AL Leads Challenge of Gun Rights Restrictions for Young Adults

By: News Release
By: News Release

MONTGOMERY—Attorney General Luther Strange has filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a challenge by the National Rifle Association against a federal law that restricts the sale of handguns to adults aged 18-20. Attorney General Strange’s brief was joined on Friday by 21 other Attorneys General in protecting for their citizens “a liberty that is guaranteed to them by the federal Constitution but currently denied to them by the federal government.”

"The right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment is fundamental and sacred,” said Attorney General Strange. “We must be vigilant in protecting it from intrusions and limitations. I am proud to stand with the National Rifle Association in this effort.”

Attorney General Strange’s brief asserts that “adults who are 18, 19, and 20 honorably defend our country when it is at war. These same Americans should be able to defend themselves and their families when they are at home. Yet Congress has chosen to preclude the States from fostering their citizens’ freedom in this way.”

At issue is a prohibition by Congress, found in 18 U.S.C. §§922(b)(1) and (c)(1), which was upheld in October of 2012 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The case is National Rifle Association of America, Inc., et. al. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, et al.

“In this particular sphere, most States have decided that 18-,19-, and 20-year-olds ought to be allowed to exercise this aspect of their fundamental right to bear arms,” the brief notes. “Yet Congress has sought to withdraw this liberty from the same class of people. In doing so, it has disparaged, as ‘emotionally immature’ and ‘prone to criminal behavior,’ the very persons these States seek to protect.”

Attorney General Strange’s brief urges the Court to resolve the conflict between rights granted by the States but which Congress seeks to restrict. “Each day (the statute) remains in effect will further entrench the misconception that Congress may treat the Second Amendment as a second-class right. And each day it stays in place will perpetuate a congressional policy of disregarding States’ determination that this group of citizens deserves equal liberty.”

The states joining Alabama in the amicus brief are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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