Amish Man Turned Away From Gun Dealer

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An Amish man filed a federal suit in Pennsylvania last week because he was not allowed to purchase a gun without proper photo identification, according to The Washington Post.

In the Amish tradition, practicing members cannot have their photo taken. According to the suit, Andrew Hertzler, the plaintiff, “has a sincerely held religious belief that prevents him from knowingly and willingly having his photography taken and stored.”

The case, as The Post points out, highlights the tension between the Second Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, which was established to avoid cases such as this. Hertzler, in order to enjoy his Second Amendment rights, would have to violate his faith.

“The exercise of one Constitutional right cannot be contingent upon the violation or waiver of another,” the suit reads.

According to the report, Hertzler is from Lancaster County, Pa., and is an active member of the community.

Hertzler tried to buy again over the summer from a local dealer. He was using a non-photo, state-issued identification. The dealer told him he is required to have a photo-ID.

So, Hertzler took the case to his Senator, Sen. Pat Toomey, who passed the case on to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Toomey heard back from the ATF and sent Hertzler the following response: “As the enclosed response [from the ATF] states, Federal firearm laws require photo identification when purchasing a firearm.There are no exceptions to this federal requirement.”

The Amish have been filing suits for decades in attempt to get religious exemptions. In a 1972 landmark case, the Supreme Court held the Amish could be exempt from education laws on religious grounds.

According to the suit, Hertzler wants to use the gun for hunting in order to provide for his community. Members of the Amish community do not serve in military combat or law enforcement.