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President Trump Shifts on Age Requirement for Buying Guns

President Donald Trump has dropped his push for raising the minimum wage requirement for purchasing firearms, causing many Second Amendment proponents to breathe a sigh of relief.

The move comes as many state legislators are taking action on their own in response to the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida in February. While many states have an age restriction of 21 years of age to purchase handguns or long rifles, including so-called “assault” weapons, states trying to implement the same restrictions are being sued. The National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit in The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The lawsuit alleges that the State of Florida passed a law restricting adults under the age of 21 years and at least 18 years of age are banned from purchasing guns.

President Trump had originally agreed that the age restriction for rifles or long guns should be set at 21 years of age. However, two days after the NRA filed a lawsuit against the State of Florida for its age restrictions, the president has “bowed out” of the decision to allow a federal commission the power to examine the age issue and other topics.

The Associated Press was quoted as reporting, “In a move sure to please the powerful gun lobby, [the plan in response to school shootings] does not include a push to increase the minimum age for purchasing assault weapons to 21. That’s a step President Donald Trump has repeatedly championed.”

On the morning of March 13, 2018, President Trump stated that he would be watching the various state cases and the rulings in those cases before he acts on any legislation increasing the minimum age to purchase rifles.

Many states have minimum age state laws that go beyond federal law. The Gun Control Act (18 U.S.C. 922(b)(1), (b)(2); 27 CFR 478.99(b)) states that rifles, shotguns, and the ammunition for those long guns may not be sold to anyone under the age of 18. Handguns are age restricted to 21 years of age and older.

Thus far, only Hawaii and Illinois ban the purchase of long guns by anyone under 21 years of age who is at least 18 years of age. Washington, D.C. allows the purchase of long guns at 18, but does not allow possession until 21 years of age, except with parental consent.

The Second Amendment reads: “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.” There has always been a debate about the meaning of this amendment between those who advocate for the banishment of guns and those who believe an individual should be able to keep and own guns. The Supreme Court has ruled several times that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to purchase, keep and own guns.

In the 1939 case of United States v. Miller (307 U.S. 174), the court sided with those who were for gun control in determining that it was constitutional to regulate sawed-off shotguns. That precedent was shot down in 2008 when the Supreme Court of the United States decided in District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290), in a 5-4 decision, that the Second Amendment did, in fact, give individuals the right to bear arms and that the D.C. law was unconstitutional. At the same time, the Supreme Court stated that it was constitutional to create regulations that prohibit the mentally ill and criminals from possessing firearms.

In 2010, in McDonald v. City of Chicago (08-1521), Plaintiff McDonald pled that Chicago’s handgun ban was unconstitutional. In yet another 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court deemed that law as unconstitutional and that it violated not only the Second Amendment but the Fourteenth Amendment in part.

While the left cries that President Trump “can’t stand up to the NRA,” one has to wonder if the left really understands the meaning of the constitution and the Supreme Court rulings that define the Second Amendment. Because of the long on-going debate over the meaning of the Second Amendment, President Trump is right in waiting to see the outcome of any current cases regarding this matter, including the recently filed NRA vs. Pam Bondi case in Florida.

Logically, this also makes sense because of the Supreme Court rulings and the ability for entities and individuals to file suit against a breach of their constitutional rights. While the Supreme Court may change its mind on the matter, it is highly unlikely since the court has already determined that the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not solely the militia.

~ Patriotic Freedom Fighter

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