On Tuesday, in the US appeals court for the Fourth Circuit, a three-judge panel ruled that the federal handgun ban against adults under 21 is unconstitutional.
Judge Julius Richardson, a Trump appointee, in his Majority Opinion referred to our Founding Fathers for guidance on the meaning of an “armed militia”.
Judge Julius Richardson wrote, “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.”
He added, “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.”
The 4th Circuit’s ruling applies to five states: Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, on Tuesday.
According to NBC News:
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the federal law banning handgun sales by licensed dealers to anyone under 21 is unconstitutional.
A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia, voted 2-1 to declare the law invalid.
The ruling, which is sure to be appealed, was a victory for a Virginia woman, Natalia Marshall. She wanted to buy a handgun to protect herself from her abusive ex-boyfriend and to defend herself in remote rural areas where she works with horses. When she was turned down by a licensed firearms dealer because she was 18, she sued to challenge the law.
In dissent, Judge James A. Wynn Jr. said the ruling invalidated a modest and long-established effort to control gun violence. “The majority’s decision to grant the gun lobby a victory in a fight it lost on Capitol Hill more than fifty years ago is not compelled by law. Nor is it consistent with the proper role of the federal judiciary in our democratic system.”
The federal government can appeal the decision to the full appeals court or go directly to the Supreme Court, which already has one high-profile gun rights case on the docket for the coming term — a challenge to laws that restrict carrying guns in public.