Texas Judge Strikes Down Concealed Carry Ban For Young Adults

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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A federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas ended the state’s concealed carry ban on handguns for unlicensed 18 to 20-year-olds Thursday.

The judge made the ruling after two plaintiffs under 21, and the Firearms Policy Coalition Inc., filed a lawsuit in November 2021 challenging the law that bans young adults from carrying concealed handguns in public without a license, according to the Texas Tribune. The law prevented the plaintiffs from traveling across certain counties where they lived, attended school and went to work, the lawsuit said.

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman wrote in the decision that the Second Amendment protects a young adult’s right to keep and bear arms. He ruled that citizens of that age group are members of the political and national community and, therefore, the rights protected in the Second Amendment fully apply to them.

“Based on the Second Amendment’s text, as informed by Founding-Era history and tradition, the Court concludes that the Second Amendment protects against this prohibition,” Judge Pittman wrote. “Texas’s statutory scheme must therefore be enjoined to the extent that law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds are prohibited from applying for a license to carry a handgun.”

The judge cited the recent Supreme Court case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, and previous cases that established an individual’s right to carry a handgun for the purpose of self-defense. The case struck down a New York law requiring a person to prove “proper cause” to obtain a conceal carry permit, ruling that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside of their home.

Pittman stayed his ruling for 30 days to allow the state to file an appeal, the decision read.

In June 2021, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation allowing individuals ages 21 and over to conceal carry a handgun without a license. Before the law passed, Texans were required to obtain a license to open or conceal carry a handgun.

The Firearms Policy Coalition confirmed they have filed suits in several other states with similar age restrictions, including Pennsylvania and California. (RELATED: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Signs Constitutional Carry Into Law)

Currently 25 states, including Tennessee, Ohio and New Hampshire, have passed constitutional carry laws, according to the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA). Many of these states require an age limit of 21 to openly carry a handgun, while the law applies to 18-year-olds in other states, such as Arkansas and Mississippi.