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NRA Challenges Constitutionality Of Federal Handgun Ban For Law Abiding 18-20 Year-Olds

Friday, September 10, 2010

The NRA is challenging federal laws that prohibit law-abiding Americans 18-20 years of age from legally purchasing a handgun through a federally licensed firearm dealer. The case was filed Tuesday evening in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Lubbock Division. James D'Cruz of Lubbock, TX is the plaintiff in this case.

"In Heller and McDonald, the U.S. Supreme Court clearly stated that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for all law-abiding Americans," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "That right is not limited only to Americans 21 years of age and older. Indeed, throughout our nation's history, adults beginning at age 18 have served in the military and fought for this country with honor. But while the Supreme Court has consistently made clear that the federal government cannot ban or unduly restrict sales of items protected by the Constitution, the federal government continues to prohibit these adults from purchasing handguns from federally licensed dealers, which represent the largest and most accessible means of purchasing handguns."

The suit asserts: "At 18 years of age, law-abiding citizens in this country are considered adults for almost all purposes and certainly for the purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights."  Indeed, at 18, citizens are eligible (and male citizens could be conscripted) to serve in the military--to fight and die by arms for the country.  Yet, Section 922(b)(1) prohibits law-abiding adults in this age group from lawfully purchasing -- from the most prevalent and readily available source -- what the Supreme Court has called "the quintessential self-defense weapon" and "the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home."

The plaintiff, Mr. D'Cruz, is well-trained in the proper handling and use of firearms, including handguns. His initial training was with his grandfather, a World War II veteran, who wanted his grandchildren to understand the proper and safe techniques for use and storage of firearms. Mr. D'Cruz received further training from his father and as a member of the Navy Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps, where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. During his junior and senior years of high school, Mr. D'Cruz was a member of the JROTC's marksmanship team, and as member of that team has competed in regional and national marksmanship competitions. Mr. D'Cruz received numerous awards, including a first place medal for marksmanship, in a regional competition. Mr. D'Cruz also received a Foreign Legion unit award for marksmanship.

The case is D'Cruz v. BATFE.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.