The U.S Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on Tuesday struck down a Virginia law that would forbid adults under 21 years old from buying firearms.
The majority on the three-judge panel ruled that such a firearm sales restriction violated the Second Amendment right of the American citizens.
Judge Julius Richardson, a Trump appointed judge, upheld that the Constitutional right to bear arms applied “whatever the age.”
“Looking through this historical lens to the text and structure of the Constitution reveals that 18- to 20-year-olds have Second Amendment rights. Virtually every other constitutional right applies whatever the age. And the Second Amendment is no different,” Judge Richardson wrote in the ruling.
“The militia laws in force at the time of ratification uniformly required those 18 and older to join the militia and bring their own arms. While some historical restrictions existed, none support finding that 18-year-olds lack rights under the Second Amendment,” he added.
The defendants in the case were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Acting Director of the BATF Marvin Richardson, and Attorney General Merrick Garland. Amici appellees in the case were Brady; Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. The case was brought by Plaintiffs Tanner Hirschfeld and Natalia Marshall, Virginia state residents who were hindered from buying firearms by the law.
The case was vacated, reversed, and remanded by published opinion. It is expected to be appealed to the full court on the 4th Circuit.
The setback for Second Amendment opponents comes amidst a contested Biden appointment for the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The appointee, David Chipman, has been a staunch opponent of citizens’ right to bear arms, and his confirmation process is stuck in “limbo” as Senate Democrats in red states are undecided on whether to proceed with the confirmation, Politico reported.
“A handful of moderate Senate Democrats, most from red states, remain undecided on Biden’s nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,” Politco noted. “With the GOP galvanized to turn Chipman’s bid into a litmus test for Democrats’ commitment to the Second Amendment, citing the nominee’s past work for a prominent gun control group, that leaves Biden with a potential political problem that could hobble his messaging on both guns and crime.”
“At least three Democratic caucus members are publicly mum on whether they’d support Chipman,” the report added. “Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said Monday that he hadn’t made up his mind, while Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he was still ‘working on it’.”
In June, a temporary setback to California’s ‘assault weapons ban’ was reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case that appears destined to head to the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit has an approximate overturn rate of 79% in the Supreme Court.
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to a Biden-backed firearms law that was held to violate the Constitution. The high court tackled a “caretaking” case that tested whether or not police could enter private property without a warrant if an individual was believed to pose a threat to himself or others. The Supreme Court ruled that such a purported ‘exception’ violates the Fourth Amendment law against unreasonable search and seizure.
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