The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] on Monday upheld [opinion, PDF] a law prohibiting federally licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to anyone under the age of 21. The National Rifle Association (NRA) [advocacy website] brought the case against the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [official website] and Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] in 2010, claiming that the law violated the Second Amendment [text] rights of their members between the ages of 18 and 21. However, the 41-page opinion agreed with the reasoning of Congress, acknowledging that "persons under 21 tend to be relatively irresponsible and can be prone to violent crime, especially when they have easy access to handguns."
This story is the latest development in the Second Amendment and gun control debate [JURIST comment] in the US, sparked by the Newtown, Connecticut shooting [WSJ backgrounder] in December 2012. In April the Maryland Senate gave final approval to a bill that imposes tougher restrictions [JURIST report] on obtaining a license to buy a firearm and bans certain types of rifles. Also in April Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed [JURIST report] a comprehensive gun control bill into law, placing new limits on the sale of firearms. In March Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed [JURIST report] three bills mandating background checks for gun transfers and prohibiting the sale of large magazines. In January President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders [JURIST report] intended to strengthen existing gun laws and urged congress to take up gun control measures.