The State of Florida passed a law to prohibit gun sales to anyone under the age of 21. The NRA (National Rifle Association of America) didn’t like it. Yesterday, it filed suit, alleging that the law is unconstitutional under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as to adults (anyone over the age of 18). The complaint can be found here.
My suspicion is that legislators passed the new law, and didn’t pass other potentially more meaningful restrictions (such as prohibitions on automatic assault weapons), because they knew the age restriction would be the hardest one to pass constitutional muster. Passing the law gave them political cover (they did something) while perhaps doing nothing — that is, nothing that won’t be reversed by a judge.
The prohibition of 18 to 20-year-olds buying guns might be hard to justify. After all, this age group is eligible to enlist in the Armed Forces and handle weapons responsibly. Why should their rights be infringed upon in this manner?
I realize this age group is restricted in other ways, such as prohibitions on purchasing alcoholic beverages. But no one has the right to bear a beer under the Second Amendment.
The real problem, of course, is the U.S. Supreme Court’s politically biased opinion construing the Second Amendment is a way that goes beyond the plain text. Once that happened, America was destined to have its violent impulses constitutionally protected.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the NRA wins this case.