Texas District Judge Strikes Down Ban on Handgun Carry by Young Adults

Why I Am Suing The Governor of Virginia, iStock-1055138108
A Federal District Judge in Texas has struck down a state law preventing young adults in the 18-20-year age group from legally carrying sidearms for personal protection. iStock-1055138108

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- A federal district court judge in Fort Worth, Texas has struck down a state law prohibiting young adults in the 18-20-year age group from carrying handguns in a case brought by the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Inc., and two private citizens.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Mark T. Pittman, a Donald Trump appointee, wrote, “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.”

According to the Texas Tribune, Judge Pittman stayed the order for 30 days, pending appeal, which is almost certain.

The issue of young adults enjoying full Second Amendment rights has become a flashpoint for debate since recent high-profile mass shootings, in Texas, New York and Florida have all been committed by adult males under age 21.

But lost in that discussion is the fact that the perpetrators in those crimes armed themselves with rifles, while this case deals specifically with the right to carry a sidearm legally. As Judge Pittman noted in his ruling, “Are law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds a part of ‘the people’ mentioned in the Second Amendment? As explained below, the Court concludes that they are.”

“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.”—Judge Mark T. Pittman

Judge Pittman’s 23-page decision 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 that notion has been displaced by the decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, authored by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and released in June. Judge Pittman’s ruling alludes to Bruen.

As noted by Justice Thomas in Bruen, “Despite the popularity of this two-step approach, it is one step too many. Step one of the predominant framework is broadly consistent with Heller, which demands a test rooted in the Second amendment’s text, as informed by history. But Heller and McDonald do not support applying means-end scrutiny in the Second Amendment context.”

Predictably, the gun prohibition lobby is not happy. As quoted by the New York Times, David Pucino, chief deputy counsel at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, stated, “Going back all the way to 2013, the Fifth Circuit precedent has said that you can prohibit both the purchasing of handguns and the carrying of handguns for people of the age of 18 to 21.”

He asserted the Pittman ruling is “squarely at odds” with Fifth Circuit precedent.

However, the Times also quoted Cody J. Wisniewski, an attorney for constitutional litigation with the FPC, who countered, “This decision is a significant victory for the rights of young adults in Texas and demonstrates for the rest of the nation that similar bans cannot withstand constitutional challenges grounded in history…Texas cannot point to a single Founding-era law that prohibited 18- to 20-year-olds from carrying a functional firearm for self-defense.”

In his ruling, Judge Pittman writes, “Texas unsuccessfully attempts to avoid this holding by claiming that the Court’s conclusion is foreclosed by Fifth Circuit precedent…. Texas argues that because Bruen abrogated only the Step Two analysis, the Step One analysis in both cases remains binding precedent. The Court agrees that Bruen overruled any Fifth Circuit precedent as to the Step Two analysis.”

This could be an important decision, if upheld, with implications for other cases challenging bans on ownership of certain firearms—specifically semiautomatic modern sporting rifles—by young adults.

Judge Pittman’s ruling explains that because other amendments in the Bill of Rights—the First and Fourth amendments, for example, which also refer to “the people”—exclude “nor have been interpreted to exclude” young adults ages 18-20, “the Court declines to read an implicit age restriction into the Second Amendment.”

Pittman’s ruling adds further credibility to the contention that former President Trump’s lasting legacy will be his appointments to the federal courts. During his four years in office, he was able to fill some 300 court vacancies at all levels, including the Supreme Court. While Joe Biden has been scrambling to put liberals into vacancies, the impact of Trump’s appointments cannot be dismissed.


About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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Grigori

I hope this goes nationwide and is etched in stone by the time I die, come back and am 18. Ideally, maybe it will apply to 16 year olds as was the case in Vermont for many decades before their legislature decided to fix something that wasn’t broken, a few years ago.

Arizona

The NFA AND GCA and Hughes amendment likewise must be struck down. The NFA was nothing but a backdoor endrun around the 2nd amendment, using tax law to regulate and police firearms, which they admitted in debate they had no authority to do, nor to prohibit citizens from owning machine guns. Length of barrels and reducing decibels of firearms to hearing safe levels are not the purview of Congress or the BATFE. They certainly cannot show similar laws at the founding.

swmft

they cant even show justification for income tax

Darkman

First used in 1861 to finance the Civil War. Later Enumerated in the Constitution by the 16th Amendment in 1913.

Wild Bill

That is true. That Congress told everyone that it was a tax measure, but tipped their hand by styling it the National FIREARMS Act.

Ope

Those President Trump appointed pro-2A federal judges will do great things for TEXAS and the entire country for many years to come.

Darkman

Not just 2A, but Justices that make decisions based on the Constitution as written. Without all the Liberal progressive Democrat word and phrase redefinition and Revisionist history.

TexasGunCents

As I recall, the 18-20 restriction to Constitutional Carry was added by the TX Senate Republicans. The same Republicans that patted themselves on the back while posing with WLP.

I do not remember if the house bill would have changed the age limit down to 18 for LTC (formerly CHL).

USMC0351Grunt

The Texas State Guard and Texas State National Guard carry at that age.

Stag

It really is a shame, isn’t it. The biggest impediment to arms rights in Texas for the past 30 or so years has been Republicans. They couldn’t even get a good constitutional carry bill passed.

Russn8r

Cuck Abbott & his Trusty Sidecuck Phelan refuse to do anything about “gun free” zones. But they did manage to cut vote fraud from felony to misdemeanor & block a bill to ban child sex changes while taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from sex change mills. So they got that going for them, which is nice!

Last edited 1 month ago by Russn8r
Russn8r

So glad ABBOTT added GREAT THINGS to “ConCarry” in TEXAS or 50 people might be dead in Uvalde & El Paso!

Russn8r

BTW, what were those GREAT things ABBOTT added to CC in TEXAS that no other states have?

Stag

Yeah, I would love to know what “great things” were added by Abbott. I would also like to know why the true constitutional carry bill was killed in committee, by Republicans, just like it has been for the past three legislative sessions. Oh, and maybe you can tell me how someone who’s born, raised, and still lives in the Texas panhandle is a “jealous blue state yankee”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Stag
Russn8r

Six ‘GREAT THINGS’ Cuck Abbott & Sidecuck Phelan added to TEXAS ‘Constitutional Carry’!

* ‘No unlicensed carry forms.

Non-licensees cannot carry:

* Public college campus
* 1000′ of schools
* Open meeting of gvt entity
* Amusement parks
* Hospitals & nursing homes

All this is constitutional because it was all there in 1788-92!

Russn8r

Are those the GREAT THINGS Abbott added, TEX?

CHIRP…CHIRP…CHIRP…

Russn8r

Come on, Officer Ope-TEX. Tell us the GREAT THINGS Abbott added to “ConCarry”.
CHIRP…CHIRP…CHIRP…

Ope

I’m not sure the TX CC 18-20 age restriction was added by senate republicans at all. That restriction was already TEXAS state law before CC (TX HB 1927) was passed and signed into law by Gov Greg Abbott on June 16,2021. At this point, with this ruling, it makes no difference anyway.

Russn8r

I’m not sure the TX CC 18-20 age restriction was added by senate republicans at all.” Fixed it.

TexDad

This has always struck me as one underrepresented group having their rights voted away by a bunch of others who don’t care.

Majority rules is not OK when it comes to civil rights.

gregs

some common sense from the bench.

Ope

TEXAS, like a whole other country !