December 2015 Church & State | AU Bulletin

A Lancaster County, Pa., Amish man has filed suit in federal court to challenge a state requirement that he present photo identification in order to purchase a handgun.

Andrew Hertzler’s suit names the federal government, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Cormey and officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as plaintiffs.

The Washington Post reported that Hertzler attempted and failed to receive a religious exemption from the requirement from both the ATF and the office of U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.).

Hertzler’s complaint argues that he has a religious-freedom right to purchase a handgun without presenting photo identification.

“By knowingly and willingly sitting for a photograph, even for a state-issued identification document, Mr. Hertzler would be violating his religion by taking a graven image of himself,” the complaint argues. “Thus, Mr. Hertzler’s religious freedom has been substantially burdened – in order to exercise his fundamental right to possess a firearm for defense of himself and his home, the Government is requiring him to violate a major tenet of his sincerely held religious belief.”

The case, Hertzler v. Lynch, is ongoing.