Amish Photo Exemption Bill Raises Questions about Gun Owner Control Laws and More

By David Codrea

Have photo ID requirements on the Amish reduced drive-by shootings and other violent crimes? (TheCadExpert/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0)
David Codrea in his natural habitat.

USA – -( “A Republican state senator from upstate New York wants to make it easier for members of the Amish and Mennonite communities to buy a gun,” Gothamist reported Sunday. “Senator Catharine Young introduced legislation that would carve out a special exception in the firearm application rule, allowing members of an ‘established religious sect’ to forego the requirement of submitting a photograph along with their handgun application under certain circumstances.”

The photo requirement forces them to make a choice between adhering to their faith or being able to have a gun, the story elaborates. With the change Young proposes, they would be able to submit an affidavit. And existing exemptions on labor, building code and educational regulations have created precedents for accommodating alternative sets of rules.

While some Amish do have guns for pest control and hunting, beliefs in nonresistance and forsaking of technology would seem to an outsider to make ownership of handguns, particularly modern ones, problematic.  Leaving their business to them, the focus of this article must be on laws that apply to all, and as such, several questions come to mind:

How does that fit in with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?

Wouldn’t requiring a doctrine to be “established” discriminate against new religions?

Logical consistency says only haters would deny respect for a right to “identify” with religious tenets, too.

If someone can “identify” with the gender combination of their choosing, and if laws infringing on that are condemned as hateful and discriminatory, why would the same not apply to religious beliefs of their choosing? What valid mechanism do state bureaucracies have to read a person’s heart and to know if they’re sincere or just gaming the system?

Those questions expose the arbitrary nature of the rules, and how the more contradictory they get, the pettier they become. But like writer Thomas Pynchon observed:

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”

Because there’s a more fundamental question than whether or not there’s a workaround to the photo requirement, or whether there ought to be such a requirement in the first place.

Where does anyone get off requiring a free citizen to get permission to exercise a right?

Who has legitimate moral authority to impose prior restraints on rights that, depending on your beliefs, are either “endowed by our Creator” or inherent to the condition of being human?

And where do they get off legally, since Supreme Court precedent acknowledges:

“This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed …”

The Cult of Statism is determined to impose faith in a monopoly of violence enforced by follower disarmament, even though all credible observations show its tenets to be superstitious nonsense. And we know what happens to non-believers, heretics, infidels…

“Progressives” are inconsistent on requiring photo IDs. (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License. Attribution: Peterljr888)

And here’s another bit of hypocrisy from those who would force their will on those who would stray from the flock: Notice how, when it comes to Voter ID laws requiring government photo IDs, the same zealots scream “Disenfranchisement!” and “Discrimination!”


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.

  • 38 thoughts on “Amish Photo Exemption Bill Raises Questions about Gun Owner Control Laws and More

    1. As for the care of an aged horse…..this is going to come off as callous but once they have served their purpose what would you do with them? The Amish are thrifty people. Having a horse that is no longer capable of working is a liability. It contributes nothing and requires care, food and shelter. All of which could be used on a productive animal. Quite basic really. Say what you like but if more people spent time with Amish they would be better for it. People today are raised to believe that we need to keep every living thing alive until it is many times older then it naturally should be. There is a time for everything. Like it or not animals don’t live forever. I have Amish friends. They take very good care of their animals. Most are treated like pets including their livestock. But at the end of the day the steer will be butchered and processed and consumed. Just like the untold number that never got a rub behind the ear and ended up in your McDonalds burger. Life goes on. Amazing how folks are so critical of a group of people the only see in passing and have no idea why the do what they do yet they judge them so harshly for it. Seems to me it puts quite a few in the category of pre-judging. You take it from there. Worst of all the Amish will never see this. They don’t use this media. Yet they get hammered for their beliefs all the time. Wish you all used the zeal you displayed here on the local gangs and corruption in your area. Guess it’s just easier to pick on someone that won’t know you dislike them. God bless.

      1. @Robert Varner, So, a horse works for you for 20 or 25 years, doing the work of ten men, and you would reward him by selling him to slaughter. I bet lots of people like to work for you. Everything is about profit, or at least reducing costs. You have no honor. You have no Christian mercy and writing “God Bless” is an insult to God. You are a blasphemer.
        When a horse can no longer pull a plow or wagon he is of no use. Is that the limit of your vision? When I go out into the pasture, my horses come running. They give me more than their muscles ever could. All for a mouthful of grass. And as to the Amish, they refuse to participate in defending our nation. They are cowards and betrayers of all Americans. They only see this as an economic system to take advantage of. I would draft them all and imprison, for life, those that refuse.

    2. I live in South Central PA.
      For a time, I was attending up to 3 gun shows a month.
      Some were east of the Susquehanna River (toward Lancaster County PA).
      On more than one occasion, I encountered Amish Men looking at
      and purchasing firearms and Ammunition.
      My impression was that they were very knowledgeable with regard to firearms,
      within limits of personal experience, rather than exposure to any media resources.
      They seemed to know what they wanted, and how much it should cost.
      About the Amish,…. Rather than being completely inflexible about things like modern
      technology, they tend to be inventive. They have a telephone, but it’s located in a phone booth
      down by the entrance to their driveway. They don’t own or drive cars, but the have no
      problem with riding in a car owned and driven by a non-Amish person.

