By Dave Kopel and Joseph Greenlee
Should young adults, ages 18-20, be prohibited from purchasing firearms? Under current federal law, gun stores are prohibited from selling handguns to anyone under 21, and long guns to anyone under 18. Now, some people are calling for a ban on all firearms sales to any adult under 21. In early March, Florida raised the age for firearms purchases to 21. Similar bills have been introduced in California and other states.
Additionally, some firearm retailers — including Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, L.L. Bean, and Kroger — have begun refusing service to all customers under 21. The refusal has subjected the companies to lawsuits in states that have civil rights laws against age discrimination.
Besides violating the laws of some states and cities, firearms bans for young adults also violate the Constitution. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court reiterated that “[c]onstitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them.” When the Second Amendment was adopted, there were no firearms restrictions on 18-to-20-year-olds, and they were included in every militia across the country.
Read the whole article originally published in The Hill on March 13, 2018.