Second Amendment Advocates Secure Major Handgun Victory in Court

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Posted: Jul 13, 2021 6:00 PM
Second Amendment Advocates Secure Major Handgun Victory in Court

Source: (AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer)

In a 2-1 decision Tuesday afternoon, the Fourth Circuit Court of appeals struck down the age requirement for purchasing a handgun, saying legal adults have a constitutional right to own a firearm at age 18. Before the ruling, the age requirement to legally own and purchase a firearm was 21. 

“Our nation’s most cherished constitutional rights vest no later than 18. And the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is no different,” Judge Julias Richardson wrote in the opinion. "We first find that 18-year-olds possess Second Amendment rights. They enjoy almost every other constitutional right, and they were required at the time of the Founding to serve in the militia and furnish their own weapons. We then ask, as our precedent requires, whether the government has met its burden to justify its infringement of those rights under the appropriate level of scrutiny."

"To justify this restriction, Congress used disproportionate crime rates to craft overinclusive laws that restrict the rights of overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens. And in doing so, Congress focused on purchases from licensed dealers without establishing those dealers as the source of the guns 18- to 20-year-olds use to commit crimes. So we hold that the challenged federal laws and regulations are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment," he continued. "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."