Fort Worth, TX – A federal judge ruled Thursday that a Texas law that restricted adults under 21 from carrying handguns was unconstitutional.
Texas state law has prohibited adults under the age of 21 from obtaining a concealed carry permit or carrying a handgun outside of their home, according to the Texas Tribune.
The Firearms Policy Coalition, a firearm rights nonprofit organization, filed a lawsuit on behalf of two plaintiffs who claimed that their constitutional rights were being infringed because they could not legally carry their firearms.
“Texas cannot point to a single Founding Era law that prohibited 18-to-20-year-olds from carrying a functional firearm for self-defense, because not only did no such law exist, but those individuals are an important reason why we have a Bill of Rights in the first place,” the plaintiffs argued, according to CNN. “And young people have just as much a right to keep and bear arms in public as adults over the age of 21.”
U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman agreed with the plaintiffs.
“The issue is whether prohibiting law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds from carrying a handgun in public for self-defense is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” Judge Pittman wrote in his opinion. “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.”
The judge cited the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen in which the court ruled that it was unconstitutional for states to only issue concealed carry permits to a small number of people who proved extraordinary need.
This ruling overturned the previous approach used in District of Columbia v. Heller which considered if certain laws had been around for a long time, then they were most likely constitutional.
Judge Pittman’s ruling would require the state to allow 18-20 year olds the right to carry firearms, but would allow restrictions to apply to minors.
The ruling will go into effect within 30 days if the state does not successfully appeal it in that time.