Minnesota Prohibition On Permit To Carry Law For Individuals Under 21 is Struck Down

United States District Court Judge Katherine Menendez struck down the state’s ban which bars individuals below the age of 21 from acquiring gun permits. 

This ban was passed in 2003 and it imposed an age requirement for an individual to be able to obtain a permit to carry a pistol. Three individuals filed a lawsuit against this ban, in which they argued that it was unconstitutional and barred individuals below the age of 21 from asserting their Second Amendment rights. 

In addition, the lawsuit highlighted that the plaintiffs who are between the ages of 18 and 20, “wish to carry pistols for self-defense, but don’t because they do not want to be subject to arrest or prosecution for violating the permitting requirement.”

Menendez asserted that the age limit infringed on the rights of 18 to 20. She issued a 50-page-ruling where she reached the conclusion that Minnesota’s law was unconstitutional and blocked it. She alluded to the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen to justify the move. The judge claimed that her ruling was backed by the new legal test which the Supreme Court established in the Bruen case to assess laws regulating firearm possession.

The Supreme Court maintained that the government must demonstrate that a firearm law “is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation” for the law to be deemed constitutional.

“Based on a careful review of the record, the court finds that defendants have failed to identify analogous regulations that show a historical tradition in America of depriving 18- to 20-year-olds the right to publicly carry a handgun for self-defense,” Menendez wrote in the opinion. “As a result, the age requirement prohibiting persons between the ages of 18 and 20 from obtaining such a permit to carry violates the Second Amendment.”

Menendez’s ruling now allows individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 to be able to obtain a license to publicly carry a firearm in Minnesota.

“Given the relative dearth of firearms regulation from the most relevant period where that lens is aimed, the endeavor of applying Bruen seems likely to lead, generally, to more guns in the hands of more people, not just young adults,” Menendez outlined. “Some Minnesotans are surely fine with that result. Others may wonder what public safety measures are left to be achieved through the political process where guns are concerned. But Bruen makes it clear that today’s policy considerations play no role in an analytical framework that begins and ends more than 200 years ago.”  

This ruling comes at a time when Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz has been pushing for new gun control laws in the Minnesota state legislature. Minnesota has been taking a notable anti-gun turn in recent years as evidenced by its 38th place ranking in Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings. 

This ruling is overdue. However, gun owners will have to employ other methods, in additions to litigation, to restore gun rights such as nullification, reforming gun laws at the state level, and repealing laws at the federal level. Ultimately, this strategy has to become multi-pronged.

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