Five years ago, on March 8, 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law Senate Bill 726. The law forbade residents of Florida 18-20 years old from purchasing firearms from federally licensed dealers. On the same day, the NRA sued the state of Florida (in the office of Attorney General, then Rick Swearingen), claiming the law was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. On June 21, 2021, the District Court Judge ordered summary judgement against the NRA and for the State of Florida, finding the purchase ban on long guns against residents 18-20 years old did not violate the Second Amendment.
The NRA appealed the case to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2021. About two years later, on June 22, 2023, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in the famous Bruen case, reaffirming the Heller decision and giving a clear procedure for courts to follow to determine if a law was unconstitutional because it violated the rights protected by the Second Amendment.
The Bruen case undermined the reasoning in the District Court decision to claim the Florida ban on sales to 18-20-year-olds was Constitutional.
On March 9th, 2023, five years after the Florida legislation was signed, a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion against the NRA and upheld the District Court.
The opinion of the three-judge panel appears to be poorly reasoned. The first thing mentioned in the opinion is not a reference to the law, but the logical fallacy of an appeal to emotion, listing tragedies that happened long after the ratification of the Second Amendment and several years after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The timing of the incidents is no accident, as the opinion makes a claim opposite of what Bruen demands. From the opinion:
A.Historical sources from the Reconstruction Era are more probative of the Second Amendment’s scope than those from the Founding Era.
Bruen holds that historical sources from the founding era are more important than sources after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Supreme Court has made clear the rights protected by the Second Amendment are the same under the Federal government as under the state governments. In 1791, when the Second Amendment was ratified, there were no federal or state laws prohibiting 18-20-year-olds from purchasing firearms. In 1792, the first congress passed the militia act, requiring members of the militia, who included 18-20-year-olds, to acquire firearms for militia duty. Obviously, to acquire them, they had to get them from some source. The most common way would be to buy them.
The Supreme Court, in Bruen, made clear: Once the clear text of the Second Amendment is implicated, the burden falls on the government to prove there were widespread and accepted statutory restraints in history which are very similar to the restraints the government is defending.
No such historical analogies or precedents exist in the ban of purchases by 18-20-year-old residents of states.
Just hours after the decision of the three-judge panel was published, an order was issued in the case, withholding the issuance of the mandate.
This means a judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is calling for a poll of the judges on the Eleventh Circuit to see if they are willing to accept the decision of the three-judge panel. This is not a common tactic, but has become much more common for Second Amendment cases.
If a majority of the judges (it appears there are 12 active judges in the Eleventh Circuit) votes to hear the case en banc, it will be heard en banc. The three judge panel already made their decision. Seven votes are needed to hear the case en banc.
We should know in a few months if the case will be heard en banc. If it is not heard en banc, it is highly likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which may or may not decide to hear the case.
If Florida passes a statute, now being debated, which restores the right of 18-20 year old residents to purchase firearms from federal dealers, the case would likely be rendered moot, and no further procedures would be necessary.
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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.
Unconstitutional as is each and every gun control law.
The government wants these same 18-20 year olds to join the military and pack a gun to defend thier corrupt asses but not to own one in thier civilian life to defend themselves . These clowns that promote this crap don’t deserve to have armed security details protecting them. Let them eat shit and die from thier own infringing crap .
actually, this same government forces under penalty of imprisonment that only males register for the draft and not females, (i only use male and female pronouns, i am not woke) a violation of due process. these same clowns want to give 16 year old children the “right” to vote and have sexual mutilation surgery. where is the “sense” in that? it is hard to believe that learned people sitting on a judicial bench would have this thought process and not decide cases based upon our founding documents, especially after the recent Bruen case. we are a constitutional republic based upon… Read more »
I was under the impression that women/females were added to the draft last year and that any, ‘ITS’ could get their parts changed, removed, added at taxpayer expense after they completed boot camp?
Of course, the article touched on what “en banc” is… the 11th circuit I thought would be conservative.. it is Alabama, Florida and Georgia. So we have a few rogue judges (3) apparently, leaving the rest of the judges out of the decision.. and one of them said…”hold up” and now wants to “poll” the rest of the judges for their opinion.. This is a huge one… I am VERY interested in what the other 9 judges in the 11th circuit has to say. interesting times we live in…. thank Donald Trump for the wins in the Supreme Court via… Read more »
Dean, my friend. Good summary but I note that your dates are off. Bruen was decided in June of 2022, not June of 2023. Many thanks for a good summary of the case.
Glad you caught that. No time machines available, as June of 2023 is in the future!
Great article, Dean, as always! Although were you trying to pull a “Minority Report” on us to see if we are awake on this end?
This should make Rick Scott target #1 for a primary challenger next year. Are the Florida Republicans happy with this big pharma/HMO insider?
hopefully both of our rino senators will be challenged by real conservatives. you might remember little marco sponsored and pushed for a red flag after parkland which rick scott signed into law.
THAT was a huge set-back for Florida!
Apparently they are considering he enacted arms laws as governor and gets elected again to public office and continues to support arms laws. Kinda like how Texas keeps re-electing Cornyn. Proving yet again the majority of voters only care about party affiliation and don’t pay attention to a candidates voting record.
We are starting the move to censure Cornyn, much like we did with RINO Congressman Tony Gonzales.
Hmmm…..my copy of the Second Amendment does not appear to include restrictions against 18-20yo procuring…a necessary step toward keeping and bearing…….firearms. Military/militia welcome 18-20yro sasa parent approval. My copy only reads, right there in plain English, “,,,,shall not be infringed.” While we’re on that stipulation theme, mine does not have limiting stipulations regarding: -barrel length for rifles, pistols, or shotys, -nothing about single shot, semi-auto, full auto. -cosmetic features thingys, -bump-’em-up-stockys, -those bracey thingys, -government permission slips or “pretty please, may I” forms, -being dangerous or unusual (common sense says a non-dangerous firearm is useless rock or club; In the… Read more »
Gotta to have both sides of the fence covered when you’re selling rocks and big sticks to make sure everyone gets their fair share.
“No such historical analogies or precedents exist in the ban of purchases by 18-20-year-old residents of states.”
There’s no historical precedent for 15-17 years and 365 days (for those that turn 18 on a leap year) from buying firearms either, and the only one restricting those under 15 is very, very weak (it was only one state, only for cannons, and clearly a matter of “send an adult if your family is making large purchases” not “children shouldn’t have cannons”)
So, a 15-year-old can go out and buy a cannon, but not a .22 to go squirrel hunting? Sounds about right for this now wholly screwed-up country of unidentifiable gender mutants?
I know some will wack my pee pee for saying this, but most of todays 18 yrs olds lack the maturity and common sense to use a screwdriver, let alone be trusted with a firearm. But they can be taught, and education is essential. But not mandatory, government forced education as a requirement to bear arms. An 18 yr old from 200 yrs ago, even 70 yrs ago was far more mature and capable in all areas of life than todays 18 yr olds. They live in mommys basements and play video games all day and masterbating to porn at… Read more »
Even so, the founding documents are The People’s contract with the United States dictating TO the government exactly how WE, The People CHOOSE and demand how WE want to be governed. That is why it is our solemn duty and responsibility as citizens of this country to take a personal and active part in maintaining this nation and the elected and appointed officials regardless of whatever excuses anyone can come up with. As it is, because Joe and Jane America aren’t always there, keeping eye over them, if they even give a damn to do so and these “public servants”… Read more »
these articles are so bad. doesn’t anyone proof read them?
You mean like capitalizing the letters at the beginning of a sentence, like your ‘T’ in “these” and the ‘D’ in “doesn’t”?