The National Rifle Association is asking the Supreme Court to strike down decades-old regulations prohibiting the sales of handguns to those under the age of 21.
The NRA is challenging a lower federal court’s October ruling that upheld the ban. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that the current regulations are consistent with a long-held view that young adults between the ages of 18 and 20 “tend to be relatively immature and that denying them easy access to handguns would deter violent crime.”
“As with felons and the mentally ill, categorically restricting the presumptive Second Amendment rights of 18-to-20-year-olds does not violate the central concern of the Second Amendment,” the court found.
The court noted it is legal for adults under the age of 21 to buy other types of guns, including rifles and shotguns. Further, parents or guardians can give their 18 to 20-year-olds handguns as a gift, and there are no laws barring either the possession or use of a handgun by adults younger than 21.
Still, the law’s prohibition of commercial sales of handguns to young adults amounts to a “categorical burden on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” the NRA argued in its petition to the high court, filed last week.