Federal judge rules gun ban violates the Constitution

by mcardinal

Curt Flewelling, FISM News


A federal court in Fort Worth, Texas has struck down a state law that prohibits adults under the age of 21 from carrying a handgun for self-defense outside of their home or obtaining a license to carry a handgun.

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman invoked the Constitution when explaining his ruling: “Generally, the Second Amendment guarantees ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms,’ and the ‘people’ referred to in the Bill of Rights have always been understood to be the ‘whole people.’”

Prior to the ruling, adult Texans between the age of 18-20 were forbidden to exercise this basic right. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Democrats in the state were dismayed by the ruling. Texas Democrat Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa responded to the ruling by saying, “Texas Democrats strongly disagree with this baffling decision and, in frustration but not in defeat, we yet again call on Republicans to protect our children and codify real gun violence prevention measures before its too late.”

Democrats in the Lone Star state have long tried to forward the argument that an age-based prohibition of gun ownership and possession is founded based on current legislation enacted to prevent felons or the mentally ill from access to firearms.

Judge Pittman found this argument to be weak as he explained, “The longstanding prohibitions regarding felons and the mentally ill were based on an individualized determination that allowing the person in question unfettered access to firearms would pose a threat to public safety. The Texas law ‘does the opposite’ by issuing a blanket prohibition to 18-20 years olds carrying a handgun outside their home.”

The ruling comes just three months after the deadliest school shooting in Texas history. On May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Pro and anti-gun legislation often come fast and furiously in the wake of such tragedies. The solutions forwarded to stop the violence are often quite dependent on the political makeup of a particular municipality or state. Ideas range widely from proposals to arm teachers to imposing further restrictions on gun owners. Conservatives routinely note the fact that many of the communities where these tragedies have taken place, had very strict gun laws on the books at the time of the shooting.

Interestingly, the states where the most school shootings occur are a hodgepodge of divergent political thought. Left-leaning states such as California, Illinois, and Michigan are on the top ten list, but so are right-leaning states such as Texas, Florida, and Georgia. When looking at school shootings per capita, the same phenomenon is seen. A conservative state like Louisiana ranks second in the incidence of school shootings per capita, while progressive Washington D.C. ranks first.

These findings indicate that this is a multi-faceted problem that should be approached from all angles. One angle is a more concerted focus on the mental health aspect of this dilemma. Again, this is an area where Democrats and Republicans have very different views, with Republicans focusing on the mental health of the gunman rather than on the gun. 

The debate on how to stop gun violence will undoubtedly rage on. But the recent ruling in Texas is a clear victory for the 77 million gun owners across the country.