U.S. appeals court rules California ban on gun sales to people under 21 is unconstitutional

A federal appeals court Wednesday ruled that a California ban on the sale of semiautomatic firearms to adults under the age of 21 was unconstitutional.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the 2nd Amendment “protects the right of young adults to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to purchase them.”

The ruling reverses a lower court’s decision not to issue an injunction to block what it called “an almost total ban on semiautomatic centerfire rifles” for young adults, which the appeals court called a “legal error.”

“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” Judge Ryan Nelson wrote for the appeals court. “Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.”

California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta’s office said it was reviewing the court’s decision.

“California will continue to take all necessary steps to prevent and reduce gun violence,” it said. “We remain committed to defending California’s commonsense gun laws, which save lives and make our communities safer.”

The Firearms Policy Coalition, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the state law, claimed the decision as a victory.

“Today’s decision confirms that peaceable legal adults cannot be prohibited from acquiring firearms and exercising their rights enshrined in the Second Amendment,” said Adam Kraut, the group’s vice president of programs, in a statement. “We are pleased to see progress on this important legal front and optimistic that similar results will come from our many other challenges to age-based bans filed in courts across the United States.”

This is a developing story.

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