Judge upholds Florida’s ban on gun sales to those under 21, but questions whether it has any effect

Judge upholds Florida’s ban on gun sales to those under 21, but questions whether it has any effect

While saying the case “falls squarely in the middle of a constitutional no man’s land,” a federal judge has upheld a 2018 Florida law that prevents people under age 21 from buying guns. The 48-page ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker came more than three years after the Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Gov. Rick Scott rushed to approve the restriction following a massacre at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people. The National Rifle Association challenged the constitutionality of the law, which prevented the sale of rifles, shotguns and other long guns to people ages 18 to 20. Federal law already barred sales of handguns to people under 21. Walker, in ruling last week, traced historical gun restrictions and court decisions and said he was following legal precedent. In part, he focused on a landmark 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case known as District of Columbia v. Heller. While the Heller case is broadly considered a major victory for gun-rights supporters, it also said certain “longstanding prohibitions” about guns do not violate the Second Amendment, according to Walker’s ruling. The Heller case cited prohibitions on such things as felons and mentally ill people possessing guns, Walker concluded that restrictions on 18-to-20-year-old people buying guns were “analogous” to the restrictions cited in the Heller case. “In short, Heller’s listed regulations are similar to restrictions on the purchase of firearms by 18-to-20-year-olds; all target specific groups that are thought to be especially dangerous with firearms,” he wrote. But […]

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