A federal judge in Texas has stayed for 30 days his ruling striking down a ban on carrying handguns by young adults aged 18-20, allowing the state time to file a possible appeal in the case, which has gotten subdued national attention.
U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, a Donald Trump appointee, explained in his ruling, “The issue is whether prohibiting law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds from carrying a handgun in public for self-defense is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Based on the Second Amendment’s text, as informed by Founding-Era history and tradition, the Court concludes that the Second Amendment protects against this prohibition. Texas’s statutory scheme must therefore be enjoined to the extent that law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds are prohibited from applying for a license to carry a handgun.”
The lawsuit was filed by the California-based Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc. and two Texas citizens in the affected age group.
Gun control groups and Texas Democrats are not happy with the decision, as they are crusading for stronger gun control laws in reaction to the school shooting in Uvalde this past May. Anti-gunners want to set the minimum age for buying rifles to 21 years, which is the current minimum age for buying handguns.
Judge Pittman’s 23-page ruling, according to Ammoland News, “underscores arguments that rights enumerated in the Constitution are equal in importance. For decades, prior to Supreme Court rulings in 2008 (Heller), 2010 (McDonald) and earlier this year (Bruen), the Second Amendment was treated differently, with some local governments and even some courts treating the right to keep and bear arms as a government-regulated privilege. This differentiation, some believe, brought forth the ‘two-step’ framework for analyzing Second Amendment challenges, combining history with ‘means-end scrutiny.’”
But means-end scrutiny did not pass muster with Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas’ ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the decision striking down New York’s “good cause” requirement for obtaining a concealed carry license.
Henceforth, the government “must affirmatively prove that its firearms regulation is part of the historical tradition that delimits the outer bounds of the right to keep and bear arms.”
In his ruling, Judge Pittman observed, “Beyond the First and Fourth Amendments, other constitutional provisions, which do not specifically mention ‘the people,’ support the Court’s conclusion that ‘the people’ protected by the Second Amendment include 18-to-20-year-olds. On this point, neither the Fifth Amendment nor the Fourteenth Amendment exclude—or have been interpreted to exclude—18-to-20-year-olds.”