A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 that a California law banning the sale of semiautomatic rifles to adults under 21 conflicts with the right to bear arms. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the state's ban on semiautomatic rifle sales to young adults is a burden on their Second Amendment right to defend themselves at home. The first such federal appeals court ruling was a victory for gun-rights advocates as the scope of the Second Amendment is under Supreme Court review, reports the Wall Street Journal. “America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” wrote Judge Ryan Nelson, a President Trump appointee. “Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.” The decision reversed a ruling by U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz in San Diego, who declined to halt the law’s enforcement. California’s age restrictions date to 2019, when state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a measure prompted partly by an attack on a San Diego-area synagogue by a 19-year-old man who opened fire with an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle, killing one person and injuring three. The age limits banned the sale of most semiautomatic rifles to adults under 21, exempting law-enforcement officers or active duty members of the Armed Forces. The state argued that the age restriction was justified, citing data showing that young people are responsible for a disproportionate number of violent gun crimes and that people under 21 are less mature. Trump appointed both judges in the majority in Wednesday’s decision.
top of page
bottom of page