    3. I’m going to chime in again about the LEGAL meanings of words, and the invisible or adhesion contracts we enter into – without full informed knowledge or, in many cases, consent. ALL of the statutes made nowadays are applied to the legal fiction called a “person”. If one simply thinks that means him (or her – and there are NO other ‘genders’ in the real world), then he should read a LEGAL dictionary for the true meaning of the word. It MEANS an ARTIFICIAL thing, as in a corporation (which is a legal fiction). It does NOT mean a living, breathing ‘man’ or a ‘woman’. Legislators CANNOT regulate men or women. They can ONLY regulate COMMERCE, either intrastate (in the case of state legislators) or interstate (in the case of the federal legislators). Congress can ONLY regulate INTERSTATE commerce. And that’s what they’re doing – regulating the firearms sold in INTERSTATE commerce. That’s why, when manufacturers finally ‘got it’, they came up with firearms stamped with the words that indicated they were made in such-and-such state and were not to be sold outside that state. Some of the states have intelligent legislators who understand this and have adopted statutes that recognize and enforce adherence to the concept of federal non-interference with purchase of non-ATF regulated/taxed firearms.

      The same concept applies to men and women. IF people would stop calling themselves ‘persons’ and insist that regulatory agencies recognize them as men and women, not as ‘things’ or ‘corporations’ that can be regulated, then maybe we could start exercising our God-given rights with a little more freedom from usurpation and quit worrying about whether buying a handgun or rifle from somebody at a swap meet is legal without having a background check done at the local gun shop. We might even start pushing back when states go so far as to impose limits on quantities of ammunition purchases, or going through background checks for even that. Heaven forbid that Chicago might have to start recognizing the right of people dwelling there (notice I didn’t say ‘residents’) to own and CARRY, concealed or openly, guns without having to ask permission.

      Free men and women exercise their rights, period. They DO NOT ASK permission. If you’re begging permission from some government lackey, well then, you’re not free, are you? And if you exercise your rights and the government contractors we call police abuse you – that’s ONLY because you don’t know enough about HOW to inform them, and any of the thousands of ignorant magistrates, of what your rights are and why they have no jurisdiction over you. If you think it takes an IQ over 120 to do this, you’re wrong. What it DOES take is learning how to READ and COMPREHEND the differences between our everyday language and the LEGAL words we misuse (and don’t know the meanings of). You have to comprehend why everything you say to a cop or other government officer is taken as LEGALESE and because you don’t know the difference between what you are saying and what you SHOULD be saying is what’s tripping you up and landing you in jail.

      Quit allowing them to take jurisdiction over you.

      1. MadM, part of the stuff that you said about regulating interstate commerce is correct, but the S.Ct has also decided that anything that you grow, make, or do that so much as touches or concerns interstate commerce is also subject to Congress’ control.
        As to the person part that you wrote: “Person a human being (i.e. natural peson), although by statute the term may include a firm, labor organization, partnerships, associations, corporations, etc.etc.” Please see Black Law Dictionary, Fifth ed. p, 1028

    4. Will try this again !! As determined as the left is to Identify gun owners in this country, if you want to vote in this country you should be required to provide the same information as if you were purchasing a firearm or a concealed carry !!!

      1. Oldvet, I partially agree with you, except that to vote, you should have to prove citizenship in the jurisdiction in which you want to vote. To purchase and carry openly or concealed, you should ONLY need to prove U.S. citizenship. There are plenty of citizens who also vote illegally by voting across the state lines to influence a neighboring state’s election (see New Jersey same day registration and the problems inherent with that). Probably many also vote in more than one state, such as when they own a vacation home in another state, vote in person in one state as well as use an absentee ballot for their other residence. Also, some impersonate a legal voter to vote themselves while also preventing the proper voter from legally voting (this happened to a friend of my niece). State lines shouldn’t be able to interfere with an American citizen’s rights to keep and bear arms. I’m sure you probably agree with that, just didn’t quite say it as precisely.

      1. You never get censored here as far as I can tell. You just don’t seem to realize the comments aren’t posted immediately. Maybe stop accusing this site of censorship and be patient next time. Unless you enjoy looking foolish!

    5. If libs want to defend voting with out ID because it’s descriminatory I want to be able to buy a gun with out an ID. Fair is fair. Beside, as long as we can’t say who is voting for whom I don’t think when “they” take office they should know who is buying guns. Voter fraud seems like a gate way to tyranny. The 2nd ammendment is supposed to be the final protection against that.

      1. @WP, Yes, that is the way it should be, and was. The first gun that I ever bought was in the hardware store. The only paperwork was the receipt. We must go back to the Constitution.

