A federal judge just ruled that 18- to 20-year-olds can legally buy handguns, declaring unconstitutional the laws and regulations that prevented firearms dealers from selling them handguns:
BREAKING: Federal judge in Virginia has declared unconstitutional a set of federal laws and regulations that prohibit federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to 18- to 20-year olds, finding the measures violated the Second Amendment. https://t.co/Qk4h2QODXu
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 11, 2023
A federal judge in Virginia on Wednesday declared unconstitutional a set of federal laws and regulations that prohibit federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to 18- to 20-year olds, finding the measures violated the Second Amendment.
“Because the statutes and regulations in question are not consistent with our Nation’s history and tradition, they, therefore, cannot stand,” U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne, who sits in Richmond, concluded in a 71-page opinion.
Although 18- to 20-year-olds previously could buy handguns in private sales — or have a parent purchase a weapon for them — the decision Wednesday, if left unchallenged, would dismantle a legal framework that for decades has prevented licensed dealers from selling handguns “to teenagers,” said William T. Clark, an attorney with the Giffords Law Center, which filed an amicus brief in the case calling for the laws at issue to be upheld.
Payne, who was nominated to the bench by President George H.W. Bush, repeatedly cited the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, a ruling from the high court’s conservative majority that expanded the right to bear arms last year.
The plaintiff in the case is a 20-year-old who was denied a purchase last year and filed suit:
The plaintiff in the Virginia case, John Corey Fraser, was 20 years old when he attempted to buy a Glock 19x handgun from a federally licensed dealer in May 2022 and was turned away, according to the lawsuit he filed last year. He challenged the constitutionality of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and federal regulations from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) that limit the sale of handguns to adults 21 years and older.
“We’re pleased the court ruled in favor of Mr. Fraser and the other named plaintiffs in such [a] well written and thorough decision,” Elliott M. Harding, the attorney for Fraser, said in an email. “Even though it ensures that future buyers can now purchase these firearms in the federal system, one that includes background checks and other requirements, we expect the defendants will appeal. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic that the decision will be affirmed in due course.”
The judge relied on the Supreme Court decision, specifically the Bruen opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas:
According to the Bruen opinion, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, “constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them.” Payne wrote in his opinion Wednesday that although the majority age was considered to be 21 at the time of the United States’ founding, the fact that people could join militias at 18 was more compelling.
“It is not at all clear that the age of majority at the Founding is the appropriate measure for measuring the reach of the Second Amendment,” he wrote.
Payne wrote that “no federal appellate court, much less the Supreme Court, has squarely determined that the Second Amendment’s rights vest at age 21” and that “to date, three circuits, the Fifth, Seventh, and Eleventh, have looked at this question head-on and have declined to answer it.”
If this were to ultimately stand the left will go insane. But what’s the big deal? I thought that only mean looking sporting rifles are bad and must be banned. Why are they so against someone who is 18-years-old from owning a handgun to protect themselves?