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Federal Judge Begrudgingly Upholds Florida Ban on Transferring Firearms to Young Adults


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Yesterday, a federal district court judge in the United States District Court Northern District of Florida upheld a Florida law that prevents law-abiding citizens between the ages of 18 and 20 from purchasing a firearm.

The judge explained that “for better or worse,” he was bound by the Eleventh Circuit’s Second Amendment precedent and had to rule the way that he did. But in doing so, he expressed dismay at the unfortunate balance that this decision will create. Under the existing Florida law, 18-20-year-olds can legally acquire a firearm with the assistance of parents or other relatives. This creates a situation where individuals who do not have family members to assist them are unable to exercise their Second Amendment rights at all. The judge highlighted this disparity by asking, “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 judge also questioned the “Second Amendment framework that finds certain persons or activities either protected or entirely unprotected,” and stated that “this Court sees no reason why the Second Amendment, unlike other fundamental rights, should be an all or nothing affair.” Additionally, the judge stated that if the court “were writing on a ‘blankish’ slate … it would subject the Act to a more searching inquiry.”

While this decision is a setback, NRA-ILA remains dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens everywhere. NRA-ILA will examine this decision in the days to come and will decide the best method in which to pursue that goal.

The case is called NRA v. Swearingen.

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