gun store counter pistol
Courtesy NSSF
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For decades, a disturbing trend has been afoot. Instead of treating teenagers mostly like adults and then giving them their full rights at age 18, people have been taking the rights of young adults away, citing a variety of excuses, many of them politically motivated. Alcohol, smoking, tobacco, and buying a handgun are all off-limits until 21, with people pushing for even higher age restrictions for some of these and others.

But despite this rampant and unchecked age discrimination for adult citizens, society still expects young men to register for the draft and entrusts young men and women with something as important as voting (some, of course, want to lower that one). Older adults with a decidedly authoritarian bent want to restrict the rights of young people while still expecting them to assume the full responsibilities of citizenship.

That viewpoint, however, took a big blow on Friday. In a case filed in the Northern District of West Virginia, a federal judge has applied the rights-respecting standards of the Supreme Court’s NYSRPA v Bruen decision when considering a challenge to the federal law that prohibits the legal sale of a pistol to adults under 21 year old, rejecting arguments by the law’s defenders that those people can still buy a gun privately or get one from an older family member.

By granting summary judgment in the case, U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas S. Kleeh, a Trump appointee, prohibited the federal government from enforcing the prohibition on sales to 18 to 20-year-olds and his ruling is based on Bruen. As he wrote . . .

The core issue the Court must answer under Bruen remains whether our Nation’s history and tradition contains “analogous” restrictions on the ability of 18-to-20-year-olds to purchase firearms. …  Defendants have not presented any evidence of age-based restrictions on the purchase or sale of firearms from before or at the Founding or during the Early Republic. Defendants have likewise failed to offer evidence of similar regulation between then and 1791 or in a relevant timeframe thereafter. For that reason alone, Defendants have failed to meet the burden imposed by Bruen.

You can read the full ruling here. The Second Amendment Foundation was downright giddy . . .

In a 40-page decision, U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas S. Kleeh with the Northern District of West Virginia wrote, “(B)ecause Plaintiffs’ conduct – the purchase of handguns – ‘fall[s] [within] the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command’ and the challenged statutes and regulations are not ‘consistent with the Nation’s historic tradition of firearm regulation,’ the Court FINDS 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(b)(1) and (c)(1) facially unconstitutional and as applied to Plaintiffs.”

He enjoined the defendants—in this case the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ATF Director Steven Dettelbach and Attorney General Merrick Garland from enforcing the provisions “against Plaintiffs and otherwise-qualified 18-to-20-year-olds.”

“This is a huge victory for Second Amendment rights, especially for young adults,” said SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “The Biden Justice Department argued that people in this age group were not adults, which was patently ludicrous. The government simply could not defend the constitutionality of the handgun prohibition, and Judge Kleeh’s ruling makes that clear.”

If you’re in that age group and have your eye on something at the local gun shop, you’ll want to act fast. The federal government could — and probably will — choose to appeal the ruling and ask for an order staying the decision while the case is argued further. It may also take some time for NICS background check system to adjust to this new reality, so the window of actual opportunity here could be pretty short.

Still A Long Way To Go

The federal ban is only one of many laws that prohibit young adults from fully exercising their right to keep and bear arms. Even in constitutional carry states, it’s often illegal under state law to carry without a permit until age 21. Additionally, many states won’t issue carry permits at age 18, and there may even be a case for issue at 17 if a young person asserted their status as a member of the unorganized militia. Some states prohibit mere possession until a higher age, such as New Mexico, which prohibits possession of handguns until age 19, even at home or in a vehicle.

All of these clear infringements will probably need to be challenged individually to get them cleared out, but their time will come. Democrat party lawyers and judges are trying to do anything they can to delay each and every one of these cases in hopes that that at least one conservative judge will die or retire and Biden or a Democrat successor will get to reconfigure the court to weaken or reverse Bruen.

So, if you’re a young adult whose rights are limited by laws such as these, consider contacting an organization like the Second Amendment Foundation or the Firearms Policy Coalition to see if they can help you get that changed.

 

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54 COMMENTS

  1. “This is a huge victory for Second Amendment rights, especially for young adults,” said SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “The Biden Justice Department argued that people in this age group were not adults, which was patently ludicrous.”

    These are the same folks that want to lower the voting age to 16. The quickest way to stop that crap is to make the age of majority 21 for *all* civil rights, voting, and gun ownership…

    • 30 would be a better number IMHO.

      Voting rights should not be conferred until they perform a term in the military and finish their service. If somone isn’t willing to serve and put their life on the line then they have no business in the process of deciding public policy and lawmaking.

