On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled that the current ban on handguns for adults under the age of 21 is unconstitutional — a major win for freedom-loving Americans, and a major loss for the liberal gun grabbers. The ruling comes at a perfect time, a time when Democrats have ramped up efforts to punish law-abiding gun owners, gun sellers, and pro-gun groups. Gov. Cuomo of New York even called for coronavirus pandemic-like action to combat growing gun violence in the state.
In a 2-1 vote, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment apply to adults aged 18-20. As it stands, those falling in that age range are unable to purchase handguns from licensed dealers.
Federal Judge Julius Richardson wrote:
“Our nation’s most cherished constitutional rights vest no later than 18,”
The court insisted the handgun ban was glaringly unconstitutional, but applauded Congress for attempting to address growing violence currently plaguing the nation.
“We recognize that the Second Amendment embodies a fundamental, pre-existing right that enables ‘the people’ to preserve their own life, liberty, and property. However, we do applaud Congress for its seriousness in tackling the growing level of violent crime.”
“History makes clear that 18- to 20-year-olds were understood to fall under the Second Amendment’s protection and Congress may not restrict the rights of an entire group of law-abiding adults because a minuscule portion of that group commits a disproportionate amount of gun violence.”
You can read the full decision here:
Two young adults from Virginia were plaintiffs on the case, which was filed in November of last year. The women sought protection from abusive ex-lovers by filing for a handgun license, only to be turned down. The two were unable to protect themselves because of the federal handgun ban on adults of their age. “Her mom got a protective order against him because he was abusive,” her attorney explained at the time the lawsuit was announced. “He violated that. He was found with guns and drugs, didn’t show up to court.”
“She works on a rural horse farm in the area, is alone a lot, and she wanted to go buy a new handgun for defense, and she can’t do it,” he added.
Defendants in the lawsuit were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in addition to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The only dissenter in the case, Judge James Wynn, raged against the court’s decision, calling in a major win for the “gun lobby.”
“The majority’s decision to grant the gun lobby a victory in a fight it lost on Capitol Hill more than fifty years ago is not compelled by law,” he wrote.
In most states, those over the age of 18 can buy rifles and shotguns from federal firearms license holders, though in all states, they are precluded from purchasing handguns from them. Adults under 21 “may acquire a handgun from an unlicensed individual” provided they are not forbidden from owning a firearm by law and the transaction occurs in the same state, according to the ATF.
Author: Elizabeth Tierney