Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Panel Ruled 18-20 Year Olds DO Have 2nd Amendment Rights

A three judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law restricting the ability of 18-20 year olds from purchasing a firearm is unconstitutional. What now? The case will go to the full bank of judges, then wend its way to the Supreme Court.

Fourth Circuit Court

History makes clear that 18- to 20-year-olds were understood to fall under the Second Amendment’s protections. Those over 18 were universally required to be part of the militia near the ratification, proving that they were considered part of ‘the people’ who enjoyed Second Amendment rights, and most other constitutional rights apply to this age group. And Congress may not restrict the rights of an entire group of law-abiding adults because a minuscule portion of that group commits a disproportionate amount of gun violence. Congress’s failure to connect handgun purchases from licensed dealers to youth gun violence only serves to highlight the law’s ‘unduly tenuous ‘fit’ with the government’s substantial interests. Eighteen- to twenty-year-olds have Second Amendment rights, and the challenged laws impermissibly burden those rights.”

Fourth District Court Panel

The case was Hirschfeld v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. Tanner Hirschfield turned 21 while the case was in litigation, so his claims became moot. But the case was filed on behalf of Natalia Marshall as well. She tried to buy a handgun for self-defense, and was turned down because she was 19. She had a valid protection order against an abusive boyfriend, who was wanted by police on weapons and drug charges.

According to the decision, the plaintiffs sought “an injunction and a declaratory judgment that several federal laws and regulations that prevent federally licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to any 18-, 19-, or 20-year-old violate the Second Amendment.”

The case was rejected at the district court level, which sided with the defendants and dismissed the case. Giffords, Brady and Everytown filed Amici in support of the ATF.

Lee Williams at The Gun Writer

Will the Supreme Court take this case? It’s a question. And if the full bank of Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judges reverses this ruling, it will continue a problem for youth who wish to protect themselves. 18-20 year olds are legal adults in this country. The anti-gun lobby is hard at work to stop the ruling, you can count on it. The court remanded the case for ”further proceedings.”

H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children


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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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