The National Rifle Association (NRA) filed an appeal in federal court after a judge upheld a Florida law banning Floridians under 21 from purchasing a firearm.
The law was passed in 2018 by the Florida Legislature and signed by then-Gov. Rick Scott raising the purchasing age as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker upheld the law in the 11th Circuit Court, but Walker was hesitant to do so. He said the demographic being banned from purchasing a firearm was likely a demographic in need of a firearms for self-defense.
“Worse still, it is likely that these particular 18-to-20-year-olds are the ones who actually need firearms to defend themselves: they are likely independent, likely to live in dangerous neighborhoods, and likely to have families and children of their own. Why should the 20-year-old single mother living on her own be unable to obtain a firearm for self-defense when a 20-year-old living with their parents can easily obtain one?”
The NRA initially filed a lawsuit against Scott in 2018 saying it punishes “law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual.”
The Florida law also contains a ban on “bump stocks,” a separate attachment which allows a semi-automatic weapon to disperse rounds in a manner similar to an automatic weapon. However, the NRA is not targeting the bump stock portion of the law.
Former NRA president and current lobbyist Marion Hammer extolled her frustration with the law.
“There is no question that 18-to-21-year-olds are adults in the eyes of the law and the Constitution,” Hammer said. “To deny those younger adults their rights because of the actions of criminals is nothing less than political discrimination and it is inconsistent with the Heller decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The district court agreed this was unfair but ruled his hands were tied by Eleventh Circuit precedent.”
The Heller case Hammer cites refers to the famous 2008 Supreme Court Case District of Columbia v. Heller. Walker concluded restrictions against those under 21 were “analogous” to restrictions cited in the Heller case.
Walker, in the end, upheld the Florida law based on “the 11th Circuit’s Second Amendment precedent.”
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