandment (“thou shall make no graven image”) prohibitions against appearing in photographs.
The Amish avoid most 20th century technologies as being incompatible with an austere lifestyle which they believe draws them closer to God, but as firearms are a much older technology—semi-automatics were created in the 1880s—they use firearms to hunting and provide meat for their agrarian lifestyle. Hertlzer appears to be Lancaster-affiliated Amish, which does all the limited use of some technologies, including propane gas for heat, indoor plumbing with running water, and pneumatic tools.