Court Throws Out NRA Attempt To Expand Age Of Purchasing Rifles


A federal appeals court has rejected a legal challenge from the National Rifle Association (NRA), the infamous, private pro-gun group, to a law enacted in Florida after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that raised the minimum age for purchasing so-called long guns.

That measure, signed into law by Republican Rick Scott, who was then the governor, raised that minimum age from 18 to 21. Predictably, some on the Right swiftly mobilized against the initiative, and the case from the NRA was first rejected by a lower-level judge years ago. At present, some are also clamoring for just undoing the law legislatively, although it’s unclear such will actually happen, despite a proposal to enact such a thing from Republicans in the legislature including one whose initiatives have been signed into being by Ron DeSantis before. At the level of the federal appeals court, the three-judge panel agreed that the disputed measure was reasonably in line with historical restrictions on guns around the United States, like state laws from the 19th century that imposed the same kind of restriction by age.

“Judge Robin Rosenbaum, who wrote the ruling, said that while those laws did not go back to the nation’s founding, they were relevant because they were passed around the time that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment was adopted, which extended the Second Amendment to state laws,” as explained by Reuters.

Florida officials have also been considering a measure that would allow concealed carry in the state without a permit, meaning otherwise eligible residents could covertly tote guns without the additional oversight of the permitting process. GOP officials in other states have imposed similar allowances. In Florida, a new poll from a team at the University of North Florida found some three-fourths of the state opposed the idea of allowing concealed carry without a permit, even including a majority of Republicans. Nonetheless, Republican officials are generally pushing forward.

DeSantis, the current governor, has also expressed support for allowing open carry without a permit, although the legislature hasn’t gathered behind such a plan as of yet. He has also expressed opposition to having raised the minimum age for buying firearms of the sort repeatedly used by young attackers in mass shootings in Florida and elsewhere in the country.

In contrast, Democratic leaders in other states are heading the other rhetorical direction on gun policy. State legislators in Michigan recently gave their approval to a proposal that would force background checks for private sales of long guns, which weren’t previously covered despite background check rules for federally licensed sales and private purchases of handguns.

Featured image: Lorie Shaull, available under a Creative Commons license