A panel of the Ninth Circuit appeals court has struck down a California law that banned adults under 21 from buying semi-automatic rifles.
The 2-1 decision was handed down by two appointees of President Trump, Breitbart reported.
California gun ban struck down
The gun ban included exceptions for young adults in the military or law enforcement, but the judges found those conditions arbitrary and unfair. The law, they said, imposes an “almost total ban on semi-automatic centerfire rifles” that violates the Second Amendment rights of young people.
In their opinion, Judges Ryan Nelson and Kenneth Lee, both Trump appointees, said a lower court that upheld the ban made a “legal error.”
Judge Sidney Stein, a Clinton appointee, wrote a dissenting opinion arguing the law did not impose a “severe burden” on liberty.
But Nelson argued the ban was not just unconstitutional but disconnected from the nation’s history. America “would not exist” without the sacrifice of young soldiers, he noted.
“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” Nelson wrote. “Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.”
Legislators enacted the ban in 2019 after a series of mass shootings including the Parkland, Florida massacre. California’s Democratic attorney general, Rob Bonta, said he would continue to defend the state’s “commonsense” gun restrictions.
“We remain committed to defending California’s commonsense gun laws, which save lives and make our communities safer,” he said.
State senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat, fumed that “Trump judges continue to shred the Constitution” by letting young adults “own mass killing machines.” But the Firearms Policy Coalition, one of the groups that challenged the ban, hailed the court’s decision as a win for liberty.
“Today’s decision confirms that peaceable legal adults cannot be prohibited from acquiring firearms and exercising their rights enshrined in the Second Amendment,” the group’s Adam Kraut said.
The ruling was not an unmixed blessing for Second Amendment advocates. The court upheld a requirement that young adults buying shotguns and rifles get a hunting license, calling it “sensible firearm control.”