        • You want a civil war huh? Still happy they stopped the draft right before I turned 19. No one “needed” to go to Vietnam I had a wife & kid at 20. Adult enough!

        • @ former water walker. A wife and children does not prove adulthood or competency. If that were the case much of the problems our society faces today. would not exist.

      • Sounds like some would be comfortable with a Poll Tax. If a 16 year old can drive around in a 3000 plus pound projectile then they can own a firearm and they can learn early to protect that right and their other rights by voting accordingly. After all there are plenty of Gun owning geezers whose sourpuss politically inept rhetoric caters to the democRat Party, if they can vote then most anyone can.

      • Military service only proves your ability to be duped and suckered into going to other countries to kill people and break things for the enrichment of politicians and their MIC buddies. F that. You can take that crap and shove it.

        Add to that the Bro Vet attitude expressed by many former military and law enforcement
        that only former military and law enforcement
        should own guns and I have to conclude that such people are too stupid to be able to read either the constitution or the declaration, much less decide policy for anyone.

        • So, having served honorably for 6 1/2 years in the United States Marine Corps then I am too stupid to read and comprehend the very document I swore an oath to protect and defend? I don’t think that former military and law enforcement should be the only people permitted to have firearms (nor do I know any Veteran that does), but I DO have my doubts about a POS that is ignorant enough to call anyone who has served in the military stupid enough to be “duped and suckered” into service… How about a big old “Elon Musk” (aka GFY) to you…

      • Thirty? Not right. Tell me a person who can buy and drive car or commercial truck, fly an airplane commercially, own any real estate or business, own/operate any vessel, but can’t own a gun till THIRTY?
        I know a kid who at 17 bought an 80 unit apartment complex, using his own money (had to give it to Dad who on paper “owned” the plce cuz at 17 he could not). In a year he rehabbed every unit, ran off the riff raff parking lot drunks, got occupancy way up, raised all the rents, then sold the joint.. walking away with $100K in the clear. Tell me HE can’t handle anything? (next trick, he built up an oil change company from scratch, out to nine rtail locations. Valvoline got jealous cause they wanted in to that territory. My friend, then mid-twenties, walked away with nine MILLION dollars clear. And no the only real help Dad gave him along the way was to have taught him how to WORK, THINK, and plan ahead.

        as to military service being a precondition to ANY right, not gonna happen. I would NOT advise, now support, any of my children going into today’s woke, rotten, lazy, corrupt, compromised military. I’ll make sure they are possessed of a good level of comfort in skill at arms, and have a mindset to use them well when appropriate. But joining the military? No way. Not until they wake up and return to being a solid organisation.

      • Auto insurance for males is sky high until they turn 26 for good reason…..should be the same for firearms, vets exempted, which would also boost enlistment. Everyone should have to spend 2 years in National Service either fighting, helping old people and lame people or cleaning up all the garbage strewn across our country.

      • The draft is basically slavery. The military should be 100% voluntary and be the sole path to “full voting citizenship.” Non-voting citizens have all the rights of veterans except they can not vote or hold public office.

        • That would be very discriminatory. There are many in this country who have handicaps, others that are very smart and lack some physical attributes that would allow them to become a proper GI.
          I feel that a person at 18(some cases earlier) should be able to petition the Gov to be declared an adult(with rights and responsibilities). They should be out of the home and not being in college on mommy’s and daddy’s dime.
          Anyone accepted in the military would meet those requirements.

        • There could be alternatives to combat service but still service to their nation. Anyone should be able to get a chance to serve no matter what their abilities but it can’t be just makework. It should be hard and possibly dangerous work. Those willing to serve must be willing to give their lives if necessary. They should be able to QUIT at any time with no repercussions other than never ever being able to vote or hold office. Only those who COMPETE their service earn full voting citizenship. Untill they have proven that they have skin in the game they have no business participating in the body politic.

        • Nikita Tesla – I’m a big Heinlein fan too – the book Starship Troopers (not the execrable “movie” that Verhoeven shat out) is an all time favorite that I reread periodically – but I doubt that RAH himself would consider the political system in ST as a valid solution to our current cultural rot. His primary point in ST is that the best system is the system that actually works, regardless of how/why it came to be – in the context of the book their system fits their circumstances. As a veteran who served a long, long time I can attest that I wouldn’t trust recent military members with voting/full citizenship anymore than a couple percentage points above the general public. Until we address the root causes for our decline in personal responsibility and civility the system doesn’t really matter – just like crime, it’s all about what individuals do/think.

