Plaintiffs Seek Injunction in Second Amendment Lawsuit Challenging California Gun Ban for Young Adults Under Age 21

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 7, 2019) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of a motion seeking a preliminary injunction in the case of Matthew Jones, et al. v. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, et al., a federal Second Amendment challenge to the State of California’s ban on gun purchases by young adults over age 18 but under age 21. The court filings are available online at www.firearmspolicy.org/jones.

“The State of California must be prevented from stripping adult individuals their fundamental rights solely based on their age,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney, John Dillon. “Our motion makes it clear, there is no historical support for age-based firearms restrictions on adults in the United States. Evidence also shows that age-based firearms restrictions have no effect on reducing homicides, suicides, or mass shootings. The State’s reasoning for such an unlawful ban relies on pure speculation and conjecture – and shockingly – outdated, bigoted, and racists laws that were once used to deprive Native Americans and slaves the ability to defend themselves. It’s disgusting. Adults ages 18-to-20 are not felons. They are not mentally ill. And they should not be treated as if they were.”

“The State of California has singled out a class of individuals based on their age and impermissibly infringed on their ability to acquire, keep, and bear arms. No other constitutional right is denied to those who reach the age of majority,” said FPC Director of Legal Strategy, Adam Kraut. “It is unlikely the State of California would argue that an individual over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 is not mature enough to engage in protected speech or should not be free from unlawful searches and seizures. However, it takes an obscene position that individuals in that age bracket should not be able to lawfully keep and bear arms for the defense of themselves or their families. Such a position is untenable, discriminatory, and unconstitutional.”

“The Supreme Court made clear in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) that the Second Amendment’s scope is defined by the understanding of the right at the time of its ratification. When the Second Amendment was ratified, virtually every male (and some females) in the country between 18 and 21 was required to own firearms,” explained FPC Director of Research, Joseph Greenlee. “Moreover, by the time of ratification, there had been hundreds of laws throughout the colonies mandating gun ownership among these young adults, and no law prohibiting it. Thus, 18-to-20-year-olds are protected by the Second Amendment, and any law prohibiting them from acquiring firearms violates their rights.”

The motion for preliminary injunction’s declaratory testimony, and nearly 2,000 pages of exhibits, include the scholarship and research of attorney, historian, and legal scholar David T. Hardy; economist and crime researcher John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center; and sociologist, researcher, and retired attorney, Thomas B. Marvell, who authored the study, “The Impact of Banning Juvenile Gun Possession,” published in the Journal of Law and Economics (Vol. 44, Oct. 2001, pp. 691-713).

The plaintiffs in the case are Matthew Jones, an adult under the age of 21; Thomas Furrh, an adult under the age of 21; Kyle Yamamoto, an adult under the age of 21; PWGG, L.P. (D.B.A. Poway Weapons And Gear and PWG Range); North County Shooting Center, Inc.; Beebe Family Arms and Munitions LLC (D.B.A. BFAM and Beebe Family Arms and Munitions); Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC); Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF); California Gun Rights Foundation (CGF, formerly known at The Calguns Foundation); and Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to defend the People’s rights, especially the human right to keep and bear arms, promote individual liberty, and restore freedom.

Background

California law prohibits law-abiding adults aged 18-to-20 from acquiring any firearm (Penal Code section 27510(a)-(b)).

FPC, FPF, CGF, SAF, and individuals aged 18-to-20 brought this action, Jones, et al. v Becerra, et al., alleging that the prohibition violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

Plaintiffs seek a temporary and permanent injunction to enjoin the defendants from enforcing the prohibition, so young adults can acquire firearms and exercise their Second Amendment rights.

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