Federal court says restrictions on handgun sales to people under 21 are unconstitutional

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Federal court says restrictions on handgun sales to people under 21 are unconstitutional
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Federal court says restrictions on handgun sales to people under 21 are unconstitutional
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A federal appeals court said Tuesday that federal laws that bar the sale of handguns to young adults under the age of 21 are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

In a 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court found that 18-year-olds possess the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and said the restrictions at issue in the legal battle amount to a “total ban” on buying a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer for those under the age of 21.

“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 said in its decision.

The divided panel of the 4th Circuit noted the nation’s “most cherished constitutional rights” vest no later than the age of 18, and said that at the time of the nation’s founding, 18-year-olds were required to serve in the militia and provide their own weapons.

“Despite the weighty interest in reducing crime and violence, we refuse to relegate either the Second Amendment or 18- to 20-year-olds to a second-class status,” Judge Julius Richardson, appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote for the two-judge majority.

The Justice Department said in a statement that “we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are considering our options.”

The legal battle was brought by two young adults, aged 19 and 20 at the time, who tried to buy handguns from licensed dealers but were denied because of their age. The two sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, arguing federal statutes that prohibit federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns and handgun ammunition to 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds violate the Second Amendment.

Since bringing their suit, one of the young adults, Tanner Hirschfeld, has turned 21. The other, Natalia Marshall, is still under the minimum age to purchase a handgun.

You can read the rest of Melissa Quinn’s article at CBSnews.com

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