NRA v. Florida

     The National Rifle Association has sued the Florida Attorney General and Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement over a recently-passed law that forbids the purchase of rifles by persons under the age of 21.  The law was passed after a public outcry over a massacre at a Florida high school in which a former student who had been expelled from the school used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot and kill many students.  The thought behind the law was that by preventing the sale of rifles to those under age 21, as opposed to 18, this would make it harder for a student or recent student at a school to shoot up the school.

     Enter the NRA.  The NRA, in NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC, V.  PAM BONDI and RICK SWEARINGEN, filed suit seeking a ruling from the United States Distict Court for the Northern District of Florida that the law is unconstitutional and that the chief persons in charge of enforcing that law be prevented from doing so.

     There have been many attempts by states to regulate or outright ban the sale of guns over the last 50 years with various forms of registration requirements, waiting periods, or even one requirement that gun owners may keep their guns only when disassembled and kept in a locked box.  In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 635 (2008), the Supreme Court finally decided that states could regulate and ban the sale of certain weapons, but could not pass laws that effectively ban the sale of guns to citizens, when those citizens want to put those guns to use in a law-abiding way, or in a way in which those guns are commonly used, such as confronting and shooting someone in self-defense.

     Some have argued that the requirement that a rifle purchaser be over 21 years of age is reasonable, because many states prohibit the sale of alcohol to those under 21.  The problem with this argument is that the Constitutional Amendment, No. 21, which abolished Prohibition, made a special provision allowing individual states to pass laws concerning the sale of alcohol.  There is no such provision in the Second Amendment.  The Right to Bear Arms under that latter Amendment does not allow individual states to regulate alcohol out of esistence.  The Right to Bear Arms arose out of a fear that once the colonies became a secure nation, the national government might try to disarm individual citizens and leave them defenseless.  The Second Amendment was passed so citizens could defend themselves from criminals and a potential tyrannical government, and persons aged 18 are considered to be old enough to claim the full benefits of citizenship.

Pay attention to this lawsuit.  My money says the NRA will win this one.


Allen Browning is an attorney in Idaho Falls, Idaho who handles personal injury and criminal defense. He has over 30 years of experience and handled thousands of cases. Allen handles cases from all over Idaho. Call (208) 542-2700 to set up a free consultation if you are facing legal trouble or you have been involved in an accident.

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