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Judge Dismisses NRA Suit Challenging Florida Gun Law

In the aftermath of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, the Florida Legislature created a law that banned the sale of firearms to individuals under 21.

(CN) --- Saying he was bound by the precedent previously set by the appellate court, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday brought by the National Rifle Association challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s law that banned the purchase of firearms by individuals between the ages 18 and 20.

In his 48-page order, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker noted the case challenging the Florida law passed in the aftermath of the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sat in a “constitutional no man’s land” --- the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to fully rule on the scope of the Second Amendment.

But even while he said he had concerns about some of the young adults possibly burdened by it, Walker ultimately said the Second Amendment did not apply to the Florida law.

“(B)ecause the Eleventh Circuit has held that longstanding prohibitions categorically fall outside the Second Amendment, this Court holds that the Second Amendment does not apply to the purchase of firearms by 18-to-20-year-olds,” wrote Walker, a Barack Obama appointee.

Within weeks after the February 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that claimed 17 lives, the Florida Legislature passed a law that prohibited the sale of firearms to individuals under 21.

The alleged shooter was 19 years old when he legally purchased the Smith and Wesson MP-15, an AR-15-syle rifle, used in the massacre.

The Florida measure was quickly signed into law and the NRA filed suit against Rick Swearingen, commissioner of Florida Department of Law Enforcement, that same day.

In his order granting the commissioner’s motion for summary judgment, Walker questioned how the Florida law would prevent another mass shooting, noting that many young adults could have family members loan or gift them firearms.

“Why should the 20-year-old single mother living on her own be unable to obtain a firearm for self-defense when a 20-year-old living with their parents can easily obtain one?” Walker wrote.

The NRA and March for Our Lives, an organization protesting gun violence started by the students from the Parkland high school, did not immediately return requests for comment.

Mark Oliva, public affairs director for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the trade association for the firearms industry disagrees with the decision, as it denies the right to bear arms to “adults, fully-vested in their civil rights at 18.”

“This decision continues to perpetuate what several Supreme Court justices have openly complained of, that the lower courts are relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right,” Oliva wrote.

Follow Daniel Jackson on Twitter.

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