Interstate Legal Attack on Range Leaves More Questions than Answers

By David Codrea

Coming soon to a range near you? Who would live in this part of the country and, rather than want this, be offended by it? [Peacemaker National Training Center/Facebook]
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.

UPDATE 

Per The Journal:

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.)

Per Law360:

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

David Codrea in his natural habitat.

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.

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    Jim Wildrick JrtrumpedGregory RomeuAutistic Crackermdj357 Recent comment authors
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    Jim Wildrick Jr
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    Jim Wildrick Jr

    Seems to me as a backdoor attempt at register all responsible gun owners.This is usually how they start.The left’s attempt is ongoing and their playbook answer is always sensible gun laws.This is why the fight by all responsible gun owners will never be over.I urge all gun owners to join and support all second amendment organizations across the U.S to fight these attempts of gun control.I belong to three organizations ( NRA,NAGR and NJ2AS) which are well know n organizations fighting everyday for our rights.

    trumped
    Guest
    trumped

    Excellent reporting and legwork on this story. This will probably prove to be a common tactic among the cultural marxists, which makes passing a national law removing the special atf status on suppressors all the more important.

    mdj357
    Guest
    mdj357

    I know a lot of you “law abiding no matter what” purists will disagree with me but if someone with near bottomless pockets using corrupt law officials twisting the law to come after me and my livelihood (and thus my family) it’s time to take the gloves off and slip on the brass knuckles. Forget the “Marquess of Queensberry Rules” and go fight mean, dirty and nasty. Start rumors about them (child molestation). Nails in their driveway. Slashed tires. Sling-shot rocks through windows. Pureed poison ivy on everything they’ll touch. And that’s just for starters. Get very creative. Make life… Read more »

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    The first and most obvious obsevation in that matter would be that some dumba** poked a bear.

    James Bailey
    Guest
    James Bailey

    The one thing that no one has yet noted, is that it these type of harassment suits, and the actions of the judge in this case, literally undermine the rule of law! What this does people, is to literally make the case for ‘might makes right!’, it leads to people being killed on the way to someplace or coming back from some place, because the courts are no longer trustworthy. I’m old enough to remember news stories about people being killed in certain cities across this country, because the innocent people attacked we’re backed into a corner, and they retaliated… Read more »

    Ronald Wright
    Guest
    Ronald Wright

    A friend in PA had a noise complaint filed against his remote grass strip airport by a new neighbor. What he did to stop this harassment was to threaten to put a NOISE LIEN against their home/property; this would have effectively very difficult for the current owners to every sell their house/property.

    The backed off. Be the AGGRESSOR, not the DEFENDER in these situations. You can NEVER win a war on defense.

    Jim Curtis
    Guest
    Jim Curtis

    According to the actual filing, the Goldsteins claim they bought the property in 1976.

    Mike Murray
    Guest
    Mike Murray

    This is a case of “My pockets are deeper than yours”. I’ve seen it before and I’ll see it again. It is the way plea deals are made, child “protective” services keeps kids, the EPA takes land, and civil forfeiture takes money and property. I’ve been told to my face “Go ahead and take us to court, if you win we’ll take you back to court until we bankrupt you or win”.

    Autistic Cracker
    Guest
    Autistic Cracker

    Damn, what’s the story behind that?

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    somebody please READ the Constitution. Art 3 Sec 2 clearly states that ALL cases between citizens of differing states, FEDERAL courts shall have jurisdiction. It is not clear, but does not seem to be the case that this Circus Court in WV is a federal court. If not, it cannot take up this matter, it should have been dismissed with prejudice last August. If this two bit judge is NOT a federal level judge, he should be disbarred for taking up a matter over which he has no legal jurisdiction. He’s broken the rules. Now, one excellent trick would be… Read more »

    Bill N.
    Guest
    Bill N.

    I failed to mention this isn’t just any backwoods firing range. Peacemaker host’s some big matches here, and some very big names in professional shooting have competed here in 3 Gun and other matches. We need some professional big league help here people. Peacemaker shouldn’t have to foot the bill for this frivolous lawsuit.

    Bill N.
    Guest
    Bill N.

