BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation won an important court victory in a challenge of a state law prohibiting young adults in the 18-20-year age group from open carrying a firearm during a declared state of emergency.

SAF is joined by the Firearms Policy Coalition and three private citizens including Madison M. Lara for whom the case Lara v. Pennsylvania State Police is named. They are represented by attorneys John D. Ohlendorf, Peter Patterson and David H. Thompson with Cooper & Kirk in Washington, DC, and Joshua Prince, with law offices in Bechtelsville, Pa.  

The 2-1 ruling, written by Circuit Judge Kent A. Jordan notes, “It is undisputed that 18-to-20-year-olds are among “the people” for other constitutional rights such as the right to vote, freedom of speech, peaceable assembly, government and the right against unreasonable government searches and seizures…Indeed, wholesale exclusion of 18-to-20-year-olds from the scope of the Second Amendment would impermissibly render “the constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense … ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.’”  

Judge Jordan was joined in his opinion by Circuit Judge Brooks D. Smith. Judge L. Felipe Restrepo dissented.

“This important ruling,” acknowledged SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “firmly establishes young adults are members of a class we consider to be ‘the people.’ By remanding the case back to the District court with instructions to enter an injunction forbidding the Commissioner of the State Police from arresting law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds who openly carry firearms during a state of emergency declared by the Commonwealth. This is no small accomplishment in any state east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line.

“This is our second court victory of the new year,” noted SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, “and we anticipate many more over the next 12 months as we observe our 50th Anniversary. Throughout 2024, we intend to keep winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.”