Court lifts ban on gun sales to young Americans

Court lifts ban on gun sales to young Americans

A federal judge has overturned a law that has banned licensed gunsmiths from selling guns to youth under the age of 21 for more than half a century.

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Wednesday’s decision represents a major setback for better gun control advocates who are trying to persuade Congress to ban younger people from acquiring assault rifles.

These AR-15 guns, which have been the focus of many bloodbaths, were not common in 1968, when lawmakers passed legislation banning gunsmiths from selling handguns to young people aged 18 to 21 on the grounds that they were more of a criminal offence committed than the elders.

Since then, young Americans have been able to purchase revolvers and pistols from private sales, salons, or through their parents, but not from federally licensed stores, where they can purchase all types of guns.

The 1968 Act had been the subject of several legal challenges since its passage, but up until then it had endured. On Wednesday, federal judge Robert Payne, who sits in Virginia, ruled that a June ruling by the United States Supreme Court was landmark.

The mostly conservative Supreme Court ruled that the constitution protects Americans’ right to carry a gun outside their homes and ruled that the only possible restrictions should be part of the country’s history.

For Judge Payne, that is not the case here: “The statute and its executive orders are not consistent with the history and traditions of our nation and therefore cannot stand,” he writes in his 71-page decision.

“Young people have always acted like… young people. “The social problem of their impetuosity and haste predates the founding fathers,” he adds, who, however, had no rules preventing them from acquiring guns.

His decision, which is likely to be appealed and could end up in the Supreme Court, was heavily criticized by the Everytown for Gun Safety group, which campaigns for more gun restrictions.

“Young people between the ages of 18 and 20 are three times more likely to commit firearm homicides than adults over 21,” noted one of their officers, Janet Carter, in a press release that the verdict will “undoubtedly put their lives at risk.”

According to the Gun Violence Archive, firearms caused more than 47,000 deaths in the United States in 2021, including 26,000 suicides.