    I am a member of Peacemaker and a resident of WV. In this morning’s Martinsburg Journal “Newspaper” this story was printed. Now fact number 1 according to the “newspaper” the range has been open since 2010. #2,The Goldstein’s bought their property in 2011. #3 The complaint wasn’t filed until August 2015. #4 What’s wrong with this picture? An attorney not licensed in either jurisdiction a judge that is obviously against the 2nd Amendment and the plaintiffs want the range to pay all legal fees incurred, to date, about $30,000 so far. Not to even mention the invasion of privacy issue.

    Vansx10
    Guest
    Vansx10

    Bill: I would reiterate my previous comment that the plaintiffs requests in discovery are not only an invasion of privacy but a direct threat to the possibility of ID theft of your members. I would urge members of Peacemaker to either, individually or collectively, file suit against the Goldstein’s in Virginia Courts or in Federal Court and, if in Federal Court, request an injunction or a Writ of Mandamus ordering the WV Judge to follow WV Statutes barring suite for noise and/or dismissal of the suit for lack of standing in the court because they (the Goldstein’s) are not residents… Read more »

    Vansx10
    Guest
    Vansx10

    A few points: 1. The Peacemaker members affected should file suit, against the Goldstein’s, in multiple jurisdictions, Va & WV, for invasion of privacy and identity theft. The latter may come under Federal law. Inundate them with individual or possibly class action suits. Tie them up in law suits, discovery and attorney’s fees for the next decade in exactly the same way they are attempting to do to Peacemaker. 2. File suit against the judge in WV for violations of the privacy act and do it in Federal Court. Piercing sovereign immunity is key to show that the judge acted… Read more »

    Vansx10
    Guest
    Vansx10

    As a PS: This could be taken into Federal Court and a Federal Court could issue a Writ of Mandamus ordering the WV Judge to follow the law, dismissing the case based on WV statutes that give protection to Peacemaker against noise complaints. While rare for a court to do this there is precedent.

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    I would also file a complaint in the form of a Notice and Demand against the judge and hand a copy of that over to whatever Grand Jury Forman that may be convenient this time in both WV and VA. The judge will most likely ignore the N&D in this case which would allow you to move toward a charge of Willful Neglect of Statutory Duty against the judge, thereby giving the grand jury the operational Integrity needed to start an investigation not only on this issue against the judge but whatever else the grand jury may find along the… Read more »

    Durham
    Guest
    Durham

    Yeah, they filed in the wrong state, that merits filing a BAR grievance on the CA attorney. It’s a frivolous lawsuit, which also merits a BAR grievance against the CA attorney. Hit him in his pocket book and make it too expensive for him to practice law in this case. His insurance company will either increase his premiums or drop his coverage.

    While we are at it, it would also be merited to file a motion to disqualify the judge. and file criminal charges for official oppression, or some such thing. Either way file the motion.

    Wayne Clark
    Guest
    Wayne Clark

    I smell a class action suit here!

    Hank
    Guest
    Hank

    Unable to effect federal or state gun bans, the anti’s are reduced to simple harassment tactics. But if noise is the issue, then the ‘Hearing Protection Act’ removing suppressors from the NFA list is the obvious solution.

    Philip Levin
    Guest
    Philip Levin

    Goldstein? Goldstein? Speaking as an Orthodox Jew, why are these secular Jews such leftists and totalitarians? They’re like “Chickens for Colonel Sanders”. We Jews are called, “believers, the sons of believers”. For Jews who no longer believe in G-d, it seems that some form of idol worship – like gun control and other leftist nonsense causes – inevitably rears its head to become the object of devout belief, like the Golden Calf of the bible. For them, “Schumerism” has replaced Judiasm. May the L-rd deliver us all from them!

    Bill N.
    Guest
    Bill N.

    Oh and by the way the California lawyer? The name is also Goldstein. It’s unknown at this time if there is any relation the plaintiffs. This information is taken from the “Newspaper” account this morning.

    John Richardson
    Guest
    John Richardson

    I’m confused how this lawsuit could even be heard in a state court given you have diversity of citizenship (residents of two different states). I fail to see how the plaintiffs even have standing to sue as the problem that they complain about (which really isn’t a problem) is in another state.

    MB
    Guest
    MB

    So the Virginia State Police are going to drive over to West Virginia and enforce Virginia law? I bet they would be met with resistance with by residents, the property owners, and local PD… Good luck enforcing this one.

