PHILADELPHIA (July 10, 2020) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) announced the filing of an important amicus brief in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals case, Drummond v. Township of Robinson. The brief, joined by the Madison Society Foundation, is available online at FPCLegal.org.
The Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club (GPGC) started offering firearms sales and training on rural land outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania over 50 years ago. For many of those decades, Robinson Township has resolved to shut the club down. In the 1990s, Robinson Township brought a nuisance action against GPGC, but the court determined that GPGC was not a nuisance. Then, Robinson Township brought a licensing action against GPGC, but failed in court again. Now, Robinson Township has enacted an ordinance forbidding GPGC from operating for-profit, or from allowing center-fire rifle shooting on the property—but only if it is operating as a gun club. The club’s owner, William Drummond, brought this action, alleging that the new ordinance violates the Second Amendment.
“Too often people are bullied for engaging in constitutionally protected activity, so we filed this brief to explain why the court should step in and protect the exercise of Second Amendment rights,” said FPC Director of Research and brief author, Joseph Greenlee. “We are happy to help Mr. Drummond defend his rights and the rights of his clients against Robinson Township’s relentless efforts to forcibly close his gun club.”
“We’re hopeful that GPGC can soon get back to providing the public with goods and training protected by the Constitution, as it has for several decades,” Greenlee concluded.
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.
Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit public benefit organization. FPF’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges, and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition—especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.
- William Drummond’s family has operated the Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club on 265 rural acres in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, for several decades.
- The Township has long sought to shut the club down. It first brought a nuisance case. When that was unsuccessful and the club was determined safe, the Township went after the club for alleged licensing violations. When that didn’t work, the Township enacted restrictions prohibiting the club from operating for a profit, and prohibiting outdoor center-fire rifle shooting on the property—but only if the property is used as a gun club.
- Drummond brought suit, arguing, among other things, that the Township’s restrictions violate the Second Amendment due to their burdens on firearms training and commerce.
- The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania upheld the restrictions in 2019, but without requiring the government to justify the burdens it imposed on Drummond’s club.
- The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, explaining that the District Court had to conduct a heightened scrutiny analysis before upholding the laws.
- On remand, the District Court re-granted the same motion it had granted the first time around, again without conducting a meaningful heightened scrutiny analysis.
- Drummond argued that the District Court improperly applied heightened scrutiny again, and emphasizing the court’s animus towards the right to keep and bear arms, asked for the case to be reassigned to a different judge on remand.
- FPC and FPF elaborated on the District Court’s poor treatment of the Second Amendment, highlighting the many ways in which the court treated the Second Amendment differently than other enumerated rights.