By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “Left’s assault on Second Amendment just got PERSONAL,” Allen B. West tells readers about a lawsuit targeting his friend’s West Virginia gun range, Peacemaker National Training Center. That’s despite a county noise ordinance declaring its provisions “do not apply to: (1) Lawful hunting or target shooting trap, skeet or shooting ranges.”
The complication comes from the fact that the plaintiffs, husband and wife Ben and Diane Goldstein, live in neighboring Virginia. Their supposedly noise-motivated complaint against the range is being bolstered by an apparently activist judge and a protective order that violates the privacy of range members by requiring irrelevant and intrusive information including:
– All member files
– All waivers from any person who has accessed PNTC, to include all law enforcement, federal agency personnel, military personnel and foreign military personnel names
– All shooting competition files and lists
– All training information and lists
– All customer waivers
– Identities of all persons who have used PNTC ranges
– All ATF & NFA records (to include Forms 4473 and ATF bound book information)
Someone knows their taxpayer privacy restriction workarounds. They know how to harass. And they also know how to make resistance drawn out and expensive: A civil action was filed at least as far back as Aug., 2016. But for now, actual information is scarce, and piecing it together is a developing effort.
We know that the noise ordinance range exemption has been in effect since at least 2009. And that “veteran owned and family owned” Peacemaker, on its Legal Defense Fund page, says its facility was “established in 2010” on “property [that] has been in their family for well over 150 years.”
What we don’t know is how long plaintiffs have lived near the range and if it was a preexisting facility to that, which could have an effect (albeit the sounds of shooting have certainly been a way of life in that area ever since it was first settled). [Note updates at bottom of article.] A search produces a name and residence match under a mile away, which means they would hear gunfire (albeit the hours of operation seem reasonable), and other searches suggest the same individuals may have previously lived in Massachusetts and Oregon.
We know their lawyer Michael Goldstein (further relationship to the plaintiffs unknown at this writing) is representing them Pro Hac Vice, meaning he practices in another state (California) and is not a member of the West Virginia State Bar. Per CampaignMoney.com, it appears he donates in federal campaigns to Democrats (including to rabidly anti-gun Kamala Harris in 2016).
It’s probably a safe bet he's not in the market for an NRA life membership.
We’re told “Court documents filed in the case are public record and may be reviewed through the Circuit Clerk’s office.” If the actual documents are online, I have not located them at this writing. (Located: see Update Below)
Likewise, information on Judge Gray Silver, III, leaves much to be uncovered. We know he was an incumbent (and son of a judge who sat on the bench before him) who got 100% of the vote when he ran for office in 2016 because he was unopposed. What we don’t know is if there will be a credible and worthy challenger next time, or if this move indicates a signal to the powers that be that he’s their man, and ready for higher office.
This story will no doubt yield a lot more information about the parties behind the lawsuit as it unfolds and new inputs are added. For now we can’t speak to the understandable suspicion being articulated on some forums that Team Bloomberg or some other Astroturf money source may be behind it. We also need further legal reads on how applicable state law will handle such a complaint, if this is even the proper court (considering the ordinance) and where it will go from here.
People knowledgeable about that and close to the principals involved will no doubt provide more new insights as interest grows.
According to a Peacemakers supporter, the Goldsteins bought their Virginia property in December 2011, after the Peacemakers gun range had been established. The Goldsteins didn’t file a complaint until September 2015. [Note a comment disputing this below, claiming they say in the filing they bought the property in 1976.]
The newspaper's information appears inaccurate. I was able to track property tax records online to 2010, which appears to be as far back as the Frederick County Treasurer's website goes.
I just received a copy of the filing. They do indeed claim to have bought the property in 1976. Embedded below and linking to it here. (Note I posted it on my One Drive, so it may download slow, especially if multiple people try to access it at the same time.)
Insurer Liberty Corporate Capital Ltd. asked a West Virginia federal court Friday to let it off the hook in a noise complaint suit against a firing range it insures, saying the range’s policy doesn’t cover that type of suit.
UPDATE 3/21/2017 Goldstein VS Peacemaker Case Filing
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.