A federal court in Fort Worth handed gun rights advocates a major win on Thursday, ruling that a Texas law prohibiting 18- to 20-year-olds from carrying handguns without a license violates the Second Amendment.
The decision comes in a case brought by the Firearms Policy Coalition, which challenged the prohibition that was put in place when Texas passed its constitutional carry law last year, removing the requirement of firearm holders to obtain a license to carry from the state.
The bill set a minimum age of 21 to carry a handgun, despite the fact that it is legal in Texas to own a handgun at 18. It is also legal to carry a long gun at 18, and individuals in the military are eligible for a license to carry a handgun at age 18.
When the bill was brought before the Texas House at the time, State Rep. Jeff Cason (R–Bedford) offered an amendment to change the age restriction. That amendment received 12 votes in favor and 121 against.
Now nearly a year after the bill took effect, however, Judge Mark Pittman of the U.S. District Court for Northern District of Texas enjoined that restriction:
Based on the Second Amendment’s text, as informed by Founding-Era history and tradition, the Court concludes that the Second Amendment protects against this prohibition. Texas’s statutory scheme must therefore be enjoined to the extent that law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds are prohibited from applying for a license to carry a handgun.
“Texas cannot point to a single Founding Era law that prohibited 18-to-20-year-olds from carrying a functional firearm for self-defense, because not only did no such law exist, but those individuals are an important reason why we have a Bill of Rights in the first place,” said Firearms Policy Coalition Senior Attorney for Constitutional Litigation, Cody J. Wisniewski.
The case was brought against Department of Public Safety Director Steven McGraw in his official capacity.
Texas Scorecard has reached out to the Office of Attorney General Ken Paxton to inquire as to whether his office will appeal the decision.