Democrats often lament the horrors of gun violence and are constantly seeking ways to strictly limit the Second Amendment-protected right to keep and bear arms, ostensibly in an effort to reduce such gun violence.
A major blow was dealt to that agenda this week, though, when a federal appeals court panel reversed a lower court and ruled as unconstitutional a major federal gun control law that banned the sale of handguns to adults age 18-20, The Washington Times reported.
Central to the case was a 19-year-old woman from Virginia who had been denied the legal purchase of a handgun for self-defense against an abusive ex-boyfriend who had violated a protective order, skipped a court date, and been arrested previously for unlawful possession of a firearm and controlled substances.
18-year-olds are “vested” in Second Amendment constitutional right
The case was heard by a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in a 2-1 decision written by Judge Julius Richardson, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, it was determined that adults age 18-20 were considered “vested” and covered by the Second Amendment.
Looking back to the time of the ratification of the Second Amendment — as well as the nation’s military throughout history — it was noted that adults age 18-20 were considered capable of serving in a militia, and now the armed forces, and mature enough to handle dangerous and “sophisticated” weaponry.
Judge Richardson also tackled the assertion that people in that age group were somehow collectively responsible for a “disproportionate” level of gun crime but shredded that argument by pointing out how there was little evidence that legally purchased handguns were used in such crimes while also decrying how the entire subgroup of vastly law-abiding adults age 18-20 was being denied a fundamental right due to the bad behavior of a “minuscule” portion of the group.
Democrats cry foul
Of course, Democrats are infuriated by the court’s ruling, first and foremost the dissenting judge in the case, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, Judge Andrew Wynn Jr., who wrote that his colleagues had upended a “long-established effort to control gun violence” in order to “grant the gun lobby a victory in a fight it lost on Capitol Hill more than fifty years ago.”
A spokesperson for President Joe Biden’s Justice Department, which had helped the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) defend the challenged law, said in a brief statement, “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are considering our options.”
USA Today reported that the ruling was also rebuked by gun control advocacy groups, such as the legal arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, Everytown Law. “The majority’s opinion is an extreme outlier that departs from all relevant precedent,” Eric Tirschwell, managing director for Everytown Law, said and added, “Not only has this same law previously been upheld, other courts have upheld stronger minimum age laws.”
Case will almost certainly be appealed to full circuit, Supreme Court
As was noted by the Everytown Law gun-grabber, the Times also pointed out that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012 had issued a ruling that upheld the prohibition on legal handgun sales to adults age 18-20, setting up a circuit split on the issue that could ultimately be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, the case will likely first be appealed to the entire Fourth Circuit bench, which has a majority of Democratic appointees who may well overrule the three-judge panel and uphold the federal law, placing it in line with the Fifth Circuit and reducing the likelihood that the Supreme Court will take it up.
As of Thursday morning, the Biden White House has yet to comment on the ruling, but given the president’s sharp focus on gun control and oft-repeated intent to further infringe upon the gun rights of law-abiding Americans, it likely won’t be long before the pro-Second Amendment ruling is formally and furiously condemned.