Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On 1 July, 2019, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Calguns Foundation joined to file a legal challenge to the California ban on the purchase of firearms by law-abiding adults 18-20 years old.
The ban was signed by then Governor Brown on 28 September, 2018. It went into effect, as part of SB 1100, on 1 January, 2019.
The ban prohibited the sale of all firearms to people between who are 18-20 years old, with a few exceptions. If the person is in the active member of the military, a peace officer, has been honorably discharged from the military, or is a reserve peace officer, or who has a hunting license.
The Heller decision specifically includes 18-20 year olds both as being in the class of people whose rights are protected by the Second Amendment, and as members of the militia as defined by federal law. From a press release by the Second Amendment Foundation:
Joining SAF and Calguns are the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, a local business and three private citizens. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The plaintiffs are represented by lead counsel John W. Dillon of Carlsbad, California-based Gatzke Dillon & Balance LLP. A copy of the court filing can be accessed at www.firearmspolicy.org/legal.
“We’re going to court against this law because it clearly violates the Second and Fourteenth amendment rights of young adults,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “When a citizen turns 18 years old in this country, he or she is considered a legal adult, free to exercise their rights under the Constitution, and that certainly should include the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
“But this California law turns that concept on its ear, with very few exceptions, such as possessing a valid hunting license,” he added. “But our individual plaintiffs do not hunt, and have no intention of pretending to be hunters, just to exercise their constitutional rights.”
The law in question is Penal Code 27510, an onerous regulation that prohibits licensed dealers from selling, supplying or delivering firearms to any person under age 21. Because of this, say SAF and its fellow plaintiffs, the law violates the rights of the plaintiffs and citizens in the 18-to-20 age group.
“Once individuals turn eighteen, they are adults in the eyes of the law,” explained John W. Dillon. “Law-abiding adults are entitled to fully exercise all of their fundamental rights, including their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for all lawful purposes, not just hunting or sport.”
“The Second Amendment is not a second-class right and adults over the age of eighteen but under twenty-one are not second-class people,” said FPC President and FPF Chairman Brandon Combs. “This case seeks to restore the Second Amendment human rights of legal adults who are being prevented from exercising them because of unconstitutional laws, policies, practices, customs that the State of California defendants are known to enforce.”
“The Second Amendment fully applies to all non-prohibited adults, period,” commented Calguns Foundation Chairman Gene Hoffman. “California cannot deny a fundamental, enumerated right to adults over the age of 18 that have no disqualifying criminal or mental health history.”
The argument seems straightforward: Can a state deny the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms to citizens who are 18-20 years old? It is hard to see how a court could agree such a ban on purchasing firearms for a whole class of citizens would be Constitutional.
But the ban was passed in California, in the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has not been friendly to the Second Amendment. Cases that uphold Second Amendment rights by three judge panels have been referred to the Court en banc, and reversed.
The argument of the Ninth has been, essentially, if the government has a significant reason to ban the exercise of Second Amendment rights, it can do so.
Another complicating factor is President Trump's recent appointments to the Ninth Circuit. Instead of a bastion of far left jurisprudence, the Ninth now has almost as many judges appointed by Republicans as by Democrats. Appointment by a Republican actually means little. Many “Progressive” judges have been appointed by Republicans. But, there are more judges who are textualists and originalists on the Ninth Circuit now, than there have been for quite some time.
This case is another of many court challenges Second Amendment supporters are pushing to uphold and restore Second Amendment rights. When the Second Amendment was ratified, in 1791, there were no restrictions on the ownership of rifles, pistols and shotguns. Members of the militia included 18-20 year old citizens.
The Progressive philosophy holds there should be no limits on governmental power. That is the philosophy of California Democrats today. The founding philosophy of the United States is that governmental power must be limited, to allow for ordered liberty for its citizens. Limiting Governmental power is a major purpose of the Second Amendment.
20% of respondents to a Rasmussen poll thought limiting government was immoral. A similar percentage thought owning a gun was immoral.
Those are the core supporters of the California government. They are the people the Constitution is designed to protect American Citizens from.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.