Over the summer the 2A community celebrated a decision from a three-judge panel on the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down laws preventing adults under the age of 21 from buying handguns.
This week, however, we have some bad news to report as that same court reneged on that ruling following a request from Biden’s DOJ to reconsider it.
The reason it did a 180?
“The court reversed itself not because of the merit of the suit or that it was wrongly decided,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, in an email to GunsAmerica. “They remanded it back to the lower court because the plaintiffs turned 21 and are no longer between the ages of 18 to 20 making the suit moot.”
“This has been a problem as well for some similar Second Amendment Foundation lawsuits in the past,” he continued. “However, SAF has a few suits currently filed in federal court that we keep adding young adult plaintiffs to so that they can’t be ruled moot as plaintiffs age. Eventually, we will win this battle to protect the Second Amendment rights of young adults.”
The original decision striking down the prohibition was written by Judge Julius Richardson, a Trump appointee.
“Looking through this historical lens to the text and structure of the Constitution reveals that 18- to 20-year-olds have Second Amendment rights. Virtually every other constitutional right applies whatever the age. And the Second Amendment is no different,” Richardson wrote back in July.
“The militia laws in force at the time of ratification uniformly required those 18 and older to join the militia and bring their own arms. While some historical restrictions existed, none support finding that 18-year-olds lack rights under the Second Amendment,” he continued.
At the time, it was universally hailed by gun-rights advocates as a great victory for the 2A movement.
However, this latest reversal has left a bad taste in taste in the mouths of many.
“The Fourth Circuit is telling the public that Second Amendment rights can be denied as long as the courts can run out the clock,” noted Mark Oliva, the director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.
“This is another example of lower courts treating the Second Amendment as a second-class right,” he added.
This battle is far from over. Stay tuned for updates.