Standing Up for the Second – A Virginia Judge Upholds the Rights of Young Americans
In a bold and refreshing defense of the Constitution, a federal judge in Virginia has struck a significant blow to overreaching gun control efforts. Judge Robert Payne has ruled that barring firearm sales to individuals aged 18-20 is unconstitutional, reinforcing the age-old wisdom of our nation’s founding fathers that the right to bear arms is integral to our freedom.
This decision follows in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v Bruen. The Supreme Court held that gun laws must align with the U.S.’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Payne’s ruling echoes this principle, stating that restrictions on firearm purchases for 18-20-year-olds are inconsistent with the nation’s history and tradition.
As Payne rightly points out, there’s no evidence of age-based firearm restrictions in the founding era. An important fact he highlights is that if 18-21-year-olds are excluded from the Second Amendment’s protection, we would be imposing limitations that don’t exist with other constitutional guarantees.
Predictably, pro-gun control groups like Everytown For Gun Safety are up in arms over the decision. They argue that 18- to 20-year-olds commit gun homicides at triple the rate of adults 21 and older, and that the decision puts lives at risk.
However, the critical point being overlooked here is that we cannot abridge the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of a few bad apples. Every American has the right to defend themselves, and we can’t strip young adults of that right simply because some individuals in their age group commit crimes.
What we should focus on is promoting responsible gun ownership and tackling the root causes of gun violence, rather than limiting constitutional rights. As Elliot M. Harding, attorney for one of the plaintiffs, notes, the ruling allows future buyers to purchase firearms through the federal system, which includes background checks and other requirements.
This decision should serve as a reminder that our constitutional rights are not negotiable. They are the bedrock of our society, and any attempts to restrict them should be met with the utmost scrutiny. It’s high time we stop treating the Second Amendment as a second-class right.