SAF, Calguns and FPC Move for Injunction Against California’s Age-Based Gun Ban

denied gun sale age ban

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Should it be legal to refuse to sell a lawful product to an adult simply because of his or her age? That’s now the law in an increasing number of jurisdictions, including that hotbed of Second Amendment freedom infringement, the great state of California.

The Second Amendment Foundation, Calguns Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition are trying to change that. They’re seeking an injunction against this blatant age discrimination and have asked a federal court to declare it unconstitutional.

Here’s SAF’s press release . . .

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation are seeking an injunction against a section of California’s penal code that prohibits young adults, ages 18-20 from purchasing or acquiring firearms, and they are asking the federal court to declare this prohibition to be unconstitutional.

Joining SAF and Calguns are the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, a local business and three private citizens. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The plaintiffs are represented by lead counsel John W. Dillon of Carlsbad, California-based Gatzke Dillon & Balance LLP. A copy of the court filing can be accessed at www.firearmspolicy.org/legal.

“We’re going to court against this law because it clearly violates the Second and Fourteenth amendment rights of young adults,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “When a citizen turns 18 years old in this country, he or she is considered a legal adult, free to exercise their rights under the Constitution, and that certainly should include the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

“But this California law turns that concept on its ear, with very few exceptions, such as possessing a valid hunting license,” he added. “But our individual plaintiffs do not hunt, and have no intention of pretending to be hunters, just to exercise their constitutional rights.”

The law in question is Penal Code 27510, an onerous regulation that prohibits licensed dealers from selling, supplying or delivering firearms to any person under age 21. Because of this, say SAF and its fellow plaintiffs, the law violates the rights of the plaintiffs and citizens in the 18-to-20 age group.

“Once individuals turn eighteen, they are adults in the eyes of the law,” explained John W. Dillon. “Law-abiding adults are entitled to fully exercise all of their fundamental rights, including their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for all lawful purposes, not just hunting or sport.”

“The Second Amendment is not a second-class right and adults over the age of eighteen but under twenty-one are not second-class people,” said FPC President and FPF Chairman Brandon Combs. “This case seeks to restore the Second Amendment human rights of legal adults who are being prevented from exercising them because of unconstitutional laws, policies, practices, customs that the State of California defendants are known to enforce.”

“The Second Amendment fully applies to all non-prohibited adults, period,” commented Calguns Foundation Chairman Gene Hoffman. “California cannot deny a fundamental, enumerated right to adults over the age of 18 that have no disqualifying criminal or mental health history.”

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

comments

  1. avatar James Banish says:

    A person is considered a consenting adult at eighteen years of age. Secondly the person can die for their country. They are fully vested in their civil rights. That includes the 2nd amendment. The right to bare arms. California better learn to study the Constitution. Be what may, California ranks near the bottom in public education. That is a subject of it’s own.

    1. avatar El Duderino says:

      James, I support your position…but it doesn’t help that you lament a lack of education and then make several spelling and grammar errors in your post.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. Lots of guns." PR says:

        I was able to understand what he was trying to say. Not everyone is as ed-u-muh-cated as you are.

        Cut him some slack, willya?

      2. avatar GS650G says:

        What doesnt help and is unnecessary is criticism about grammar and spelling..

        1. avatar afp3 says:

          I’ve always wondered if the editor of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” could be literally considered a grammar nazi.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          ” I’ve always wondered if the editor of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” could be literally considered a grammar nazi.”

          Ooohhh. Subtle, but nicely done.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. Lots of guns." PR says:

        It’s also the name of a ‘Larry the Cable Guy’ album –

        https://www.amazon.com/Right-Bare-Arms-Larry-Cable/dp/B0007QS4T6

      2. avatar FlyingFish says:

        Living in Florida I want both the right to bear arms and the right to bare arms. Well, if I had bear arms, I probably would not want to bare arms in public.

        1. avatar Wyantry says:

          HAIRY dude! Bare bear arms? Oooh, I can hardly bear it . . . .

          So how about changing ALL the alcohol, drug, draft registration, voting, weapons purchase requirements and so forth to twenty one?

          Most under-21’s these days do not seem to have the emotional stability nor reasoning capability to make a rational decision concerning drugs, weapons OR voting! Yet these mentally not-fully-developed individuals are being pushed by democratic-socialist as a voting-block easily swayed by appeals to emotion rather than reason.

          This is all in support of “democrat” policies and ideals — and to sustain democraps in office and promote socialism / communism and political stalemate.

    2. avatar arc says:

      Depending on the state, they can consent to sex at 16. Parental permission, die for the overlords at 17.

  2. avatar neiowa says:

    That ship sailed (cigarettes) years ago.

    How about restoring the vote to felons (criminals are a dem constituency) but not their right to own firearms. (neither for violent felons (convicted by a jury))

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Booze too. 20 year olds can’t drink a beer but can do a whole bunch of things.

