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Lummis Praises Court’s Decision To Allow People Under 21 To Buy Guns

in News/Cynthia Lummis
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis is praising a federal court’s decision this week to allow adults under the age of 21 to own a handgun.

A panel of judges for the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the decision on Tuesday in favor of arguments that that federal laws preventing law-abiding 18-,19-, or 20-year-olds from owning a firearm violated the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

“The Second Amendment is a constitutional right,” Lummis said. “There is no reason a law-abiding 18-year-old adult should be denied that right solely based on their age. If we trust them to defend our country, we should trust them enough to purchase a handgun. I applaud the decision of the Fourth Circuit.” 

Judge Julius Richardson of the Fourth Circuit wrote in the decision, “When do constitutional rights vest? At 18 or 21? 16 or 25? Why not 13 or 33? In the law, a line must sometimes be drawn. But there must be a reason why constitutional rights cannot be enjoyed until a certain age. Our nation’s most cherished constitutional rights vest no later than 19. And the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is no different.” 

In April, Lummis introduced a bill that would allow adults under 21 to purchase firearms.

The Second Amendment Mandates Equality Act of 2021 would repeal the law that currently prohibits people under the age of 21 from buying a handgun and reinstate the right of adults between the ages of 18 and 20 to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed dealer. The bill was co-sponsored by a number of Republican senators, including Montana’s Steve Daines, Idaho’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer.

“The Second Amendment is a constitutional right, and does not treat 18-year-olds as second-class adults,” Lummis said at the time. “In keeping with the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, the SAME Act would overturn our current restrictive anti-handgun statute and ensure equal treatment under law for adults under 21.”

“Ultimately, if we trust 18-year-olds enough to defend our country and to choose our elected officials, we should trust them enough to purchase a handgun,” she added.

The senators argued that people age 18 to 20 are considered adults and can get married, serve in the military and form business contracts, therefore, they should have the right to buy a handgun.

“Sen. Cynthia Lummis’ Second Amendment Mandates Equality Act (SAME Act) is true ‘common-sense’ gun legislation,” Gun Owners of America spokesman Aidan Johnston said. “The current 18–20-year-old handgun ban is antiquated and keeps honest, young adults disarmed – sending the message that the Second Amendment is a second-class right.”

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Bouchard’s Gun Bill Passes Wyoming Senate’s Committee of the Whole

in News/Legislature
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A gun rights bill that would have Wyoming declare federal gun laws that restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms null and void won approval in its first full Senate review Monday.

Senate File 81, sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, would declare federal laws identified as “infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms” as invalid.

“We have a lot of threats in the federal government coming through Congress and I think everyone can agree, they’re there to have a chilling effect on gun owners and manufacturers,” Bouchard told his colleagues during the Senate floor session Monday.

The bill would also declare invalid any federal law “ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition from law abiding citizens.”

The bill would bar any Wyoming law enforcement officers from enforcing any federal laws ruled an infringement on the Second Amendment.

The law would apply to federal rules and laws already in place as well as any passed in the future.

“Law-abiding citizens should not have the harm of overreach from the federal government,” Bouchard said.

The federal actions the bill identifies as infringements on the Second Amendment include any tax or fee imposed on firearms and accessories “that might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items,” the registration or tracking of firearms or ammunition and any act forbidding the possession, ownership or transfer of a firearm.

Earlier this month, the Wyoming Sheriff’s Association said the bill, in its original form, could leave its members in a dilemma while trying to enforce the law.

“The … Act, while well intentioned to prohibit firearms confiscation by federal entities to unknown future laws, could actually inhibit Wyoming peace officers from enforcing certain Wyoming statutes, conducting complete investigations and ensuring successful prosecution,” said the letter, signed by all 23 of Wyoming’s sheriffs.

The letter said the law would leave law enforcement unable to seize weapons from people accused of serious crimes.

“For example, we could normally seize a firearm as part of a local case and turn the firearm over to federal entities for prosecution,” the letter said. “These cases run the gamut of aggravated robbery, child pornography and various dangerous drug investigations.”

The sheriffs also objected to a section of the bill that would allow people whose weapons have been seized to sue the officer involved, who would have no immunity from damages, even if acting within the scope of his duties.

“To punish and hold liable a peace officer who seizes a weapon which is later returned, is wrong,” the letter said. “It is already difficult to recruit and retain quality peace officers.”

The bill must be approved in two more Senate votes before it can be sent to the House for review by representatives.

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