Recently, numerous companies, including Dicks, Walmart, and even Pennsylvania-based Dunkelberger’s Sports Outfitters, started refusing to sell rifles and shotguns to individuals between the ages of 18 and 21, seemingly in violation of Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act.
Before addressing PA’s Human Relations Act, let’s review Pennsylvania’s constitutional provisions. First and foremost, Article 1, Section 1 – Inherent rights of mankind – provides:
All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.
Article 1, Section 21 – Right to bear arms – provides:
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.
More importantly and frequently overlooked, Article 1, Section 25 – Reservation of powers in people – provides:
To guard against transgressions of the high powers which we have delegated, we declare that everything in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government and shall forever remain inviolate.
Accordingly, the rights acknowledged by Article 1, Sections 1 through 24, including the right to self defense, the ability to acquire property and the right to bear arms, are inalienable as acknowledged by the Constitution.
In turning to PA’s Human Relations Act, the Findings in Section 952 provide, inter alia,
The practice or policy of discrimination against individuals or groups by reason of their race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap or disability, … is a matter of concern of the Commonwealth. Such discrimination foments domestic strife and unrest, threatens the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the Commonwealth, and undermines the foundations of a free democratic state.
Section 953 then goes on to provide, inter alia, that:
The opportunity for an individual … to obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any public accommodation … without discrimination because of race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, handicap or disability, age, sex, national origin, … is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right which shall be enforceable as set forth in this act.
For those wondering what all is included as a public accommodation, it includes, in addition to a plethora of other entities, “retail stores and establishments.”
Anyone aggrieved under the PA Human Relations Act can file a complaint for discrimination with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
Hopefully, these retailers will reconsider their age-based policies denying individuals their inalienable rights to bear arms and to defend themselves.
If you or someone you know has been denied your right to keep and bear arms, contact Firearms Industry Consulting Group today to discuss YOUR rights and legal options.
Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.