Texas
2:03 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

NRA Lawsuit To Lower Age For Guns Is Dismissed

A federal judge in Lubbock has blocked a National Rifle Association suit that claimed an age requirement on gun purchases was unconstitutional. The judge ruled that federal restrictions barring people younger than 21 from buying a gun do not violate the Second Amendment.

The National Rifle Association, sued the federal and state government last year invoking the Second Amendment,  contending it gives “a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for all law-abiding Americans.”  The NRA argued that adults aged 18-20 serve in the military and are trusted to use  guns so should not be banned from purchasing handguns from federally-licensed dealers.

The plaintiffs in the case included two Texas women were named as plaintiffs in the case. The lawsuit said that 19-year old Rebekah Jennings of Boerne wanted to buy a handgun for marksmanship competitions. The other, 19-year old Brennan Harmon of San Antonio said she is prohibited from buying a handgun for protection.  

United States District Judge Sam R. Cummings wrote the opinion. He wrote, “The right to bear arms is enjoyed only by those not disqualified from the exercise of the Second Amendment rights."

Congress identified a legitimate state interest—public safety—and passed legislation that is rationally related to addressing that issue—the ban; thus, it acted within its constitutional powers and in accordance with the Equal Protection Clause.

In essence, it is within the purview of Congress, not the courts, to weigh the relative
policy considerations and to make decisions as to the age of the customer to whom those
licensed by the federal government may sell handguns and handgun ammunition.

The NRA is also suing Texas because its laws prohibit 18-20 year olds from purchasing guns. That case is still pending.