The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ATF Director Steven Dettelbach and Attorney General Merrick Garland in a challenge of the federal prohibition on handgun sales to young adults ages 18-20.
SAF is joined by the West Virginia Citizens Defense League and two private citizens, Benjamin Weekley and Steven Brown. They are asking for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The case is known as Brown v. ATF.
Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys John H. Bryan and Adam Kraut.
According to the complaint, “Weekley and Brown, both being in the affected age group, were unable to purchase handguns from a West Virginia sporting goods store earlier this year.”
The lawsuit says the federal ban on handgun sales to young adults “impermissibly infringes upon the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding, peaceable individuals aged eighteen to twenty.” The complaint further asserts the ban “is flatly unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.” It also goes against rulings in the 2008 Heller case and this year’s Bruen decision.
“There is no historical evidence supporting an arbitrary prohibition on purchase and ownership of handguns for young adults over the age of 18,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Indeed, history goes the other direction, with young adults considered mature enough for militia service, duty in the armed forces and in today’s world being able to vote, run for public office, start businesses, get married, enter into contracts and enjoy the full protections set down in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments.
“Yet these same young adults are hampered by a politically selected age limit that prohibits them from purchasing handguns from licensed firearms dealers,” he continued. “This makes absolutely no sense. This handgun ban for young adults is an unconstitutional infringement of their rights s protected by the Second Amendment.”
SAF is also challenging laws in Minnesota and Illinois prohibiting young adults from legally carrying concealed sidearms, on Second and 14th Amendment grounds.