Appeals court: Dealers can sell handguns to 18-year-olds

Appeals court: Dealers can sell handguns to 18-year-olds

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A federal law that for more than 50 years has banned licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to young adults between age 18 and 21 is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. In a 2-1 opinion, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond overturned a lower court ruling upholding the law. Judge Julius Richardson, a Trump appointee, wrote that the right to bear arms is a “cherished constitutional right” that vests at age 18. “(W)e refuse to relegate either the Second Amendment or 18- to 20-year-olds to a second-class status,” Richardson wrote. It is unclear whether the ruling would have any immediate impact. A different appeals court, the 5th Circuit, ruled in an opposite manner on the same issue several years ago. Also, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which is named as the defendant in the lawsuit, could seek an appeal before the full 4th Circuit panel. The three-judge panel that ruled Tuesday had a 2-1 majority of GOP-appointed judges, but the 4th Circuit as a whole has a narrow majority of Democratic-appointed judges. The ATF referred questions to the Justice Department, which did not immediately respond Tuesday to a call and email seeking comment. Richardson, in his ruling, cites recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent, particularly the 2008 Heller decision, which declared that the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not just those connected to militia service. He also cites historical references to the time of the Founding Fathers, […]

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