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A federal appeals court in California sent a lawsuit challenging the state’s “draconian infringement” on Second Amendment rights back to a district court in response to a Supreme Court decision in June that overruled a New York state concealed carry law.
On Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded its own opinion in Jones v. Bonta, which challenges California’s state law banning certain gun sales to people under the age of 21.
It asked the district court to reassess its decision favoring the law in light of the high court’s opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. That decision concluded that a New York state law requiring citizens to show “proper cause” for self-defense to obtain a concealed carry permit was unconstitutional.
In the Bruen opinion, the Supreme Court reset the standard for analyzing Second Amendment challenges. Based on that new precedent, the Ninth Circuit is returning the matter to the district court to reanalyze the case by this new standard, which creates a higher burden for states to justify certain gun restrictions.
Lawyers for three California adults under the age of 21 who are challenging the law argue in court filings that once their clients reached age 18, they were “deemed adults for almost all purposes and certainly for the purpose of exercising constitutional rights. Yet the California statute challenged in this case categorically bars them from purchasing or acquiring all semi-automatic center fire rifles based solely on their age.
“Taken in combination with existing state and federal laws barring 18-to-20-year-olds from acquiring handguns, the result of the challenged provision is that the vast majority of firearms —including the firearms most useful for self-defense — are now off-limits to law-abiding Californians in this age bracket.”
In May, the panel reached a 2-1 split decision on the case, with two Trump appointees ruling in the majority that a district court judge was wrong not to block California’s ban, adding the law’s “blanket ban” on young adults not in the military or on a police force was unconstitutional.
Judge Kenneth Lee in particular highlighted that “California’s legal position has no logical stopping point and would ultimately erode fundamental rights enumerated in the Constitution.”
“If California can deny the Second Amendment right to young adults based on their group’s disproportionate involvement in violent crimes,” the opinion states, “then the government can deny that right — as well as other rights — to other groups.”
Judge Lee wrote that “we cannot jettison our constitutional rights, even if the goal behind a law is laudable.”
“It will be interesting to see what the district court does on remand, as this will be one of the first opportunities for a court to apply the Supreme Court’s latest guidance on the Second Amendment,” a former DOJ official told Fox News Digital.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs and Attorney General Rob Bonta did not immediately respond to Fox Digital’s request for comment.