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Court rules California’s ban on under-21 gun sales is unconstitutional

A holstered handgun. (Al Behrman/TNS)
May 11, 2022

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

On Wednesday, a U.S. court of appeals ruled that a California law prohibiting the sale of semiautomatic weapons to adults under 21 is unconstitutional.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco determined in a 2-1 ruling that the rule violates Americans’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, according to The Associated Press.

The ruling noted that “…the Second Amendment protects the right of young adults to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to purchase them.”

“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” Judge Ryan 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.”

The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) said the decision makes them feel encouraged that other gun restrictions based on age will be overturned.

“Today’s decision confirms that peaceable legal adults cannot be prohibited from acquiring firearms and exercising their rights enshrined in the Second Amendment,” said FPC Vice President of Programs Adam Kraut in a statement. “We are pleased to see progress on this important legal front and optimistic that similar results will come from our many other challenges to age-based bans filed in courts across the United States.” 

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden said his new gun-control effort to combat gun violence “doesn’t violate anybody’s Second Amendment rights,” adding that “no amendment [is] absolute.”

During a trip to New York, Mr. Biden spoke alongside Attorney General Merrick Garland, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams on the administration’s “comprehensive strategy to reduce gun crime.”

“I have the United States attorney general with me here today and we put together a comprehensive strategy to combat gun crime in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and many other cities, San Francisco,” Biden said. “First, we want to crack down on the flow of firearms used to commit violence. That includes taking on and shutting down rogue gun dealers. It’s about doing background checks, as well as outright selling, making sure the people who are not allowed to have a gun don’t get the gun in the first place.”

“And again, for any of the press that’s listening, this doesn’t violate anybody’s Second Amendment right. There’s no violation of the Second Amendment right. There’s no amendment that’s absolute,” Biden continued. “When the amendment was passed, it didn’t say anybody could own a gun and any kind of gun and any kind of weapon. You couldn’t buy a cannon when this amendment was passed, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to buy certain assault weapons. But that’s another issue.”