Ninth Circuit Strikes
Down California Gun Law
Cites Nation's Long History of
Giving Young People Firearms

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit

By Elura Nanos May 12, 2022

A federal appeals court sided with gun-rights activists Wednesday and struck down a California law that would keep firearms out of the hands of young adults under age 21.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that what it called California's "almost total ban on semiautomatic" rifles for adults under 21 constitutes a "severe burden on the core Second Amendment right of self-defense in the home."

U.S. Circuit Judges Ryan Nelson and Kenneth K. Lee — both Donald Trump appointees — ruled to partially reverse the district court's decision which allowed two California laws to remain in effect.

California law restricts the sale of most firearms to persons under age 21, but creates an exception for sales of long guns to young adults who 1) have a hunting license; 2) are peace officers, federal law enforcement agents, or carry firearms for their work; or 3) are active or honorably discharged members of the military. While handguns for the under-21 set have been banned for years in the Golden State, stricter age limits for long guns were adopted in 2018 in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

California also bans semiautomatic centerfire rifles to anyone under 21 with exemptions for police or military troops, but not for those with hunting licenses.

Gun advocacy group Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) challenged the laws in California, and has similar lawsuits pending in other states. FPC brought the case on behalf of Matthew Jones, a San Diego young adult who wished to purchase a gun without first obtaining a hunting license.

The district court ruled that California's restrictions were acceptable under constitutional standards, and noted the long history of individuals under 21 being treated as minors with lesser rights than those enjoyed by adults. .....

It is a welcome change to see something positive for the 2A in California.
"Today's decision confirms that peaceable legal adults cannot be prohibited from acquiring firearms and exercising their rights enshrined in the Second Amendment," FPC Vice President of Programs Adam Kraut said in a statement about the ruling.
(The full 9th Circuit opinion can be found at the end of the article.)


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