A federal judge in Minnesota has struck down a law banning 18-to-20-year-olds from obtaining gun permits.
The decision is the latest gun rights victory to build off a landmark Supreme Court decision last summer upholding the right to carry handguns outside the home.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Menendez, a Biden appointee, had her hand forced by the decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, which laid out a new legal test for weighing gun control restrictions.
The judge conceded that she would have likely ruled differently if not for Bruen, which limits the government to gun control measures consistent with the nation's "historical tradition."
Menendez complained that Bruen limits policymakers to a framework "that begins and ends more than two hundred years ago" and which is likely to result "in more guns in the hands of more people, not just young adults."
But the judge conceded that Minnesota's age requirements are indefensible without a legal "regime" that ended with Bruen -- a regime which had permitted gun restrictions on the basis of policy goals like "public safety."
"Whatever the evidence may reveal about the wisdom behind enacting a 21-year-old requirement for publicly carrying a handgun, such analysis belongs to a regime of means-end scrutiny scuttled by Bruen," she wrote.
The Supreme Court's ruling "compels the conclusion that Minnesota’s permitting age restriction is unconstitutional," Menendez wrote.
As far as the text of the Second Amendment is concerned, the judge noted that the Founders enacted age requirements for office seekers but didn't think to include them in the Second Amendment.
"However, the Founders placed age requirements elsewhere in the Constitution, including for eligibility to be a House Member, Senator, or the
President.....This lends additional support to the notion that the Second Amendment’s 'plain text' does not include an age restriction."
She also noted that Founding-era militias included 18-to-2o year olds who were legally required to carry their own firearms.
The case was brought by three individuals under age 21 and gun rights groups like the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.
"This decision should serve as a warning to anti-gun politicians in Minnesota that the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus and its allies will not hesitate to take legal actions against unconstitutional infringements on the Second Amendment rights of Minnesotans," said Rob Doar, the group's Senior Vice President & Political Director.