The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, and this is an individual right.
Using a gun for personal protection is a civil right as well. In fact, black Americans should be at the forefront of protecting this fundamental right to protect oneself, family, and property. The government has a history of denying black Americans their right to own firearms.
The issue of gun-rights could be headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit this week ruled 2-1 that barring federally licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to citizens under 21 violates the Constitution. The government could appeal the ruling.
Two plaintiffs under 21, including a woman who had a protective order against an abusive ex-boyfriend released on bail, filed a lawsuit against the government over the ban.
“Our nation’s most cherished constitutional rights vest no later than 18,” Judge Julius N. Richardson wrote (PDF). “And the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is no different.” The rationale for the ban against sales to 18- to 20-year-old citizens is to reduce crime and violence, but Judge Richardson said that doing so relegates “either the Second Amendment or 18- to 20-year-olds to a second-class status.” The government’s interest in “preventing crime, enhancing public safety, and reducing gun violence” is compelling, but barring sales to citizens under 21 is not a “reasonable fit.” Such laws “ban an entire group of adult, law-abiding citizens from purchasing handguns from licensed dealers, substantially burdening the group’s rights.”
Our Second Amendment right is under assault, regardless of who is in the White House. But with a majority of anti-Second Amendment lawmakers in Congress, Americans must be diligent.
President Joe Biden nominated a gun-control advocate to head the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. David Chipman was an adviser for the gun-control advocacy group named for former Representative Gabrielle Giffords. The president is also pushing for a national “red flag” law that will allow family members and law enforcement to seek a court order to block “people in crisis” from having access to their guns “if they present a danger to themselves or others.”