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Judge: Young Adults Can Get A Carry Permit In Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania young adults aged 18, 19 and 20 years old can now apply for a concealed carry license in the Keystone State.

On Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that the state law forbidding adults under 21 from applying for a carry permit is unconstitutional, as is the law banning adults that age from open carrying during an emergency.

The case, Lara v. Evanchick, was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition and three private citizens.

“Defendant has prohibited, absent a license to carry firearms, a particular class of persons, including Plaintiffs and those similarly situated, from carrying a firearm in their pockets for the purpose of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in case of conflict with another person, in direct violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,” Judge William S. Stickman wrote in the ruling. “Specifically, even though the U.S. Supreme Court in Heller declared that to ‘bear arms’ includes the ‘carry [of a firearm] … in a pocket, for the purpose … of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’”

Judge Stickman further wrote that the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police “is hereby enjoined from arresting law-abiding persons 18 to 20 years old who openly carry firearms during a state of emergency declared by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” And he further enjoined the commissioner and his subordinates from preventing “any individual between the ages of 18 and 20 years old, who are not disqualified from exercising their Second Amendment rights from carrying loaded, operable firearms, including handguns, on their person, in public and in their vehicles, for all lawful purposes including self-defense.”

Adam Kraut, SAF executive director, said following the decision that it was an important ruling for young adults in the state.

“Judge Stickman’s injunction has conferred the same Second Amendment rights upon 18 to 20 year olds that those over 21 have had,” Kraut said. “Now 18 to 20 year olds in Pennsylvania may apply for License to Carry Firearms and the state’s draconian transportation laws have been enjoined from enforcement. This is a victory for Second Amendment rights in Pennsylvania.”

Ironically, the ruling came just days after the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced another round of rulemaking that included “enhanced” background checks on American adults aged 18 to 20. Given the 2022 ruling in Bruen and the recent ruling in Pennsylvania, it’s likely that one will be overturned, too, when it finally makes its way into the courtroom.

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