Federal Court Rules That Restrictions On Handgun Sales To Individuals Under 21 Are Unconstitutional Under Second Amendment

Three Judges from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 vote on Tuesday that restrictions on handgun sales to adults under the age of 21 are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

“Looking through this historical lens to the text and structure of the Constitution reveals that 18-to 20-year-olds have Second Amendment rights. Virtually every other constitutional right applies whatever the age. And the Second Amendment is no different,” the Court wrote in its decision.

“Despite the weighty interest in reducing crime and violence, we refuse to relegate either the Second Amendment of 18-to 20-year-olds to a second-class status,” Judge Julius Richardson wrote in the majority opinion.

Tanner Hirschfeld and Natalia Marshall sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after they were denied the right to purchase a handgun because of their age. The two argue that the federal statutes prohibiting dealers from selling handguns and ammunition violate the second amendment.

“The Second Amendment is exceptional not because it is uniquely oppressed or imperiled, but rather because it is singularly capable of causing harm,” Judge James Wynn wrote in a dissent. “As other courts have recognized, while there are dangers inherent in other constitutionally protected rights —like the rights to speak and assemble — the Second Amendment alone protects a direct and lethal right to endanger oneself and others.”

Judge Richardson wrote in the opinion that 18-year-olds are eligible to serve in the military and have been trusted with “the most sophisticated weaponry.”

“These men and women who, historically, have served either voluntarily or by conscription may not be read out of ‘the people in the Second Amendment,” Judge Richardson wrote.

According to CBS News, the decision on banning the restrictions on handgun sales is likely to be appealed.

The Department of Justice said, “We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision and are considering our options.”


About RavenH

Raven Haywood is a journalist for 10+ years. Graduate from Howard University.

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