        1. Your first purchase was better documented than mine. I plopped four portaits of Mr. Jackson on the counter, picked up the boxed rifle from the counter, and walked out. Oh, and I drove interstate from my house to the hardware store where I bought it, too. He never opened the box th check the serial number, never knew my name. No phone calls, no writing in any book that can kick about for twenty years and end up in the hands of some gumit dweeb somewhere. NO ONE but me and a few friends even know that gun exists, let alone who has it.

          Today you can’t buy a freezer or lawnmower without more paperwork than that, and a better record.

          1. @Tio N, It is an outrage that following generations will never know freedom! I propose that the members of Congress no longer be referred to as Representative, Senator, or Congressperson, but rather “Elitist Freedom Stealing Thief”.

          2. In some cases, the rifle might not have even had a serial number. My dad used to have an old .22 old enough that it didn’t have one. I remember when for several years they recorded ammunition sales except for shotgun shells. They finally got that turned around, just need to keep backing things up to get in line with the Constitution. Any legislator proven to be in disagreement with the Constitution is guilty of betraying their oath of office and should be impeached. In the cases of John Kerry and Obama, they should be proven guilty of treason in regards to the U.N. Small Arms Treaty and give the rest a loud and clear message that we won’t stand for unconstitutional laws/statutes and such traitorous behavior.

      2. We will try this again. I do believe that as determined as the left, (libs, gov, socialist, communist) are to identify gun owners . It should be quid pro quo- If you want to vote in this country you should be required to furnish all of the information required to purchase a firearm and or a concealed carry!
        Now lets see if they moderate censor or delete this again.

        1. oh qwitchyerbellyaching.

          I don’t know how many mods there are, or what hours they keep. Everything I write ends up here eventually.
          Just write your poses, hit “GO” and cool yer heels.

      1. @Dr. Strangelove, One must be a citizen or permanent resident to purchase a firearm. I and the law do not care if they are in a Burka or speedos. If that person or any person commits a felony with a firearm, then let them pay that state’s penalty. But stop inflicting the punishment of the GCA, the NFA, and the BATFE on me for what others have done or might do.

    6. Maybe a “revised 4473” should ask only two questions…
      1. Do you intend to commit suicide, murder, armed robbery, kidnapping or other violent crime? YES NO
      2. Are you lying? YES NO

      About ten years ago I had a conversation with an Amish woman that went like this.
      “I don’t know much about the Amish, is it a sin to commit suicide or murder?”
      Followed by, “If you don’t defend yourself, aren’t you doing both?”

      1. The Amish refuse to participate in defending their nation, and, I am told, they sell their horses to slaughter after a life of hard labor, and faithful service. We care little for the existence of the Amish.

        1. But they do work hard to preserve their communities, and by that I mean ALL living inside them, not just their own. They may well have a signficant point on the “defending their nation” stance….. how many of our “wars” since the second German War have truly been about “defending our nation”? For that matter, when one looks more deeply into the causes and origins of the two German wars of the last century, it is quesitoinable whether they were truly “defending our nation”, at least when one considers what went on during the run-up to those conflicts. Further ,back, it seems the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbour was a false flag job to trigger a war, and our earlier “late conflict” under the watchful eye of Mr. Former Corporate Railroad Lawyer Honest Abe was a sar that never should have been fought.

          So we have about a hundred fifty year history of “wars” that were at the least “questionable” as to the truth of”defending our nation”.

          I do know from personal experience that many Amish DO indeed own and keep defensive weapons to protect their own households. I’ve also been in some Amish supply storers, and firearms are often part of the merchandise they have on offer.

          As to their horses…. once they are retired from their usual service as draft animals, what SHOULD they do with them? Get the backhoe and dig a hole to shove them into? Build a nice wooden coffin and have a real funeral? There are a few hundred pounds of quality protein standing their on four hooves. When it no longer serves the purpose for which it was gotten and maintained, what SHOULD they do with it? In many other countries/cultures, horse meat is standard fare for human consumption.

          I suggest you reconsider your “care little for the existence of the Amish”, a faithful and generous people who could teach the rest of us a lot about how to live.

          1. @Tio N, it would be faithful and generous to put the horse to pasture. What is a few mouthfuls of grass? Now, I care even less for the faithless, greedy, self serving, leaches enjoying the cloak of protection that this nation provides for them, and that they refuse to contribute to.

            1. What business is it of YOURS to determine how OTHERS live their lives according to their religious beliefs? Hint: ZERO.

            2. I see Super Punk has you targeted. I realize that he is an irritant (kind of on the order of rectal itch) but he’s so busy showing his *ss that we now know which end he speaks from. His (I presume its a him) has his wallet always muffling his voice.

    7. “Where does anyone get off requiring a free citizen to get permission to exercise a right?

      “Who has legitimate moral authority to impose prior restraints on rights that, depending on your beliefs, are either “endowed by our Creator” or inherent to the condition of being human?”

      Quite so, David. People can’t delegate to the govt a power they don’t have as individuals. Since as individuals we can’t require people to ask us for permission to buy guns the govt, acting as our agent, can’t legitimately do so either. As Bastiat wrote in “The Law”

      “… an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

      “Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?”

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