        • “Non-voting citizens have all the rights of veterans except they can not vote or hold public office.“

          Just like Donald Trump, you would like to terminate the United States Constitution.

          Conservatives just can’t help showing how much they hate the United States Constitution, fascinating.

        • miner. You’re on record as saying it’s ok to limit rights. You want to limit civil rights to where we have to ask permission to exercise them. Get classroom training to exercise a right and then still get permission.

          How are you any different from how you accuse Trump of being?

        • MINOR49er, we will leave ripping down the Constitution to you Leftists control freaks.

        • Nikita never said anything of the sort, Miner. Are you trying to say there is not a constitutional way of implementing his proposed policies? Where were you for the past few years when Democrats ditched the First Amendment? You were cheering it on.

        • minor49iq…you are a useful idiot doing exactly what the communist party wants…Blaming others for what you and your ilk are guilty of.

        • Thank you Johnny Rico, for the dystopian neo fascist future vision. F that too. I serve my country by participating in the economy and advocating for freedom. I am prepared to kill and die fighting against tyranny here. But Not in other countries for big oil or Lockheed or Boeing or whatever special interest needs a war somewhere or a resource that someone else has.

          This is exactly why any government is a bad idea and democracy sucks.

        • Quite fascist of you, don’t you think?

          They say the military protects American interests around the world. But they leave a word out. BUSINESS.

          The military protects American BUSINESS interests around the world. How many wars have we fought where there was a risk to the US? One? Two? War of 1812 and WWII. Was North Korea going to invade California? Or Vietnam?

          All citizens have full rights, period. The US Constitution protects everyone in this country, even, get this, non-citizens.

    • I’ve had the thought that voting for an office should be enabled at the age required to hold that office, I.E., 35yo to vote in a presidential race.

      • “Democracy” is a dangerous tyranny that must be limited lest it run amok. The Founders understood this and never intended it to get as out of control as it has.

        Kurt Voorhooven’s movie adaptation of Starship Troopers was indeed a “dystopian” hit piece but didn’t take much more from Heinlein’s original book than a few character names and the title. Tell me you didn’t actually READ the book while not telling me…

  2. To the leftist people under 30 can’t be trusted to to anything other than vote and people over 30 can’t be trusted to do anything until they reach the age of 80 then they can be trusted to vote again but nothing else.

    • In order to be a leftist your brain must be immature and easily brainwashed by public schools. For many that begins to wear off around 30 years after living in the real world. Then again when the brain begins to deteriorate and rot in old age those people begin to be susceptible again to the magical thinking of leftism.

    • Actually, the Left would prefer that you are deceased, that way they can “HELP” you make the correct choices on your ballot…

    • I wonder how well the expensive and worthless toy will do against solid copper rounds like those made by Lehigh Defence?

      • They have a $12k spare battery that weights 500lbs and takes up 1/3 of the truck bed and gives the truck 130 extra miles.

        In the “real world” we call this a “jerry can” -it doesn’t cost but $20 and another $20 to refill and you can carry it with one hand. It doesn’t take up 1/3 of the bed either.

        Electric power is fine for a golf cart or a scooter. This truck is ridiculous.

        • I’m kinda fond of the idea of electric bikes. But that is as far as my ev lust goes. And that’s only because I’m getting old.

          I’d like a neighborhood errand runner.

        • I like the idea of a lightweight electric dirt bike capable of speeding down the tightest and roughest trails at speed or cruising across the city to run errands. This is completely achievable with today’s tech. A lightweight “motorcycle” is a good application and could actually outperform a gas-powered dirt bike soon since it could be lighter and more powerful.

        • It’s fine to have ridiculous things in a free society. To each his own. The only ridiculous thing about EVs is the subsidies, and the government trying to force them on the population. They do this by running the usual playbook: throwing huge sums of borrowed cash at the issue, and imposing absurd rules.

          Elon made a video of his truck beating a new Porsche 911 in a drag race while hauling a new 911! You have to respect that.

        • beating a new Porsche 911 in a drag race while hauling a new 911! You have to respect that.

          Every time you find yourself sitting in line waiting for a charging station… You’ll have plenty of time to “respect that”… OBTW: I have a 2003 Mustang “Cobra” that will absolutely destroy a Porsche 911 in a drag race…

  3. I find it very interesting that so many people on the pro2A side will see a state as ‘Constitutional Carry’ but then seem to refuse to acknowledge that there ARE restrictions that in themselves directly translate to that state NOT actually being a Constitutional Carry state.

