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NRA targets Florida ban on gun sales to people under 21 – CBS Miami


TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami / NSF) – Highlighting what it described as the “irrationality” of the ban, the National Rifle Association has urged a federal appeals court to reject a 2018 Florida law that bars people from under 21 to buy guns.

Last week, NRA lawyers filed a 61-page brief claiming that the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals should find the law, passed after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, violates the second amendment and equal protection rights.

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The brief came after U.S. District Chief Justice Mark Walker upheld the law in June. Lawyers for the NRA wrote that the ban “violates the right of all young adults to buy a firearm, even for self-defense in the home” and compared it to other laws relating to people of under 21 years old.

“State law demonstrates the irrationality of the ban,” the brief said. “Florida law allows young adults – those it categorically deems illegal and irresponsible (in gun law) – to serve in the military and law enforcement. It also allows young adults to sit on a jury, enter into contracts, sue and be sued, marry, and own property. Florida immediately considers young adults to be law-abiding and responsible enough to uphold the law, but not law-abiding and responsible enough to be trusted to follow.

The Republican-controlled legislature and the government of the day. Rick Scott approved the ban as part of a high-profile bill passed after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was accused of using a semi-automatic weapon to kill 17 students and faculty during of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, his former high school. Cruz is still awaiting trial for the shooting.

The law prohibits the sale of rifles, shotguns and other long guns to persons between the ages of 18 and 20. Federal law already prohibited the sale of handguns to people under the age of 21.

Lawyers for the state did not file any arguments in the Atlanta Court of Appeals. But in a document filed in the district court, they wrote that people between the ages of 18 and 20 are a “particularly high-risk group” and pointed to scientific evidence on impulsive and risky behavior.

“Empirical evidence confirms that, because 18 to 20-year-olds are particularly likely to engage in impulsive, emotional and risky behaviors that offer immediate or short-term rewards, drawing the line for the legal purchase of ‘Firearms at 21 are a reasonable method of addressing the legislature’s public safety concerns,’ the document said.

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In his June ruling upholding the law, Walker, in part, focused on a landmark 2008 US Supreme Court case known as District of Columbia v. Heller. While the Heller case is widely seen as a major victory for gun rights supporters, she also said some “long-standing gun bans” do not violate the Second Amendment, the ruling says. by Walker.

The Heller case cited bans on things such as criminals and mentally ill people owning firearms, Walker concluded that restrictions on people between the ages of 18 and 20 who buy firearms were ” analogous ”to the restrictions cited in the Heller case.

“In short, the regulations listed by Heller are similar to the restrictions on the purchase of firearms by 18 to 20 year olds; all target specific groups who are considered particularly dangerous with firearms, ”he wrote.

But in last week’s brief, NRA lawyers wrote that “responsible young adults cannot be equated enough with convicted felons and the mentally ill.”

“Nothing in Heller or in the precedents of this court supports the idea that hundreds of thousands of law-abiding young adults in Florida could be categorically prohibited from purchasing firearms simply because these people are part of a group declared by the government to be – without individual judgment. – ‘particularly dangerous with firearms’ ”, declared the brief. “It extends the analogy with the alleged legal bans on criminals and the mentally ill beyond the breaking point.”

While the law prohibits people between the ages of 18 and 20 from purchasing firearms, it allows them to receive firearms, for example, as gifts from relatives. Lawyers for the NRA argued in the brief that the law violates constitutional rights to equal protection.

“The legislature makes a distinction between young adults privileged enough to receive or lend a gun from those who are not so privileged,” the brief said. “The former are sort of suited to owning a firearm, while the latter are not. “

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(© 2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Jim Saunders’ news service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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