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Texas Judge strikes down ban barring adults below 21 from carrying handguns

A Texas Judge struck down a Texas law that prohibits adults under 21 from carrying a handgun outside the home, on the grounds that the restriction violated the second amendment

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A Judge in Fort Worth struck down a on Thursday that prohibits adults under 21 from carrying a handgun outside the home, on the grounds that the restriction violated the second amendment.

US District Judge Mark T. Pittman, who was nominated by President Donald J. Trump in 2019, ruled Thursday the violates the second amendment and ordered the injunction stayed for 30 days, pending appeal, meaning that it would not immediately go into effect, New York Times reported.

In his ruling, Judge Pittman said that the second amendment, "as informed by Founding-era history and tradition," did not exclude 18- to 20-year-olds from the right to bear arms.

Last Year, in November, two adult plaintiffs under 21 and the Firearms Policy Coalition, a gun-rights advocacy non-profit, challenged the constitutionality of the gun laws.

The lawsuit argued that "18- to 20-year-old adults were fully protected by the Second Amendment at the time of its ratification."

His ruling and a statement by the Firearms Policy Coalition were couched in the language of originalism, the theory that the Constitution and other texts must be interpreted the same as they would have been at the time they were written. That interpretation favoured by the Supreme Court's conservative majority and groups like the powerful Federalist Society. Judge Pittman is a former vice president and founding member of the Fort Worth chapter of the group, according to New York Times.

Meanwhile, Cody J Wisniewski, a senior attorney for constitutional litigation at the Firearms Policy Coalition, said, "This decision is a significant victory for the rights of young adults in and demonstrates for the rest of the nation that similar bans cannot withstand constitutional challenges grounded in history."

He noted that many people aged 17 to 20 fought in the American Revolution. Attorney Wisniewski further added, "Texas cannot point to a single Founding-era that prohibited 18- to 20-year-olds from carrying a functional firearm for self-defence."

David Pucino, deputy chief counsel for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said that the judge's decision was "squarely at odds" with precedent established by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over the Federal District Court in Fort Worth.

"Going back all the way to 2013, the Fifth Circuit precedent has said that you can prohibit both the purchasing of handguns and the carrying of handguns for people of the age of 18 to 21," he said.

Pucino also noted that "young people are responsible for an outsize share of gun violence" and disproportionately likely to be the victims of it, as reported by New York Times.

Texas gun laws again came under the spotlight after the state reels from mass shootings, including in Uvalde, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in May.

After the Texas mass shooting, Biden said that the gun laws cannot prevent every tragedy but they have a positive impact pointing out that mass shootings tripled after the assault weapon ban expired.

"We know common sense gun laws can't and won't prevent every tragedy. But we know they work and have a positive impact. When we passed the assault weapons ban -- mass shootings went down. When the law expired -- mass shootings tripled," Biden said in a tweet.

"Gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons which make them some of the biggest profits," he added.

Over half of Americans supported making gun violence laws more strict, The Hill reported citing a poll conducted between the mass shootings that took place this month in New York and Texas.

54 per cent of those surveyed in a CBS News-YouGov poll out Wednesday said they would like to see stricter laws regulating the sale of guns.

A total of 30 per cent say they want gun laws to remain the same, and 16 per cent said they wanted gun laws to be less strict, the report added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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First Published: Fri, August 26 2022. 12:26 IST

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