- Federal law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a handgun.
- The case of Frasure v. ATF challenged the constitutionality of this law and the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff, stating that the law is unconstitutional.
- The judge proposed a nationwide injunction against the sections of the law that prohibit individuals aged 18, 19, and 20 from purchasing a handgun.
- The ruling applies to every American citizen in that age group who is otherwise qualified to purchase a gun.
- There are some exceptions in certain jurisdictions where parallel litigation is taking place.
In a groundbreaking ruling, a federal court has deemed the age restriction on handgun purchases for individuals aged 18-20 as unconstitutional. The case, Frasier v. ATF, was decided on the merits back in May by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Virginia. The plaintiff, Mr. Frasier, challenged the constitutionality of 18 USC section 922 subsections B and C, which prohibit individuals under the age of 21 from purchasing handguns.
The judge in the case issued summary judgment in favor of Mr. Frasier, stating that the law was indeed unconstitutional. This ruling is significant because it not only applies to the plaintiff but also to a certified class of individuals aged 18-20 who are otherwise qualified to purchase a handgun. In other words, the ruling has the potential to benefit millions of Americans in that age group.
The court ruled that a nationwide injunction against 18 USC subsections B and C is necessary to prevent irreparable harm to the plaintiffs. The judge stated that people between the ages of 18 and 21 in different districts across the United States suffer an equal burden and therefore require categorical relief. This means that the injunction will apply to every American citizen aged 18-21 who is otherwise eligible to purchase a handgun.
While this ruling is significant, it is important to note that there may be separate state laws that also prohibit handgun purchases for individuals in this age group. Therefore, residents of certain states may still be subject to state-level restrictions. However, for those residing in states where there are no additional prohibitions, this ruling could potentially remove the age-based barrier to purchasing handguns.
The court also addressed several arguments made by the government in defense of the age restriction. One argument was that there is no harm in denying 18-20 year olds the right to purchase handguns because they will eventually turn 21 and be able to exercise that right. However, the court disagreed, stating that at the present moment, these individuals' constitutional rights are being denied by the government's enforcement of the challenged statutes.
Another argument raised by the government was that even though 18-20 year olds may not be able to purchase handguns, they can still receive them as gifts from parents or other third parties. The court dismissed this argument, noting that the ability to exercise a constitutional right should not depend on the generosity of others. The Second Amendment protects the right to purchase firearms, not just possess them.
It is worth mentioning that the court did not impose an injunction in certain jurisdictions due to parallel litigation. This means that there may be pending cases in these jurisdictions that involve the same issue, and the judges in those cases are expected to issue rulings soon. Therefore, the nationwide injunction may not apply to the Western District of Louisiana and the Northern District of West Virginia.
Unsurprisingly, the United States government has expressed its intention to appeal the ruling and will likely seek a stay of the injunction. This means that the case is far from over, and higher courts will have the final say. However, for now, this ruling represents a significant victory for those who believe that the age restriction on handgun purchases for 18-20 year olds is unconstitutional.
As the case progresses, Washington gun law TV will continue to provide updates and monitor any developments. It is essential for gun owners and enthusiasts to stay informed about changes in gun laws and how they may affect their rights and responsibilities. Being a lawful and responsible gun owner means understanding and complying with the law in every situation.