Judge blocks Texas law prohibiting adults under 21 from carrying handguns

A federal judge ruled against a Texas law banning adults under 21 years old from carrying a handgun outside their homes, saying that it violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment’s text, informed by the history and tradition of the era of the Founding Fathers, protects individual rights against this prohibition by age. 

The ruling is set to go into effect in 30 days to give time for an appeal to be filed. 

The lawsuit was filed in November by two individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 and the Firearms Policy Coalition on behalf of its members in that age range. 

The ruling follows the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in June in which it struck down New York state law that required a high standard for an individual to receive a permit to carry a handgun outside their home. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. 

The decision comes three months after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in the city of Uvalde, killing 19 students and two teachers. He was armed with an AR-15-style rifle. 

The Texas legislature passed a law last year allowing Texans to carry handguns outside the home without a license or training, the Texas Tribune reported. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called it the “strongest Second Amendment legislation in Texas history,” but some law enforcement groups said it would put officers at risk and allow criminals to more easily obtain firearms. 

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