A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that federal laws prohibiting 18-to-20-year-olds from getting handguns at federally licensed firearms dealers are unconstitutional.
In a 71-page opinion — released Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division — Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne ruled that federal laws and regulations barring the dealers from selling the handguns to adults ages 18-20 violates the Second Amendment.
Payne ruled in favor of four men between the ages of 18 and 20 who expressed a desire to purchase handguns from the federally licensed firearms dealers, denying the defense’s motion to dismiss and granting the plaintiffs a summary judgment.
According to the filing, one of the plaintiffs, John “Corey” Fraser, had tried to buy a Glock 19x handgun from such a dealer, but the dealer denied the purchase because of the federal law, as he was under 21.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 already allows individuals 18 and older to buy shotguns and rifles, but handguns can be sold only to individuals 21 years old or older.
The judge concluded that the Second Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” applies to people in that age group.
“Because the statutes and regulations in question are not consistent with our Nation’s history and tradition, they, therefore, cannot stand,” Payne wrote.
This court case vindicates the Second Amendment as a ‘Civil Rights’ victory. And logically, speaking, they are. The right to bear arms is rightfully considered one of the basic civil rights of Americans.
This is one of many cases that renewed challenges to often long-standing gun restrictions in the wake of New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022). To understand how gloriously disruptive Bruen was, it helps to understand a little about the recent history of Second Amendment litigation. Prior to Bruen many courts had adopted a two-step approach:
At the first step, the government may justify its regulation by ‘establish[ing] that the challenged law regulates activity falling out-side the scope of the right as originally understood.’ … At the second step, courts often analyze ‘how close the law comes to the core of the Second Amendment right and the severity of the law’s burden on that right.’
(citations removed). Lower courts, often utterly hostile to the Second Amendment would frequently admit it failed the first step, but then rely solely on the second step of the analysis to justify upholding a gun regulation. In Bruen, the Court said they should only use the first step. So suddenly, those hostile lower courts got the proverbial legs cut out from under them.
A number of people asked if it applied nationwide. The court is not entirely clear. We believe it doesn’t yet, but the court has stated that it might turn the case into a class action suit, which could potentially apply far beyond the Eastern District of Virginia—which is why it might end up being a victory for all Americans (if they are of the right age).
(This post may contain disputed claims. We make no assertions as to the validity of the information presented by our Opinion Columnist. This is an opinion article, and this post should be treated as such. Enjoy.)
Alex D is a conservative journalist, who covers all issues of importance for conservatives. He writes for Supreme Insider, Red State Nation, Defiant America, and Right Journalism. He brings attention and insight from what happens in the White House to the streets of American towns, because it all has an impact on our future, and the country left for our children. Exposing the truth is his ultimate goal, mixed with wit where it’s appropriate, and feels that journalism shouldn’t be censored. Join him & let’s spread the good word!