McClaughry: Vermont implications after 18-year-old wins gun rights ruling

By John McClaughry

Three years ago Vermont raised the age for purchasing any firearm from 18 to 21. But on July 13, a three judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal law barring the sale of handguns to persons under 21 was unconstitutional, calling into question Vermont’s 2018 action.

The plaintiff in the federal case was 19-year-old Natalia Marshall, who obtained a protective order against an abusive ex-boyfriend who had been arrested for possessing a firearm and controlled substances. He posted bail and did not show up to court proceedings. Ms. Marshall works in rural areas as an equestrian trainer. She was denied the opportunity to purchase a handgun because of the 1968 federal law.

Judge Julius Richardson held that the Second Amendment extends to 18- to 20-year-olds, saying  “In the law, a line must sometimes be drawn. But there must be a reason why constitutional rights cannot be enjoyed until a certain age. Our nation’s most cherished constitutional rights vest no later than 18. And the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is no different.” When the Founders drafted the Constitution, he reasoned, laws required 18-year-olds to join the militia and even bring their own guns. “While some historical restrictions existed, none support finding that 18-year-olds lack rights under the Second Amendment,” the judge wrote.

If the ruling is upheld at the Supreme Court, look for a case against the Vermont law as well.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

9 thoughts on “McClaughry: Vermont implications after 18-year-old wins gun rights ruling

  1. Why is it that 2nd Amendment rights are always questioned on the classification of a “need” ? Is there another right conveyed to citizens which is judged on a basis of need ? According to Biden, the Second Amendment is next to useless because the U.S. Armed Forces have all the F35s, and nukes so our right to bare arms is therefore not relevant any more. This geriatric figure head also states that deer do not wear Kevlar vests, so sportsmen, and women do not need “assault weapons, (semi-automatic firearms) with large capacity magazines.” This blithering imbecilic idiot has also stated that in the case of a dangerous criminal threatening a home owner with bodily harm or, death while breaking into, and entering your domicile, you do as he supposedly suggested to his wife, “I said, ‘Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun in the air, and fire two blasts outside the house,'” So I guess he, and his ilk have covered all the reasons why we subjects of the Democratic Crown no longer need a 2nd Amendment . (with the possible exception of a double barreled shotgun loaded with blanks) Personally I would suggest that, not withstanding F35s, and nukes which he suggest could, and would be used against any uprising, all he, and his handlers need to do is read, and explain his own words in any way that would explain his threats to citizens to a free society. I would suggest that anybody who tries to explain away this right is just adding spin to the “need” gyroscope.

  2. Leftists consider the 2nd Amendment the red-headed stepchild of the Constitution, and dismiss it as an obsolete support for a non-existent “militia”. They have no problem arguing that someone turning into a legal ADULT should have to wait another 3 years in order to acquire a firearm with a short barrel. They go the other direction in age when it comes to promoting the vote for 16 year-olds. Isn’t the pen mightier than the sword? Leftists have faith in a legal adult to vote but not to purchase a pistol, yet they seek to allow those older than 18 to be treated as juveniles in the criminal justice system, since “their brains are still developing”. One could argue that since you never really stop learning, our brains are ALWAYS developing. There is not a lot of consistency or logic in the mind of a leftist, but that is obvious. It will take a court decision to remedy this. Bring it on.

  3. We should all know that passing unconstitutional laws is what leftist do. They throw all this crap at the wall hoping some will stick and a liberal judge like one here in our supreme court found the magazine limits constitutional. They aren’t! However, the left knows that all of their unconstitutional laws have to work there way through the court system which can take years or in some cases decades before they are ruled unconstitutional.

    So, here in Vermont the age of majority by law is 18 years old. At 18 you are no longer a juvenile. At 18, you can vote, be drafted into the military and sign contracts as an adult but you can’t buy beer or liquor or guns. While beer and liquor is not mentioned in the constitution as a right, they can maybe get away with it but guns are and the age of militia service is 18. Of course the legislative council doesn’t know this nor does the Vermont Supreme court both of which must have studied the US and Vermont constitutions prior to serving in their capacities.

    In fact, Vermont has restricted the purchase of some firearms that come with standard capacity magazines of more than 10 for a rifle and 15 for a handgun. These firearms are in common use throughout the USA and based on the Heller court decision are also unconstitutionally restricted in Vermont. The left knows this or they are woefully incompetent.

    I also think Phil Scott is either getting really bad advice from his advisors or he is woefully incompetent also but he’s politically astute. By signing unconstitutional gun restrictions he placated his political left voting block and he was re-elected. In my book I call that a sellout to all the good people who supported him in the republican party. While he might be a nice man, he has injured Vermont. He and the people who disrespect their oaths of office are just political hacks with no conscience or obligation to their constitutes. These gun laws are working well in Burlington where felons shoot it out at night over drugs. So the infinite wisdom of politicians is to defund the police and disarm the citizens who are not the problem. These are failures of government that need to be addressed. The voters can’t continue to give license to those who shun their responsibility to defend the constitution.

  4. I blame that boondoggle on Phil Scott, sucking up to the liberal nonsense and pushing
    family tragedies front & center for an agenda……….. how disgusting !!

    Maybe there is some common sense wit in the judicial system in the VT at least one
    judge can read and following the Constitution.

    Yes we have Federal & State Constitutions, not an agenda even, though that’s the
    current process in Montpelier.

  5. Joe Biden’s argument for whatever restrictions: “You don’t NEED…” is so Collectivist, so Progressive, so Fascist – that if you don’t “need” something you want, you can be refused possession of it. Our rights, our guaranteed protection from government mandates, the freedoms the Bill of Rights protects are nowhere in the Constitution dependent upon what we need. Hey, Joe: How about protecting our established borders against invasion? If you get away with mandating inoculation, what next will you mandate?

  6. The law Vermont Marxist legislators concocted was un Constitutional day one on it’s face,to make maters worse Benedict Scott signed it.
    Then all the infringements signed that day are and remain un Constitutional regardless of the Marxist’s in black robes posit to all the deplorables of Vermont.

    • Now the question is what is the penalty for the legislators and governor violating their oath to the Vermont Constitution for passing an unconstitutional law.

  7. This idiotic law should have been repealed the day after it was written. Phlip Phlop Phil pandering to the liberals in the state so he could be re-elected and become one of Biden’s puppets. This was a law that discriminated against people 18-20 years old and was nothing but a publicity stunt for a problem that didn’t exist in Vermont.

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