A Republican state senator from upstate New York wants to make it easier for members of the Amish and Mennonite communities to buy a gun.

Earlier this week, Senator Catharine Young introduced legislation that would carve out a special exception in the firearm application rule, allowing members of an "established religious sect" to forego the requirement of submitting a photograph along with their handgun application under certain circumstances.

"Currently, members of the Amish and Mennonite communities are unable to possess pistols or revolvers in New York without violating the tenets of their religion by submitting to the taking of a photograph which would also be used for identification purposes," wrote Young, whose jurisdiction covers Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties, and includes a large number of Amish and Mennonite communities.

Instead of sharing a picture ID, members of the exempted communities would be required to submit a written affidavit confirming that their faith prevents them from being photographed.

The memo notes that the two religious sects have received similar government exemptions in the past, including for labor requirements, schoolhouse building codes, and certain educational requirements.

Two years ago, an Amish man in Pennsylvania filed (and quickly dropped) a federal lawsuit alleging that the photo ID requirement for buying a gun violated his religious beliefs.

"The Amish faith prohibits an individual from having his/her photograph taken," the suit read. "This belief stems from the Biblical passage Exodus 20:4, which mandates that ‘You shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth,’ as well as the Christian belief in humility."

The only religious groups named in the memo are Amish and Mennonites, and it's unclear if the exemption could apply to those of other faiths.