On Tuesday, a federal appeals court overturned a decades-long law that prohibited the sale of handguns to Americans under the age of 21, on the basis that it violated the Second Amendment, according to USA Today.
The law was first signed into law by Lyndon Johnson in 1968, and although it banned handguns for those under 21, it still allowed Americans as young as 18 to purchase rifles and shotguns. In the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Virginia, it was determined that the restriction for one type of gun based on a three-year age difference was arbitrary and had no merit.
Judge Julius Richardson, who was appointed to the court by President Donald Trump in 2018, wrote the majority opinion explaining the ruling: “When do constitutional rights vest? At 18 or 21? 16 or 25? Why not 13 or 33? In the law, a line must sometimes be drawn. But there must be a reason why constitutional rights cannot be enjoyed until a certain age.”
The law was brought before the court in a lawsuit filed by 19-year-old Natalia Marshall, who attempted to buy a handgun to protect herself against her ex-boyfriend. Marshall, who had successfully obtained a restraining order against her ex- boyfriend after he was arrested for his own unlawful possession of a firearm, first tried to buy her own handgun at the age of 18, but was denied due to her age.
Writing for the dissenting minority, Judge James Wynn, who was appointed by Barack Obama, claimed that the ruling was simply “granting the gun lobby a victory in a fight it lost on Capitol Hill more than fifty years ago,” and that the court’s ruling “is not compelled by law.” The ruling was also decried by the far-left anti-gun group Everytown Law, with a spokesman falsely declaring that “the majority’s opinion is an extreme outlier that departs from all relevant precedent.”
The ruling is expected to be appealed by anti-gun advocates, in which case it will most likely make its way to the Supreme Court for a final verdict.