Why the court must strike down Colorado's 21 to buy law

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Earlier this week, Colorado’s law banning anyone from age 18 to 20 from buying any kind of firearm went into effect, thus creating two tiers of citizenship in the state.


Almost immediately, a judge issued an injunction barring enforcement of the law. That is very good news, particularly for those who are in that age window that would be impacted.

But an injunction isn’t enough. The law needs to be overturned.

Let’s be real: This law will only hamper law-abiding adults — and it is unquestionably unconstitutional.

“Imagine telling an 18-year-old man or woman that they’re too young to join a church, write for a newspaper, have a speedy trial or stop police from ransacking their home without a warrant,” said Max McGuire, author of The Conservative’s Guide to Winning Every Gun Control Argument. “If the Colorado Legislature had tried to rescind any other right like this, there would be riots in the street. Instead, they’re being applauded for eliminating young adults’ God-given natural right to self-defense.”

Just because this particular Constitutional protection deals with guns does not empower government to selectively disregard those Constitutional protections. Period.

The plaintiffs argue the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms necessarily implies the right to “acquire arms.” This makes intuitive sense: one cannot own a thing without first obtaining the thing. Thus, they argue it’s not necessary for a right to be totally prohibited for a group to show a right is infringed.

“The court agrees with the individual plaintiffs that the Second Amendment includes the right to acquire firearms and, therefore, protects the individual plaintiffs’ proposed conduct,” Brimmer wrote. This means the plaintiffs “have sufficiently demonstrated a likelihood of success in showing their proposed conduct is covered by the plain text of the Second Amendment.”


This is basically because of Bruen, which means this law will probably be struck down.

Yet what’s troubling to me is that anyone thinks this is a good idea.

Oh, I get the arguments–that people under age 25 don’t generally have fully-developed brains and are thus subject to irrationality–but what strikes me as particularly hypocritical is that no one is alarmed by that irrationality in literally any other aspect of life.

A 20-year-old can sign contracts, for example, which may lock them into obligations for decades and potentially ruin their lives, but the people who back laws like this and don’t think adults should be on the hook for college loans they agreed to don’t seem to think that 20-year-old shouldn’t be able to sign that contract. They can get married at that age and regularly do, sometimes to less-than-great people, yet no one wants to stop that either.

So it’s not that people under 21 can’t make rational decisions. It’s that they might make the decision to own a gun.

Further, even if it was, that’s not how our rights work. If someone is an adult, they should have the full range of rights we afford any other adult.


What Colorado did was create two tiers of citizenship, one of which is basically second-class citizenship. That’s not something we tolerate in this nation, nor should we.

The stay was a good thing, but it’s only the first step. The law needs to be overturned as do all the similar laws in other states.

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