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Court: Federal Laws Banning Handgun Sales to People Under 21 Violate the 2nd Amendment

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A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that federal laws banning firearm dealers from selling handguns to customers under the age of 21 are unconstitutional.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its decision that there was no reason to treat Second Amendment rights any differently than other constitutional rights enjoyed by citizens no later than the age of 18.

The court ruled that 18-year-olds possess Second Amendment rights and that the federal government failed “to justify its infringement of those rights under the appropriate level of scrutiny.”

“Despite the weighty interest in reducing crime and violence, we refuse to relegate either the Second Amendment or 18- to 20-year-olds to a second-class status,” Judge Julius Richardson wrote in the majority opinion.

The case concerned a federal law that made it illegal for federally licensed firearm dealers to sell handguns to customers under the age of 21. The law was part of the 1968 Gun Control Act and was intended to address the disproportionate crime rates among 18- to 21-year-olds, according to the ruling.

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“To justify this restriction, Congress used disproportionate crime rates to craft over-inclusive laws that restrict the rights of overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens,” Richardson said.

“So we hold that the challenged federal laws and regulations are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.”

Judge James Wynn criticized the logic of the ruling in his dissent, arguing that Second Amendment rights were different from other constitutional rights.

“No, the Second Amendment is exceptional not because it is uniquely oppressed or imperiled, but rather because it is singularly capable of causing harm,” Wynn wrote.

“Huge win for the Second Amendment,” the National Association for Gun Rights tweeted in response to the decision.

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