DORAL, FL – The Parkland massacre in which 17 people were killed by a 19-year-old at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School made a law raising minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21 to be passed. Now, a federal appeals court on Thursday upheld said law.
The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals arrived at that decision after a 3-0 ruling. In an opinion written by Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum, the panel concluded that the Florida law was “consistent with our Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” — a reference to the Supreme Court’s landmark Second Amendment ruling last year that instructed courts to look to whether a firearm restriction has historical analogues when assessing the restriction’s constitutionality.
The panel’s argument was based on laws enacted by states that banned young adults from possessing firearms around the same time of the adoption of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which extended the Second Amendment protections to states.
“Between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and the close of the nineteenth century, at least sixteen states and the District of Columbia joined Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee—a total of at least twenty jurisdictions—in banning sales of firearms to 18-to-20-year-olds,” Rosenbaum wrote.
“These regulations, like their pre-ratification predecessors, were state responses to the problem of deaths and injuries that underage firearm users inflicted,” he added.
Rosembaum, an Obama appointee, was joined in the ruling by Circuit Judge Charles Wilson, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, and District Judge Anne Conway, an appointee of George H.W. Bush.
According to reports, much of the 11th Circuit analysis is related with a question left open by the Supreme Court’s June decision — known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen of whether courts should look to the historical record around the Second Amendment’s ratification in 1791, or the ratification the 14th Amendment in the 1860s years later.
This matter is again put into question after the National Rifle Association had challenged the Florida law shortly after it was signed in March 2018. Despite that, legal experts interviewed by CNN say it’s “only a matter of time” before the US Supreme Court again has to weigh in on the scope of the Constitution’s gun rights protections and clarify legal questions post-Bruen.
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