A U.S. appeals court chose to uphold a Florida law Thursday that barred adults under the age of 21 from purchasing a firearm.
The three-judge panel decided to uphold the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which was implemented in 2018 following the Parkland school shooting, as they believed the law is aligned with historical tradition of gun regulation in the United States set forth in a landmark Supreme Court ruling in June 2022, according to the unanimous ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The judges’ opinion will be rendered moot if HB 1543, which would reduce the minimum age to purchase a gun to 18, passes through the Florida legislature.
“Acting well within that longstanding tradition… The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act precludes those under 21 only from buying firearms while still leaving that age group free to possess and use firearms of any legal type,” Judge Robin Rosenbaum wrote in the ruling. “That kind of law is consistent with our Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
Judge Charles Wilson concurred with the panel’s decision, but noted that he would have waited for the results of HB 1543, according to the ruling. (RELATED: Texas Withdraws Appeal To Ban 18 To 20-Year-Olds From Carrying Handguns In Public)
The three-judge panel argued that young adults “illustrate a persistent societal problem,” as they account for less than 4% of the population but are responsible for more than 15% of homicide and manslaughter arrests, according to the ruling.
The 11th Circuit just upheld Florida’s ban on sale of firearms to anyone under 21. The opinion by Judge Robin Rosenbaum is perfectly crafted to survive even Justice Thomas’s narrow historical test. Brava!https://t.co/OymQMXppxH
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 9, 2023
Attorney Konstadinos Moros, who works for firearm and Second Amendment law firm Michel & Associates, called the use of the young adult crime statistics a “disgusting sentiment,” according to a Twitter post following the ruling.
“This exact same logic would allow the government to disarm every racial group except white and [A]sian Americans. Black Americans, for example, have homicide rates way out of proportion with their share of the population, but even so, the overwhelming majority of Black Americans are law-abiding and peaceable individuals,” Moros wrote. “Stripping them of their rights because other people that share their skin color commit too many crimes would obviously be unacceptable, so why is it OK with age groups? Our constitution is based on individual rights, not demographic discrimination.”
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