  3. avatar Nanashi says:

    As a life member, I’m concerned by the SAF’s implication in its word choice that the Constitution does not protect the rights of minors.

  4. avatar Tom T says:

    I have never understood the inconsistency in our laws. Either 18 is an adult or it isn’t. There are not “levels” of citizenship. And those inconsistencies can be found in many areas of law, not just firearms.

    1. avatar JP Ruiz says:

      “There are not “levels” of citizenship.”……..Unless you’re an ILLEGAL ALIEN who’s an ‘oppressed minority’ at the mercy of the American White Devil, so therefore, you have a racial and ethnic birth-based, blood-right to enter the US……ILLEGALLY……, get AMNESTY and Citizenship so you can exercise down-ballot, Democrat Votes to recreate the 3rd World Communist, Socialist, and/or Islamofascist SHITHOLE that you came from.

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        If our rights are god given, then what difference does citizenship have to do with it?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “If our rights are god given, then what difference does citizenship have to do with it?”

          Agree. Every living person should have the right to vote in any election, anywhere in the world. We all live on one planet, so each person should be counted on any issue that affects any other person on the planet.

        2. avatar huntmaster says:

          I wasn’t actually advocating any particular ideas or proposals, I was only looking for some of the thoughtful discussion I usually find here. I guess today wasn’t a good day for it.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “If our rights are god given, then what difference does citizenship have to do with it?”

          Not sure any of the liberal thinkers of western culture were convinced natural, human and preexisting civil rights included the right to a place. Or even a right to move to a given place.

          Governments are established to serve the interests of the people governed. If those people find it detrimental to their lives to allow any and all to benefit from the bounty of a country, city, tribe, such sovereign people have combined rights to make such determinations (call them boundaries, or citizenship, if you like). However, when “others” are allowed transit, or residence in a country, city, tribe, the natural, human and civil rights remain (or follow the invitee). Not finding support for an “other” to assert their right to “squat” wherever they like and benefit from bounty to which they have not contributed.

    2. avatar barnbwt says:

      “Arbitrary” and “capricious” are the currency of poor governance and a lack of respect for the rule of law. That’s why they are so common in our system.

  5. avatar Bob says:

    Liquor, cigarettes, rental cars, there are lots of products out there that are restricted on age basis. Sometimes you can’t buy (or rent a car) if you’re not old enough, sometimes they won’t sell if you’re too old.

    Make the case on the constitutional right, but don’t get your panties in a bunch because certain legal products aren’t sold to those in a certain age range, because that’s an extremely well-entrenched precedent in commerce.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      California has different age limits for different things. You have to be 21 to buy liquor, 18 to vote, 21 to buy handguns, 18 to buy rifles and shotguns. This is not unusual. For public safety reasons, many states have a 21 year old requirement for alcohol, or a split 18 bear & wine/21 for hard alcohol. Back when I started college in 1974, Louisiana was 18 for everything, now it is a split system.Why? Because many 18 year olds are still immature and do stupid stuff, stuff that can harm others. If it is ok to ban them from buying handguns, the most commonly used murder weapon, why is a violation to preclude them from buying ARs?

      I think Plaintiffs have a tough case ahead of them

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        The days of the 18/21 alcohol split have been gone for 31 years. The Congress under Reagan would withhold highway funds from any state that didn’t raise everything to 21. Last I heard, 18-20 could still get a beer on a military base, but that might be gone too.

        1. avatar Mark H says:

          Alchohol is “special” because of the 21st Amendment.

        2. avatar Mark N. says:

          Well, that just goes to show that as far as alcohol goes, you are not an adult until 21. Not very helpful to the cause. And to file this case in the Ninth Circuit? The odds are very low that this will be successful. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised,

      2. avatar JD says:

        Why is 21 a magic number? If states can restrict a constitutionally protected right to a certain age why couldn’t they make the age to purchase a firearm 75? They picked 21 on the basis that it’s a small infringement and are hoping the courts agree. If they really believed it wasn’t an illegal infringement they would have made the age the skies the limit.

  6. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “Liquor, cigarettes, rental cars, there are lots of products out there that are restricted on age basis.”

    True, but are the above enumerated rights protected by the constitution? Are there age limits on when the 1st amendment can be sliced based on the age of an adult? How ’bout the 5th amendment protection from self-incrimination? Is that one restricted between 18 and 21 years of age?

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Which is why I said, make the argument on constitutional rights merits, rather than a disingenuous and ultimately doomed argument about age discrimination.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “…rather than a disingenuous and ultimately doomed argument about age discrimination.”

        Wouldn’t age discrimination be at the heart of any constitutional argument? If age is the demarcation, and one adult age block is restricted, and another is not, what else to call the outcome?

        Under the original concept of federalism, one could argue that states should set the age block for being eligible for membership in “the militia”. That stance would support the idea that a state has full authority to designate the age of adulthood for citizens of a state. Such would allow a state to set different standards for militia membership, and any other activity.

