Federal Handgun Age Limit Ruled Unconstitutional

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The Facts

  • On Wednesday, a federal judge in Virginia struck down a law prohibiting licensed federal weapons dealers from selling handguns to buyers under 21, ruling it violates their Second Amendment rights.

  • In his 71-page ruling, Judge Robert Payne said the statutes and regulations restricting young Americans aged 18-20 from buying a firearm are "not consistent with our nation's history and tradition" and, therefore, could not stand.

The Spin

Democratic narrative

This ruling invalidates an essential tool for controlling gun violence. Guns are the leading cause of death for US children, and research shows that 18- to 20-year-olds commit homicides at triple the rate of adults who are 21 and older. This decision will put lives at risk and must be reversed.

Republican narrative

The state was unable to provide examples or statistics to justify this irrational ban on gun buyers from one age group, and the precedent set in the SCOTUS Bruen case makes this a slam dunk. These gun buyers will be held to the same federal standard as older gun purchasers, so there’s no safety concern that would make it acceptable to violate these people’s Second Amendment rights.

Metaculus Prediction

Political split



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