Today, the Pennsylvania House Government Committee – instead of standing up for Pennsylvania citizens’ inviolate rights by enacting an amendment that would have reasserted those rights – amended HB 2440 to putatively reopen sportsman clubs with an amendment that provides a whole host of issues.

While I disagree that all sportsman clubs have been shuttered by Governor Wolf’s draconian, ultra vires, and unconstitutional fiat, such is beyond the scope of this article.

The Committee was petitioned, with language I drafted, to amend the language in HB 2440 to:

Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary now existing or enacted in the future, consistent with the inviolate rights enumerated by Article 1, Sections 21 and 25 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, shooting ranges, sportsman clubs, hunting facilities, and firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, and distributors, inclusive of their employees and agents, shall always constitute life-sustaining businesses in the Commonwealth, which shall never be shuttered or limited in their ability to produce, provide, sell, or otherwise offer firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, component parts of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories, and all services, training, safety, and practice related to firearms and hunting.

Unfortunately, the Committee elected instead to enact an amendmentafter being warned about all the issues with the proposalthat provides:

The Secretary of Community and Economic development shall immediately issue a waiver to the Governor’s 20200319 TWP COVID-19 Business Closure Order to all outdoor sportsman clubs that can adhere to social distancing practices, mask requirements and other mitigation measures defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect individuals and to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

So let’s talk about the major issues with this:

  1. What about when the Secretary refuses? They’ll file a mandamus request in the Commonwealth Court? I wouldn’t hold my breath…they’ve been feckless, while Governor Wolf has been violating our inviolate rights. They have not involved themselves in ANY of the litigation challenging it. Why would this be any different?
  2. It directs the Secretary to issue “a waiver.” Why would the Secretary issue a waiver to the Business Closure Order? Wouldn’t you just enact a bill that says that sportsman clubs are essential and therefore must be included on the list? Well, maybe it is intended to require sportsman clubs to apply for a waiver; but why then, does it say the Secretary is to issue “a waiver,” instead of “waivers”? There are also sportsman clubs with outstanding waiver requests that have had no response for a month now…Anyone think that the waiver requests won’t just be sat on? Oh wait, we can petition the Commonwealth Court, right? Yeah, put that cost on the sportsman clubs, so that by the time the court hears the challenge, the Commonwealth will be reopened in entirety…
  3. This amendment requires MORE than Governor Wolf is requiring for Golf courses. That’s right, Governor Wolf said that masks are not mandatory at Golf courses, but our feckless leaders want to enact a bill providing that they are required for sportsman clubs…

I could go on, but what’s the point? Our elected representatives don’t appear to get “it.” And by “it,” I refer to the Pennsylvania Constitution. Perhaps if “We The People” let our representatives know that we will no longer stand for this manifest injustice, something will change. Please consider contacting your PA Representatives and demanding that HB 2440 be amended with the language I drafted and proposed that is specified above.

You can find your Pennsylvania Representative and Senator here –

If you’d like to donate to support all the time and cost that Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C. has expended fighting Governor Wolf’s ultra vires and unconstitutional acts, you can do so here – Just place Donation in the reference field.

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