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Federal judge rules adults ages 18-20 cannot be blocked from purchasing handguns

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that federal laws prohibiting 18-to-20-year-olds from getting handguns at federally licensed firearms dealers are unconstitutional.

In a 71-page opinion — released Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division — Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne ruled that federal laws and regulations barring the dealers from selling the handguns to adults ages 18-20 violates the Second Amendment. 

Payne ruled in favor of four men between the ages of 18 and 20 who expressed a desire to purchase handguns from the federally licensed firearms dealers, denying the defense’s motion to dismiss and granting the plaintiffs a summary judgment. 

According to the filing, one of the plaintiffs, John “Corey” Fraser, had tried to buy a Glock 19x handgun from such a dealer, but the dealer denied the purchase because of the federal law, as he was under 21. 

The Gun Control Act of 1968 already allows individuals 18 and older to buy shotguns and rifles, but handguns can be sold only to individuals 21 years old or older.  

The judge concluded that the Second Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” applies to people in that age group. 

“Because the statutes and regulations in question are not consistent with our Nation’s history and tradition, they, therefore, cannot stand,” Payne wrote. 

The Washington Post, which first reported on the new opinion, reported that the Justice Department is expected to appeal the decision. According to the outlet, people under 21 years old are still not allowed to buy handguns from the licensed dealers before a final order has been entered in the case.

Tags Department of Justice federally licensed firearms dealers Firearms richmond second amendment The Gun Control Act of 1968 The Washington Post unconstitutional US district court Virginia

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