PHILADELPHIA, PA (June 30, 2021) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of an opening brief in the appeal of its federal Second Amendment lawsuit challenging the State of Pennsylvania’s laws that prevent young adults under age 21 from carrying a loaded firearm outside of the home for self-defense. The brief in Lara v. Evanchick can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.
The brief, filed in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, argues that “[t]he text of the Second Amendment leaves no doubt that it applies outside the home” and that the “right to keep and bear arms belongs to ‘the people’ as a whole,” “not [just] the subset of the people who have attained the age of 21.” The brief also notes that “just months after ratification of the Second Amendment, Congress enacted the Militia Act of 1792, which required all able-bodied men to enroll in the militia and to arm themselves upon turning 18.”
Additionally, the brief says that the state has no public-safety justification for the ban. “FBI statistics indicate that 18-to-20-year-olds are arrested for violent crimes no more frequently than, say, 21-year-olds—and the percentage of wrongdoers in this age bracket who do commit violent crimes is an infinitesimal fraction of the age group as a whole,” the plaintiffs argue.
Federal District Court Judge William S. Stickman IV, a Donald Trump appointee, previously dismissed the case, holding that adults between the age of 18 and 21 do not have Second Amendment rights. “This Court [of Appeals] should reverse the decision of the district court and remand with instructions to enter an injunction forbidding Pennsylvania from continuing to ban 18-to-20-year-olds from carrying firearms in public for lawful purposes,” the brief concludes.
“The District Court erred in holding that age-based restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment,” said Adam Kraut, FPC’s Senior Director of Legal Operations. “Worse, the Court ignored the historical evidence that shows that the right applies to adults under 21 years of age. Moreover, the Court’s reliance on a flawed Fifth Circuit opinion to arrive at its conclusion underscores the need for the Third Circuit to conduct an appropriate analysis in this case, using the text of the Constitution as it is informed by history and tradition to guide its decision, as required by the Supreme Court’s precedents. And faithful application of the Heller decision requires that Pennsylvania’s laws banning carry by adults under 21 must be declared unconstitutional and enjoined. We will continue our litigation to restore the right to carry in this and other cases.”
Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Evanchick must file his opposition brief by July 23; the plaintiffs will file their final reply brief on or before August 13. FPC has also filed lawsuits challenging similarly unconstitutional restrictions in Illinois, California, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Georgia.
Individuals that are interested in joining FPC in the fight against tyranny can become a member of the FPC Grassroots Army for just $25 at JoinFPC.org. FPC and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates leading the Second Amendment litigation and research space. Some FPC legal actions include:
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs. FPC Law (FPCLaw.org), the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, lead the Second Amendment litigation and research space.