BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in West Virginia, challenging the federal prohibition on handgun sales to young adults ages 18-20, and is asking for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.
Joining SAF in this legal action are the West Virginia Citizens Defense League and two private citizens, Benjamin Weekley and Steven Brown. Defendants are the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ATF Director Steven Dettelbach and Attorney General Merrick Garland, in their official capacities. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The case is known as Brown v. ATF.
Weekley and Brown, both being in the affected age group, were unable to purchase handguns from a West Virginia sporting goods store earlier this year. According to the lawsuit, “The Handgun Ban impermissibly infringes upon the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding, peaceable individuals aged eighteen to twenty,” and further asserts the ban “is flatly unconstitutional under the Second Amendment” and Supreme Court opinions in the 2008 Heller case and 2022 Bruen decision.
“There is no historical evidence supporting an arbitrary prohibition on purchase and ownership of handguns for young adults over the age of 18,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Indeed, history goes the other direction, with young adults considered mature enough for militia service, duty in the armed forces and in today’s world being able to vote, run for public office, start businesses, get married, enter into contracts and enjoy the full protections set down in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments.
“Yet these same young adults are hampered by a politically selected age limit that prohibits them from purchasing handguns from licensed firearms dealers,” he added. “This makes absolutely no sense. This handgun ban for young adults is an unconstitutional infringement of their rights s protected by the Second Amendment.”