U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer sent a clear message on Monday by issuing a preliminary injunction against Colorado’s new minimum firearm purchase age of 21. The decision, rooted in last year’s New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen ruling by the Supreme Court, aligns with the fundamental belief in protecting the Second Amendment rights for all law-abiding American citizens.
Brimmer’s ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), which challenges Senate Bill 23-169. Gov. Jared Polis (D) previously signed into law that was set to go into effect on Tuesday. The bill’s controversial clauses essentially declared illegal both the sale of firearms to those under 21 and the very act of such an age group attempting to purchase firearms.
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Tate Mosgrove, a plaintiff in the case, alleged in the lawsuit that as a citizen over 18 yet under 21, he intended to lawfully purchase a firearm for the lawful purpose of self-defense in his home. Fellow plaintiff Adrian S. Pineda is in the same age category and echoed the argument that the law was created to discriminate against adult citizens unconstitutionally.
In his decision, Judge Brimmer relied on the precedent set by the Bruen judgment, which stressed that courts must apply a historical lens when analyzing the constitutionality of gun control measures. He wrote: “When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct.” This introspection into historical contexts serves as a bedrock, proving instrumental in granting the injunction and calling for an immediate halt on SB 23-169’s enforcement.
Recent aspirations of gun-control advocates in Colorado met a considerable setback with this decision. Freshly emerging from a legislative session teeming with gun restrictions, the state’s ambitions to raise the firearm purchase age got thwarted right when it was about to materialize.
The Colorado case is one of several instances where age-based restrictions have met legal scrutiny. Several federal judges across states like Tennessee, Texas, Minnesota and Virginia have ruled against laws that infringe on 18-to-20-year-olds’ rights concerning firearms.
Taylor Rhodes, RMGO’s Executive Director, heralded this judgment. He emphatically stated, “Since the day this legislation was introduced, we knew it was unconstitutional.” This sentiment, rooted deep within RMGO’s ethos, found its validation in Monday’s injunction.
Colorado’s defense of the law, in which it attempted to label 18-to-20-year-olds as “minors with limited rights,” didn’t stand the test of legal rigor. Judge Brimmer emphasized that the very essence of the Second Amendment begins with the assumption that every American, regardless of age, is included in its protections.
Furthermore, the assertion that the Second Amendment strictly protects the possession and carrying of firearms and not the commercial acquisition was rejected. Brimmer noted that several courts have previously highlighted that the right to keep arms intrinsically includes the right to acquire them.
Legal experts have indicated that Colorado will likely appeal Brimmer’s ruling to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.