    Bob's Your Uncle
    Guest
    Bob's Your Uncle

    Where is the NRA legal team on this one? Could a patron of this training center file for an injunction, with another judge – like a federal judge, against the facility to block release of their information particularly citing the fourth amendment? If that passes, then perhaps the attorney could do it like a class action lawsuit and file to block the release of all of the information of the patrons on those same grounds. I have absolutely no idea how the law works with this so it may be completely impossible. At any rate, there should be a HUGE… Read more »

    DAN III
    Guest
    DAN III

    Bob,

    The “law” doesn’t work.

    The judge simply deserves hemp and a tree.

    JR
    Guest
    JR

    I would guess that if the range is close enough to the state line, they will use those lists to go after individuals, perhaps from their own state. They know that the interstate journey will be difficult, but they can take them apart from the inside. one by one,,,Just my opinion.
    JR

    Roy D.
    Guest
    Roy D.

    On a windless day I can hear my police department firing on their range which is about three miles away as the crow flies. And they shoot away from my direction. Sounds like freedom to me. Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    Jimbo66
    Guest
    Jimbo66

    You’re right Roy. Our Police Department has moved to within a mile of me and I love knowing they’re over there practicing. I live just on the outside of our city limits sign while the Police Department is on the City side but down a half mile or so. I hope the range owners roast that lawyer, judge and neighbors.

    Verlin M Battle
    Guest
    Verlin M Battle

    Developer/banks trying to get control of property ?

    The Old Coach
    Guest
    The Old Coach

    BINGO! That’s what destroyed the old Bridgehampton Raceway on Long Island.

    eric
    Guest
    eric

    And why in the bloody hell do they require the members “files” at that range for this ridiculous and unconstitutional attack? That has utterly nothing to do with the “noise complaint” what a bunch of b.s.

    Elmo
    Guest
    Elmo

    Judicial tyranny by an activist just and a control freak attorney and client. Perhaps a counter suit of harassment in a different court is appropriate.
    I’m anxious to see how this ends up. I’m sure Col. West will keep us informed.

    Jim S
    Guest
    Jim S

    That is excellent. Find a conservative court and seek injunctions for this behavior. California is a breeding ground for people who want to control others. This is what happens when Californians get loose in the country. Unfortunately the range will have to fight fire with fire.

    They have my sympathies.

    Bandit
    Guest
    Bandit

    Not all that live in Cali are the same, yeah there are some that want to do that but there are many,many more that just want to be left alone. The creatures up in skankramento are the worst that there are in the state, those creatures can all go back to the pits that have been dug for them.

    Frank Lanier
    Guest
    Frank Lanier

    I sincerely hop the NRA is looking at this matter this would be a great opportunity to publicly debunk more lies from the luar leftist immoralite gun grabbers

    Eric
    Guest
    Eric

    My God, this I so Un-American and anti-Constitutional! WTF is wrong with this country folks? This is actually disgusting! Again, I ask when are we going to take back OUR country and be done with all of this nonsense.

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    When we pull our complacent heads out of our a**es and start utilizing our Constitution of the United States as well as our own state’s constitutional power to remove corrupt officials from Office rather than sitting on our butts waiting to, “vote them out of office” as so many pacifists prescribe to doing. The good people of Virginia need to utilize their power as, We THE People, and yank that judge from the bench immediately and send word to the rest of anyone that chooses to sit on that bench that they will do it under the confines of the… Read more »

    Elmo
    Guest
    Elmo

    This case reminds me of what Mrs. Tom Brokaw did to her new neighbors in Montana a few years back. I believe it was a case that she didn’t like the fact that her neighbors allowed hunting on their ranch and she, through the court, made them stop hunting on the portion of their ranch that bordered the Brokaw estate.

    It seems to me if your activity is legal, this would be a ‘taking’ of your property. But then, I’m not a lawyer.

    Regardless, it’s a crock.

    Powderman
    Guest
    Powderman

    So, someone tell me how the plaintiffs can prove relevance with their records requests, and what they have to do with noise abatement. What in Heaven’s name to ANY of those files have to do with it?

    I’m not surprised that someone thought this one up…rather, that it has even seen the light of day, much less being found to have standing in a court of law.