    Texas does have restrictions. The Great State of Texas is not constitutional carry…it is ‘permitless carry’ which is NOT the same thing. Only those that can legally possess a firearm are allowed to carry.

    • Unfortunately if you want votes then sometimes the bill has to be watered down to suit sensitive RINOs, etc. What Texas has is far better than what CA has which is nada. And the more unfortunate bigger problem…the spoon fed public views Gun Control in a positive light and not for the evil that History confirms it to be…Their ignorance rests on Gun owners who have failed miserably to Define Gun Control.

      • I know there is a game to be played. A game that costs human lives. The players that are commonly referred to as “the swamp” know how to play it the best.

        I would gladly take what Texas has over CA any day of the week and twice on Sunday. That’s a comparison that I’m personally getting tired of. Texas cannot be treated or handled the same way you can California. Companies and politicians are trying very hard to do that but it will not work. This is a big part of why Biden refuses to deal with the southern border. It’s his middle finger to the state of Texas and to the country (among other things). The left has a foothold with judges like Lina Hildago.

        “spoon fed public views” is exactly right.

        But none of this is a reason or even an indication that I should just sit here in front of this screen and accept nonsense.

        I do find it interesting that there are those that understand that it is a game to these people and sometimes a pawn must be sacrificed for the greater good, but so many on the right cannot grasp the very same concept when it comes to the NRA. My thing here is that this stuff desperately NEEDS to be put out in the open for all to see. This is where people like Trump and Musk have a role to play.

  4. Alcohol, smoking, tobacco, and buying a handgun are all off-limits until 21..

    But they want to give 16 year olds the right to vote for POTUS…

  5. There have been proposals for voting at 14. The liberals know how easily they are manipulated. Simply give them the latest fad item and the vote is bought.

  6. I went hunting for the first time at 12. Bagged a pheasant with the 20g dear dad bought me. Take age requirements and pound some sand.

  7. “The Biden Justice Department argued that people in this age group were not adults, which was patently ludicrous.”

    at age 18 adult enough to send into combat, and the Justice Department prosecuted and imprisons them as adults, and they can execute contracts as adults, and be held accountable as adults, …but not an adult to exercise a constitutional right.

  8. No driving till you are 25, no sex till you are 36.

    When you are 13, you get fitted with a shock collar. Everyone over 42 gets a button. If you keep your record clean, we take it off when you turn 21…

  9. Obviously this hair brained science rejecting and foolish decision will be appealed. Once again a Simian Neanderthal Conservative Judge totally ignores science. Young adults under 25 have not reached full maturity and young men are especially violent at those ages. Raising the age to 25 “for all firearms” purchases only makes perfect and scientific sense but when did an idiot Conservative ever follow science???

    Even Insurance auto accident records prove how irresponsible younger people are as they recklessly cause most of the serious auto accidents. Guns are no different.

    • Yet if they were denied a drivers license OR a voter registration or they started a draft with an age restriction of 25 and older you would be one of the first to yell about “constitutional rights even though driving is not a guaranteed right unlike the “right to bear arms”… There is NO age restriction specifically addressed in the 2nd Amendment…

  10. “For decades, a disturbing trend has been afoot. Instead of treating teenagers mostly like adults and then giving them their full rights at age 18”

    No, that’s a disturbing trend as well. That itself is a REGRESSION. SCotUS has already recognized that minors have natural rights, such as 2011’s Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

    That kind of “thinking” expressed there is born of the same rationale that the idea the Constitution “gives” rights is. Natural rights from their creator are natural and from their creator. Just as they can’t be bargained away, they don’t pop into existence at some arbitrary age. Sargent Martin had a right to keep and bear arms when he joined the Continental Army at 15 to excise his right (and duty) to throw off such government, and so does every man, woman, child and teenager in existence.

    • An age has to be set for things just to promote an ordered society. There is a difference between what family, friends, and neighbors do compared to what happens on the larger scale where millions of people are concerned. A 15 year old that exhibits enough maturity to handle a more adult level of responsibility can acceptably be treated as an adult within their own sphere of influence without issue. Things change drastically when we are talking about 400 15 year olds with a wide mix of parenting, economic, and social upbringing. Then you add in the geographic differences across the country. These differences is precisely why marriage is generally acceptable under 18 with the signed consent of parents. The problem isn’t the people or with society in general. What makes this whole thing such an issue is when DC starts meddling with these kinds of societal norms and accepted practices for the purpose of manipulation in order to force fundamental changes that few if anyone can even tolerate. This is what tyrants do.

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