Federal Judge Strikes Down Law Requiring People To Be 21 To Buy Handguns
A vendor shows visitors different pistols at the SICUR 2022 International Security Show that opened today in Madrid (Spain)
Joaquin Gomez Sastre/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A federal judge in Virginia ruled on Wednesday that federal laws that require individuals to be at least 21 years old to purchase handguns from federally licensed firearms dealers are unconstitutional.

“Because the statutes and regulations in question are not consistent with our Nation’s history and tradition, they, therefore, cannot stand,” U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne, who was nominated to the bench by President George H.W. Bush, said in his ruling.

As reported by The Washington Post, Payne repeatedly cited the Supreme Court’s decision last year in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen in which the nation’s highest court expanded gun rights.

Payne’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed by John Corey Fraser against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Fraser was rejected when he attempted to purchase a handgun last May when he was 20 years old.

The lawsuit challenged the “the constitutionality of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and federal regulations from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) that limit the sale of handguns to adults 21 years and older,” the report said.

“We’re pleased the court ruled in favor of Mr. Fraser and the other named plaintiffs in such [a] well written and thorough decision,” said Elliott M. Harding, the attorney for Fraser. “Even though it ensures that future buyers can now purchase these firearms in the federal system, one that includes background checks and other requirements, we expect the defendants will appeal. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic that the decision will be affirmed in due course.”


Leftist gun control groups fumed over the ruling.

“The federal law prohibiting federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to individuals under the age of 21 is not just an essential tool for preventing gun violence, it is also entirely constitutional,” said Janet Carter at Everytown Law. “The Court’s ruling will undoubtedly put lives at risk. It must be reversed.”

This report has been updated to include additional information. 

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