5th Circuit Upholds Age Restrictions on Guns

     (CN) – Texas does not infringe on the constitutional rights of 18-20-year-olds by barring them from carrying handguns in public, the 5th Circuit ruled.
     Rebekah Jennings, Brennan Harmon and Andrew Payne joined the National Rifle Association in challenging the constitutionality of the state’s general criminal provision prohibiting individuals from carrying handguns in public.
     The group also took aim at the requirement that Texans must be at least 21 to obtain a concealed handgun license. The state makes an exception for younger applicants with military training.
     The plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit in Dallas alleging that the state’s combination of gun restrictions specifically violates the rights of 18-20-year-olds under the Second Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause.
     The District Court found the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the general criminal provision, and it upheld the state’s concealed handgun licensing law, prompting the NRA and its fellow plaintiffs to appeal.
     A three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the state on Monday.
     The panel agreed with Texas that the claims made by Jennings and Harmon, who have both turned 21, should be dismissed as moot.
     The Circuit Court reversed the finding that the NRA and Payne lacked standing to challenge the general criminal provision. Nevertheless, the panel determined that neither the provision nor the licensing law violates the Second Amendment or the Equal Protection Clause.
     “Texas determined that a particular group was generally immature and that allowing immature persons to carry handguns in public leads to gun violence,” Judge Edith Brown Clement wrote on behalf of the panel. “Therefore, it restricted the ability of this particular group to carry handguns outside their vehicles in public. This means is substantially related to Texas’s stated goal of maintaining public safety, and it still allows 18-20-year-olds to have handguns in their cars and homes and to apply for concealed handgun licenses as soon as they turn 21.”

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