On August 25, 2022, a Texas judge ruled the state’s law prohibiting 18-to-20-year-olds from carrying a handgun for self-defense outside the home unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman wrote that the Second Amendment doesn’t mention age, meaning adults under the age of 21 shouldn’t be barred from legally carrying. The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by the Firearms Policy Coalition on behalf of plaintiffs who are under the age of 21.
Judge Pittman wrote the following in his ruling:
As explained, the Court concludes that it has jurisdiction and that Plaintiffs’ claims are ripe for review. The Court therefore DENIES Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction (ECF No. 32).
Further, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 57) and DENIES Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment (ECF Nos. 45, 48, 51).
Accordingly, the Court ORDERS that:
- To the extent that Texas’s statutory scheme, Tex. Penal Code § 46.02(a) and Tex. Gov’t Code §§ 411.172(a)(2), (g), (h), (i), prohibits law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds from carrying handguns for self-defense outside the home based solely on their age, this statutory scheme violates the Second Amendment, as incorporated against the States via the Fourteenth Amendment.
- Defendants and all their officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and other persons who are in active concert or participation with them are hereby ENJOINED and RESTRAINED from enforcing Texas’s statutory scheme against law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds based solely on their age.
- This injunction is hereby STAYED for thirty days, or pending appeal, for the duration of the appellate process.
In the ruling, Judge Pittman cited several noteworthy gun rights cases including N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022), District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S.742 (2010). The judge’s ruling included numerous cases and details to support each of his points. Because he chose to stay his own injunction—meaning it is temporarily delayed—the order is not yet in effect.
What does this mean for you as a Texas gun owner? At this time, it simply means the lawsuit brought by the Firearms Policy Coalition was ruled in favor of reducing the age required to apply for a handgun permit. However, the current law requiring a person to be 21 years of age or older to apply for a Texas License to Carry (LTC) remains in effect until further notice. We here at U.S. LawShield® will keep members apprised of the ruling’s status and any future appeals and rulings. This page will be updated as the case progresses.
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