Minnesota Federal Judge: 18-20 Carry Ban Unconstitutional

A Minnesota Federal Judge, Biden judicial appointee, struck down a Minnesota law banning 18-20-year-olds from the lawful carrying of firearms. US District Judge Katherine Menendez ruled that the Minnesota law is not in keeping with the history and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms. It’s how she ruled, but she is not a fan of carrying firearms.

“Defendants argue that the plain and ordinary meaning of “the people,” as understood at the time the Second and Fourteenth Amendments were adopted, would not have included persons under twenty-one, and adopting the Plaintiffs’ all-the-people reading too literally would lead to absurd results, such as allowing young children to publicly carry firearms. For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that the Second Amendment’s plain text is better read to include adults 18 and older in its protections.

First, although it did not address the age-related issue before the Court in this case, Heller’s discussion of the normal and ordinary meaning of the phrase “the right of the people” places a thumb on the scale in favor of the Plaintiffs’ preferred interpretation. The Heller majority compared “the people” in the Second Amendment to the Constitution’s other references to the same or similar phrases, then explained that “the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset.”

… Neither Heller nor Bruen addressed the specific issue of whether the Second Amendment’s text protects the rights of 18-to-20-year-olds. But because the normal and ordinary meaning of “the people” includes all Americans who are a part of the national community, the right codified by the Amendment appears to include them.

Second, neither the Second Amendment’s text nor other provisions within the Bill of Rights include an age limit. However, the Founders placed age requirements elsewhere in the Constitution, including for eligibility to be a House Member, Senator, or the President.

… Third, the inclusion of “the people” elsewhere in the Bill of Rights supports the interpretation that the Second Amendment extends to individuals over the age of eighteen. The Supreme Court found meaning in the Constitution’s use of the same or a similar phrase as that used in the Second Amendment. Indeed, in considering the reach of the Second Amendment, the Heller Court considered the fact that both the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment refer to a right belonging to “the people.” The First, of course, protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” And the Fourth proscribes violations of the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Although one can find certain limitations upon the rights of young people secured by both the First and Fourth Amendments, neither has been interpreted to exclude 18-to-20-year-olds from their protections.

Finally, founding era militia laws lend support to the understanding that “the people” referred to in the Second Amendment includes 18-to-20-year-olds.” Minnesota Federal Judge Katherine Menendez (Bearing Arms)

Judge Menendez did her homework and ruled according to the Constitution. She didn’t want to. Her decision also contained a statement to the effect that if she wasn’t constrained by the history of the 2nd amendment and recent Supreme Court decisions, she would have ruled otherwise. She did not include a stay of enforcement of the Minnesota law in her decision, and AG Keith Ellison will more than likely file an appeal.

For now, it’s a win for the 2nd Amendment. The battle is far from over.


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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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