A federal appeals court ruled that federal regulations limiting the sale of handguns to individuals 21 and older violate Second Amendment rights.
A divided panel of three judges found the restrictions to be unconstitutional. Judge Julius N. Richardson, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, wrote in the majority opinion.
“When do constitutional rights vest? At 18 or 21? 16 or 25? Why not 13 or 33? In the law, a line must sometimes be drawn. But there must be a reason why constitutional rights cannot be enjoyed until a certain age,” Richardson wrote. “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.” Richardson went on to note that 18-year-olds “were required at the time of the Founding to serve in the militia and furnish their own weapons.” He asked whether the government has displayed good reason to justify infringing on those rights now.
“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,” he stated. “So, we hold that the challenged federal laws and regulations are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.”
“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,” he concluded.
The only dissenting judge was a former President Barack Obama appointee, James A. Wynn, who complained that the panel was handing the “gun lobby” a win (as opposed to handing those age 18-21 a win in being able to exercise their constitutional rights).
Ironically Obama himself was once named the “best gun salesman in America” due to the tendency for gun sales to spike whenever he would float gun control. The industry as a whole grew an estimated 158% during Obama’s tenure. Things naturally slowed down under Donald Trump because there was no threat of forthcoming gun control, though sales did begin to skyrocket in 2020 amid a field of anti-gun Democrat presidential candidates, a pandemic, and rising crime that coincided with the “defund the police” movement.