The Second Amendment Foundation has filed federal lawsuits in Minnesota and Illinois, challenging concealed carry prohibitions in both states that prevent young adults in the 18-21 year age group from exercising their right to bear arms.
The lawsuits argue the rights of young adults under the Second and 14th Amendments are being violated. The Minnesota case is known as Worth v. Harrington. In Illinois, the case is known as Meyer v. Raoul.
SAF is joined in the Illinois case by the Illinois State Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc., and three private citizens in the 18-21-year age group, David Meyer, Eva Davis and Mitchell Nalley. They are represented by attorneys David G. Sigale of David G. Sigale, P.C. in Wheaton, Ill., Christian D. Ambler of Stone & Johnson in Chicago and David H. Thompson, Peter A. Patterson and William V. Bergstrom, all with Cooper & Kirk PLLC in Washington, D.C.
In Minnesota, SAF is joined by are the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, Firearms Policy Coalition and three private citizens in the affected age group, Kristin Worth, Austin Dye and Axel Anderson. They are represented by attorneys Blair W. Nelson of Bemidji, Minn., and attorneys Thompson, Patterson and Bergstrom of Cooper & Kirk.
In both cases, the issues are essentially the same. Although age 18 is considered the “age of majority” in the U.S., allowing young adults ages 18-21 to vote, enter into contracts, get married, enter the military, start businesses, and engage in other activities, they can’t get licenses to carry concealed defensive sidearms for personal protection.
According to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “When it comes to exercising one of the most basic fundamental rights protected by the Constitution, suddenly we treat them like children. You shouldn’t be able to have it both ways.”
“Minnesota law prohibits private citizens from carrying guns outside the home or vehicle without a permit,” he added, “but the state does not issue permits to anyone under age 21. This is patently unfair to an entire class of citizens who have otherwise achieved ‘majority status’ to exercise these other rights and privileges, but their right to keep and bear arms is kept off-limits. Young adults between eighteen and twenty-one were fully protected by the Second Amendment at the time of its ratification. Hundreds of statutes from the colonial and founding eras required 18-to-20-year-olds to keep and bear arms.”
Drop down to Illinois, and young adults are in the same fix.
“the state prohibits them from exercising the fundamental right to bear arms, that is, to carry a handgun outside the home or in an automobile, even though the state allows other adults to obtain a license to carry firearms in public,” Gottlieb said. “As we note in our lawsuit, young adults between 18 and 21 were fully protected by the Second Amendment at the time of its ratification. Hundreds of statutes from the colonial and founding eras required 18-to-20-year-olds to keep and bear arms.”
“You either have the rights of an adult, or you don’t,” he observed. “Rights are an all-or-nothing package, whether you are 18 or 81. This inconsistency in law needs to be fixed.”
Defendants in the Minnesota case are John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, plus three county sheriffs, Mille Lac County Sheriff Don Lorge, Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen and Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry, in their individual and official capacities.
Named as defendants in Illinois are Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly, State’s Attorney of Fayette County Joshua C. Morrison, State’s Attorney of St. Clair County James Gomric, State’s Attorney for Kendall County Eric Weis, Fayette County Sheriff Christopher Palmer, St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson and Kendall County Sheriff Dwight A. Baird, again in their official and individual capacities.