71 Stan. L. Rev. Online 1 (2018-2019)

handle is hein.journals/slro71 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Defending an Under-21 Firearm Ban Under
        the Second Amendment Two Step

                              Amit Vora'


    In the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, more lawmakers
may be willing to concede that 18-to-20-year-olds are ill suited to keep and bear
firearms. Under current federal law, an 18-to-20-year-old may purchase a long
gun from a federally licensed or unlicensed dealer, may purchase a handgun
from an unlicensed dealer, and may possess a handgun or a long gun.' Some
states have ventured beyond the federal floor, barring 18-to-20-year-olds from
purchasing or possessing any firearm, short or long.2 In large measure, though,
a 19-year-old in the United States-such as the perpetrator of the Parkland
tragedy-may lawfully purchase and possess an AR- 15 rifle.
    Any proposed legislation to implement an absolute, under-21 ban on
firearm purchasing and possession will be met with vehement resistance. The
Second Amendment guarantee, the National Rifle Association (NRA) will say,
vests at 18, and prohibiting 18-to-20-year-olds from purchasing or possessing
firearms impermissibly impinges on-indeed, snuffs out-their individual
    Yet the constitutional basis to counter the NRA's inevitable Second
Amendment challenge is readily available. It can be gleaned from a trilogy of
settled circuit precedents: Rene E.3 from the First Circuit; BATFE4 from the
Fifth; and Horsley5 from the Seventh. Although no absolute, under-21 firearm
ban was at issue in those decisions, an advocate for such a ban should avail
herself of the premises underlying their holdings. The decisions present

  Supervising Attorney & Fellow, Georgetown Law Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic.
  The author is grateful to Brian Wolfman, Natasha Babazadeh, Wyatt Sassman, and the
  editors of the Stanford Law Review Online for their thoughtful comments.
  1. See 18 U.S.C.  922(b)(1), (c)(1), (x)(1), (x)(5) (2016).
  2. See Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess, GIFFORDs L. CTR. TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE,
    https://perma.cc/V93P-AWLZ (archived Apr. 21, 2018) (summarizing state legislation).
  3. United States v. Rene E., 583 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2009).
  4. Nat'l Rifle Ass'n of Am. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (BATFE),
    700 F.3d 185 (5th Cir. 2012).
  5. Horsleyv. Trame, 808 F.3d 1126 (7th Cir. 2015).

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