Court Declares Texas Law Barring Residents Under 21 From Carrying Handguns Unconstitutional

You might be surprised to know that a pro-gun state like Texas bars 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old adults from carrying handguns outside their homes or obtaining a permit to carry concealed.

Unlike abortion, the right to own and use a gun is enumerated in the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has reiterated that the right to keep and bears arms is an individual right for self-defense. States have regulated the Second Amendment right. For example, convicted felons who committed violent crimes are barred from possessing guns.

But denying law-abiding adults of a certain age the right to carry a weapon? That needs some serious justification. The Texas Tribune reported that two Texas residents under 21 file a lawsuit over the ban. Because of the law, they couldn’t travel with handguns between various counties where they lived, worked, and attended school.

The question before the court was whether the Second Amendment allows the state’s “blanket prohibition” on law-aiding residents 18-20 from carrying handguns outside their homes. The court ruled that the law is not justified. From the opinion (PDF):

“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.”

The court cited the recent Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion in that case. The court ruled 6-3 that New York’s requirement that gun-owning residents show a “proper cause” to carry their handguns in public was unconstitutional.

The Texas law will remain in effect for 30 days while the state appeals.

Photo credit: Tamara Evans (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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