BELLEVUE, WA – A federal district court judge in West Virginia has ruled that a federal law prohibiting handgun sales to 18-20-year-olds is “facially unconstitutional,” and granted a summary judgment in a case brought by the Second Amendment Foundation.

In a 40-page decision, U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas S. Kleeh with the Northern District of West Virginia wrote, “(B)ecause Plaintiffs’ conduct – the purchase of handguns – ‘fall[s] [within] the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command’ and the challenged statutes and regulations are not ‘consistent with the Nation’s historic tradition of firearm regulation,’ the Court FINDS 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(b)(1) and (c)(1) facially unconstitutional and as applied to Plaintiffs.”

He enjoined the defendants—in this case the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ATF Director Steven Dettelbach and Attorney General Merrick Garland—from enforcing the provisions “against Plaintiffs and otherwise-qualified 18-to-20-year-olds.”

“This is a huge victory for Second Amendment rights, especially for young adults,” said SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “The Biden Justice Department argued that people in this age group were not adults, which was patently ludicrous. The government simply could not defend the constitutionality of the handgun prohibition, and Judge Kleeh’s ruling makes that clear.”

“There was never any historical evidence supporting this arbitrary ban on the purchase and ownership of handguns by young adults,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “As we maintained all along, history goes in the opposite direction. At that age historically, young adults were considered mature enough to serve in the militia, the military and take on other responsibilities. We’re delighted with the judge’s ruling.”

The case was filed in September 2022. Joining SAF were the West Virginia Citizens Defense League and individual citizens Steven Robert Brown and Benjamin Weekly. They were represented by attorneys John H. Bryan of Union, W.Va., and SAF’s Kraut, who is a practicing attorney based in Westtown, Pa.