The National Rifle Association (NRA) sued the State of Florida late Friday, asserting that the state’s changing the age for purchasing all firearms from 18 to 21 violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Gov. Rick Scott signed a new gun law Friday. Parts of that law impose new gun controls, one of them raising the age to purchase a long gun (i.e., a rifle or shotgun) from 18 – as it is under federal law and across the country – to 21. Under federal law, 21 is the age for purchasing a handgun, and the Florida statute makes it the uniform rule for all firearm purchases.
The NRA filed suit, arguing that this new Florida statute violates the fundamental right guaranteed by the Second Amendment, which provides, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
In its 13-page complaint, the NRA argues that this Florida gun control violates the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding and peaceable American citizens who are 18, 19, or 20-years-old, depriving them of their constitutional rights to obtain and possess firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes.
The lawsuit also includes an as-applied challenge, brought on behalf of NRA members in Florida who are adult women under the age of 21. The NRA argues that data prove that women ages 18, 19, and 20 are more law-abiding and less violent than men who are ages 21, 22, 23, and 24.
Therefore, the gun rights powerhouse argues that if Florida were to enact gun controls because of the violent behavior of young people, then it would make more sense to raise the age of eligibility on men to over 21 than to restrict adult women under 21. That being so, a uniform age of 21 is unreasonable, and should be invalidated.
The NRA is represented by lawyers from Cooper & Kirk, one of the most formidable appellate law firms in the nation, led by conservative legal icon Chuck Cooper from the Reagan administration’s Justice Department under Attorney General Ed Meese. That firm has also represented the NRA in various cases nationwide, and is regarded as a group of legal experts on the Second Amendment and firearms laws and regulations.
In previous litigation elsewhere in the nation, Cooper & Kirk litigated on behalf of the NRA to have the federal law that requires a handgun purchaser to be 21-years-old declared illegal under the Second Amendment, arguing that the age of 18 is required by the Constitution.
The case is National Rifle Association v. Bondi, No. 4:18-cv-137 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.