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Volokh Conspiracy

18-to-20-Year-Olds and the Second Amendment: Challenge to Florida Law Can Continue

So holds a federal district court.


From Judge Mark E. Walker's opinion in Friday's decision in NRA v. Swearingen (N.D. Fla.):

The crux of Plaintiffs' Second Amendment Claims is that section 790.065(13) completely bars 18-to-20-yearolds from acquiring a firearm by purchase and therefore impermissibly infringes on their Second Amendment rights. This Court concludes that Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that section 790.065(13) is unconstitutional either on its face or as-applied to Plaintiffs….

It is important to keep in mind the narrow issue before the Court at this stage of the proceedings. This Court is not asked to, and does not, decide whether section 790.065(13) is constitutional. Rather, the question is whether Plaintiffs' Complaint contains "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." At this early stage of the proceedings, Plaintiffs "ha[ve] plausibly pled enough in [their] [C]omplaint to get into the courthouse and be heard."

For opinions on the much less restrictive federal gun law (which let 18-to-20-year-olds buy long guns, and which let them even buy handguns from sellers who weren't professional gun dealers), see this Fifth Circuit panel decision (NRA v. BATF) upholding the federal ban on handgun sales by federal firearms licensees to 18-to-20-year-olds, and a dissent from denial of rehearing en banc disagreeing with the panel; and see also this post from David Kopel pointing to other decisions.