Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Town's Ban On Gun Rages

The case still has a way to go before it’s finally decided, but Second Amendment supporters did win a big legal victory on Thursday when Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court of Appeals ruled that Stroud Township’s ban on home gun ranges violated the Second Amendment rights of a resident who had a private range on his property, but was forbidden from using it after the ban took effect in 2011.

A trial court originally ruled in favor of the township, but the Court of Appeals sent the case back to the judge with instructions to consider all of the plaintiff’s arguments, including his claim that the ordinance violated his Second Amendment rights. After another flurry of arguments, the judge once again granted summary judgment to the township, but this time the Court of Appeals didn’t offer any helpful hints to the judge about the constitutionality of the ban. They made it clear that the judge had erred.

The Ordinance imposes a burden on the Second Amendment right to maintain proficiency in firearm use by essentially imposing an outright ban on target shooting everywhere in the Township except two specific zoning districts. The Township did not meet its burden under the intermediate scrutiny standard to justify such an outright ban on personal shooting ranges at one’s residence, because it did not establish that the Ordinance “does not burden more conduct than is reasonably necessary.”

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