NRA Renews Fight Against Florida's Age Restrictions On Long Guns

Immediately following the Parkland shooting, the state of Florida decided that legal adults under the age of 21 shouldn’t be treated like actual adults. They made it illegal for them to purchase long guns within the state. When coupled with federal regulations that prevent handgun sales to anyone under 21, it means a whole class of law-abiding, legal adults is unable to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Enter the National Rifle Association.

They filed a lawsuit to overturn the law. However, that battle was sidetracked as the NRA fought to protect the identity of the plaintiffs. That battle was abandoned recently and now they’re back and ready to renew the fight.

In an effort to get the case back on track, the NRA last week abandoned its effort to use pseudonyms for plaintiffs “Jane Doe” and “John Doe.” It filed an amended 12-page complaint Tuesday that named Radford Fant of Duval County, “a law-abiding, responsible citizen between the ages of 18 and 21,” as a new plaintiff.

Also on Tuesday, lawyers for Attorney General Ashley Moody, whose office is representing the state, and the NRA filed a joint scheduling motion, proposing deadlines in the lawsuit that, if agreed to by the judge, could lead to a trial next summer.

“Getting the primary case moving so the constitutional rights of Florida’s young adults can be restored is a top priority with NRA,” Marion Hammer, the group’s Florida lobbyist and former national president, told The News Service of Florida in an email Wednesday morning.

The gun-rights group alleges that the age restriction is an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment right to “purchase firearms to defend themselves, their families, and their homes.”

“At 18 years of age, law-abiding citizens in this country are considered adults for almost all purposes and certainly for the purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights,” the NRA’s lawyers wrote. “At 18, citizens are eligible to serve in the military — to fight and die by arms for the country.”

That last part is a key point, in my opinion.

Troops in the armed forces are often trusted with far more destructed weapons than a long gun that could be purchased in a Florida gun store. Even the much-vilified AR-15 is far more limited than any long gun issued by the military. People in this same age category are routinely trusted with these far more dangerous weapons without any issue.

The problem in Parkland had nothing to do with the fact that the gunman was 19 and everything to do with the fact that he was a violent jackwagon who the police should have arrested and charged with domestic violence dozens of times and never did. That alone would have prevented him from legally purchasing a firearm.

His age wasn’t the problem.

My hope is that the NRA is able to get this idiotic law overturned. Ideally, it’ll be heard by the Supreme Court, but if not then my hope is that it’s only because it’s killed early.

People don’t forfeit their right to keep and bear arms just because they’re legal adults by some definitions and not by others. These adults have the right to defend their lives with firearms just the same as the rest of us.