Pennsylvania court: 2nd Amendment defense no excuse for self-defense

A Pennsylvania man will face reckless endangerment charges in a trial after a Lancaster County judge upheld an ordinance against discharging firearms in Lancaster city.

Curtis L. Swinton was charged under the ordinance in December 2007 when he fired a warning shot to stop a gang of young men from beating up his cousin. Swinton's attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charge, arguing the ordinance was unconstitutional, but Judge Joseph Madenspacher disagreed, ruling on March 30 that the prosecution against Swinton should proceed.

The ruling is believed to be the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, which State Rep. Bryan Cutler, a Republican and a gun rights advocate, said could have a "chilling effect" on people's decisions to use firearms in legitimate self-defense, depending on its outcome.