(TargetLiberty.org) – The Second Amendment is a critically important part of the Constitution. It protects the right to bear arms and create a well-regulated militia in response to government tyranny and abuse. Courts at every level vow to adhere to this tenet at all times. Yet, one recent case seems to suggest the federal appeals court simply can’t be bothered.
A Critical 2A Case
Nineteen-year-old Natalia Marshall and twenty-year-old Tanner Hirschfeld attempted to purchase handguns from licensed Virginian dealers in 2019. Both sellers refused to honor the respective transactions on the basis that a federal law from 1968 prevents licensed dealers from selling firearms to those under 21.
Marshall sought to protect herself from an abusive ex-boyfriend. Hirschfeld didn’t share his reasons for making the purchase, but did say he preferred to work with a licensed dealer in an effort to avoid stolen or black market firearms.
Hirschfeld and Marshall felt strongly enough about the rejection to file a grievance with the US Court of Appeals. That case culminated in July when a panel of judges ruled the age restriction unconstitutional on the basis that Americans gain the right to bear arms at age 18.
BREAKING: Hirschfeld v. ATF (4th Circuit): Fourth Circuit strikes down federal law banning handgun sales to young adults, says it will "refuse to relegate either the Second Amendment or 18- to 20-year-olds to a second-class status." https://t.co/7jaEJanECp pic.twitter.com/77So5YTfSW
— Rob Romano (@2Aupdates) July 13, 2021
Gun activists celebrated the Circuit Court’s landmark ruling, which effectively rendered the age restriction moot. Yet, a number of detractors immediately sought to overturn it instead.
A Reversal of Fortune
Attorneys General Mark Herring (VA) and Attorney General Brian Frosh (MD) launched a campaign to force the court to review the decision shortly after the July ruling. At the time, they felt the court’s decision conflated the constitution, the law, and public safety; removing it from the books would raise the risk of gun violence, putting citizens at risk.
Richmond’s Circuit Court of Appeals eventually agreed to review the case, officially reversing its decision on September 22, 2021. It based the new ruling not on the basis of its legality, but on the fact that Natalia Marshall, who recently turned 21, was now old enough to buy a firearm according to pre-existing state laws.
Judges say this renders her original complaint moot.
Marshall’s lawyer, Elliot Harding, disagrees. He says the decision is little more than an attempt to evade a previous ruling. The attorney also says he and Marshall aren’t giving up. They plan to challenge the ruling and continue fighting for 2A rights.
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