California Loses Big In Federal Court, Controversial Gun Law Gets Struck Down
Supporters of the 2nd Amendment should be thanking former President Trump for making the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals normal again.
A California law restricted the sale of most firearms to persons under age 21, but “creates an exception for sales of long guns to young adults who 1) have a hunting license; 2) are peace officers, federal law enforcement agents, or carry firearms for their work; or 3) are active or honorably discharged members of the military.”
The law was adopted in 2018 after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HIgh School. The point of the bill was to prevent Americans under the age of 21 from owning semi-automatic firearms like the AR-15.
The lawsuit was initiated by the Firearms Policy Coalition after a young man from San Diego attempted to purchase a semi-automatic rifle without first purchasing a hunting license.
Originally a district court ruled that California’s restrictions were constitutional because there is a history of individuals under 21 being treated as minors with lesser rights than adults.
However, the 9th Circuit reversed the ruling in a 55 page opinion citing America’s long history of young patriots.
“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army. Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms,” Judge Ryan Nelson ruled.
“Because that right includes the right to purchase arms,” wrote Nelson, “both California laws burden conduct within the scope of the Second Amendment.”
The panel found that strict scrutiny applies to the long gun regulation while intermediate scrutiny applies to the semiautomatic rifle ban. Nelson reasoned that, “It’s one thing to say that young adults must take a course and purchase a hunting license before obtaining certain firearms,” but that requiring young adults to become police or military personnel “is no exception at all,” and amounts to “a blanket ban for everyone except police officers and servicemembers.”
Judge Nelson called California’s gun regulation “a severe burden on the core Second Amendment right of self-defense in the home.” He commented that young adults are already prevented from buying “the quintessential self-defense weapon,” referring to handguns.
“[T]his ban now stops them from buying semiautomatic rifles, leaving only shotguns,” he continued, slamming California for leaving its young adults with access only to “a self-defense weapon which is not ideal or even usable in many scenarios.”
This is a big blow to California who was trying to craft laws to stop Americans from exercising their constitutional rights.