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Minimum Age to Purchase Handguns Struck Down

Keith G. Langer July 14, 2021

On July 13, 2021, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the prohibition against 18 - 21 year olds purchasing handguns. Holding the age ban unconstitutional, the court found as follows:

"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. 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." 

Hirschfeld, et al. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; No. 19-2250

Expect this to be appealed, but the court's logic is impeccable.