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Hold the Champagne on the Appeals Court Second Amendment Ruling

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

Although Second Amendment supporters may be celebrating, don’t let Tuesday’s 4th District Appeals Court’s 2-1 ruling on handgun purchases by 18- to 20-year-olds go to your head. Roll Call is reporting that the DOJ will probably appeal, and my money is on that bet. Which, while it is inevitable, is also hypocritical.  

In the case, Tanner Hirschfield, Natalia Marshall v. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco & Explosives; Marvin Richardson, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco & Explosives; Merrick B. Garland, Attorney General, Judges Julius Richardson and G. Stephen Agee ruled to overturn the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, which prohibited the sale of handguns to those under 21. 

Obama appointee James Wynn Jr. was the dissenting opinion. In his opinion, Richardson wrote in part:  

“When do constitutional rights vest? At 18 or 21? 16 or 25? Why not 13 or 33? In the law, a line must sometimes be drawn. But there must be a reason why constitutional rights cannot be enjoyed until a certain age. Our nation’s most cherished constitutional rights vest no later than 18. And the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is no different.”

I am sure that Garland and company are drafting their appeal, even as I write this. And yes, there are 18- to 20-year-olds who do not have the sense God gave a New Zealand green-lipped mussel, and I have met plenty of adults I would not trust to safely handle a Fisher-Price toy. How we allow people safe access to guns is something I will leave to you guys in the comments section. However, in terms of the impending appeal the following is worth noting:

  • 18-year-olds can vote, and they can join the military–where they are trained to use weapons that would probably scare the hair white of even the most passionate 2A devotee. If we are going to trust them choosing our leaders and with a weapon that can blow up a building, we should in theory be able to trust them with a handgun. 
  • Democrats have long been trying to lower the voting age below 18, since in the aftermath of the oft-cited “long march through the institutions” they are fairly confident that most adolescents will side with them when it comes to abortion, climate change, and, yes, guns. 

Of the two, the second point is perhaps the most damming. What we have is a government willing to grant agency and “freedom” (or fweedom) to those who would tout the party line, but not to those whose worldview is, at best, perpendicular to the allegedly popular dogma. And that is not just hypocritical, but dangerous. But you already knew that.

Related: Does the Second Amendment Mean You Have a Right to a Gun Shop Near You?