A federal judge ruled Thursday that a Texas law barring people ages 18 to 20 from carrying handguns in public is unlawful because the Constitution does not cite an age restriction.
District Judge Mark Pittman also said minors were part of state militias earlier in U.S. history.
“Texas cannot point to a single Founding Era law that prohibited 18- to 20-year-olds from carrying a functional firearm for self-defense, because not only did no such law exist, but those individuals are an important reason why we have a Bill of Rights in the first place,” said Cody J. Wisniewski, the senior attorney for constitutional litigation at the Firearms Policy Coalition, which brought the suit.
The judge, appointed by former President Donald Trump, referred to a recent Supreme Court decision that said New York went too far in placing restrictions on people who want a permit to carry a firearm. The high court said restrictions were so sweeping that they amounted to a de facto ban on carrying guns in certain areas and were inconsistent with the Second Amendment.
Blue-state leaders reacted by proposing new guardrails on who can apply for a permit and declaring additional places, such as government meeting areas and public venues, as protected zones where guns are permitted to be restricted.
The Texas decision upends a law that prohibits persons under 21 from carrying a handgun in public but does not impact the prohibition on minors under age 18.
The state has 30 days to decide whether to appeal, or else the change will go into effect.