        To argue that all adults (requiring some sort of universal agreement on the minimum age to be declared an adult) are protected by the second amendment, thus there can be no selective categorization of “adult”, would have the militia acts of 1792, 1795, and 1862 as supportive of adulthood universally determined to be 18yrs of age. And even this would only serve to support the claim that a demarcation between adults registering between 18 and 20 is de facto age discrimination.

  7. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Should it be legal to refuse to sell a lawful product to an adult simply because of his or her age?”

    No, and that’s called ageism…

  8. avatar daveinwyo says:

    @ Sam; If I remember correctly the original militia age spread was 14-45. (?)
    Most age related requirements are arbitrary, and without some form of cognitive test will remain so.
    I was declared an Emancipated Minor at 16. But I still could not break the age limits for alcohol and voting. Could own a vehicle, have an adult drivers license, and enlist on a delayed entry program. But no beer or vote.
    I had to prove that I could support myself, finish high school and had a plan for the future. Sigh… good ol’ days.
    Most of the 16 y.o.’s today shouldn’t be let out of the house without a leash and adult supervision ’till 21.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “@ Sam; If I remember correctly the original militia age spread was 14-45. ”

      There were a number of founding letters discussing everything about the constitution, including the militia. The actual document (constitution) has two clauses regarding the militia, and neither establish an age standard (remember, the States decided such things for themselves at the time). However, in 1792 the Second Militia Act was passed by Congress (legislation, not an amendment). This second Act established militia age at 18-45 in each State. Prior to that, various writings noted 18-60, or other upper limits.

      If there was no further regulation of militia age (and I did not research every federal law that might be related), then federal law declares that “the right of the people” to bear arms can be identified as a federal law that does not envision (tolerate?) any restriction on 18yr olds possessing, purchasing, making firearms. Such lack of restriction could be argued to make unconstitutional (providing the Second Militia Act was/is constitutional) any bifurcation of “adult” rights regarding firearms, and such bifurcation is unconstitutional in that the result is in violation of the Militia Acts, and is blatant age discrimination. Being in violation of a constitutionally valid Militia Act, a law established under the constitutional authority of Congress, such bifurcation is unconstitutional.

      I can see where one can avoid the appeal to age discrimination, and still have a viable case of unconstitutionality. However, when combating anti-gunners, piling on is always an attractive option.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        An interesting angle, using the Militia Act to define the age of a right to bare bear arms at 18, same as the age limit generally to join the military. Might work. But the comeback is that soldiers are disarmed on bases unless in an actual war zone…

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “But the comeback is that soldiers are disarmed on bases unless in an actual war zone…”

          Indeed, but soldiers are members not of the militia, but the standing army. As such, soldiers do not equip themselves. However, soldiers of age 18 may have been “militia” prior to joining the standing army, and would be within rights to purchase firearms. Of course, the militia angle opens the entire “Second Amendment only applies to militia” thing.

          The underlying difficulty seems to be the lack of a universally accepted concept of full adulthood. Where states declare a person “adult” and capable of contracting at 18, the age discrimination may be the only attractive line of reasoning.

    2. avatar PosseMan says:

      “Most of the 16 y.o.’s today shouldn’t be let out of the house without a leash and adult supervision ’till 21.”

      Meh..I could cite examples of people that “shouldn’t be let out of the house without a leash and [responsible] adult supervision” for *any* age. Any and all ages. That’s not a valid argument at all.

  9. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    well, let ’em buy .22’s at 12yoa, any rifle at 16, and handguns at 18.
    but for pete’s sake don’t let the little darlings vote until 21 (25?).

  10. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    Making the legal age to purchase a handgun 21 is not a bad idea – so long as that’s also the minimum age to vote, join the military, get a driver’s license/own a vehicle, get married, apply for credit, make your own medical decisions, purchase alcohol/tobacco/vapes/tide pods/antifa masks etc. etc. etc.
    There has to be a firm age when one becomes an adult, and pushing that age to 21 seems a good compromise (many of us would like to see it at 25+).
    But basically, voting rights need to be tied to gun rights across the board – anyone unable to purchase/own a firearm, for whatever the reason may be, certainly cannot be entrusted with a vote. This should go for felons as well – if you’ve done your time and are to be re-enfranchised, the right to vote must include full restoration of all citizenship rights, including the right to keep and bear arms. This would shut them up about enfranchising the currently incarcerated just to get (they assume) more dem votes – no gun = no vote. Fuck no.
    Also treat voter registration the same as CCW permits, and polling places the same as gun stores – picture ID, instant background check, preferably e-verify as well. Make them play by their own rules to more easily throw accusations of nazism/racism/tranphobiacisnormativepatriarchicalwhitesupremecyhelicopterBBQ right back at them.
    Look, I welcome the boogaloo as much as the next guy, but if we can win through clever application of logic, peaceful mockery and relentless trolling, well, that sounds like almost as much fun and I don’t risk running out of ammo

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