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Texas: NRA Opposes Bills Denying Second Amendment Rights to Young Adults

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(HB 129, HB 565, HB 761, HB 781, HB 925, HB 996, HB 1072, HB 1331, HB 1388, HB 2075, HB2275, HB 2744, HB 2916, HB 3087, HB 3088, HB 3996, HB 4364 & HB 5188 — to view the text of any of these bills, visit https://house.texas.gov/research/)

During the 2023 Texas legislative session, more than a DOZEN measures have been filed to discriminate against law-abiding young adults aged 18-20 by prohibiting them from exercising their Second Amendment rights. The legislation bans them from purchasing — and in some cases, possessing — any firearm or certain types of firearms. Some of these bills focus solely on that prohibition or some variation of it, while other bills include that among a laundry list of other restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of all age groups.

At age 18, citizens are eligible to vote, serve in the military (83% of United States Marine Corps enlistees are 20 or younger) and be drafted. An 18-to-20-year-old may be tried as an adult for crimes in state and federal courts. Young adults may serve in law enforcement, may generally serve on a jury, enter into contracts, sue and be sued, get married and own property. Restricting their right to purchase and own firearms is unconstitutional and will not reduce crime.

In the landmark Bruen case, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that for a firearm regulation to pass muster under the Second Amendment, the government must “identify a well-established and representative historical analogue.” Regarding restrictions on young adults purchasing guns, this cannot be done. There were no laws restricting 18-20-year-olds from purchasing firearms at the time of the American founding; in fact, 18-to-20-year-olds were required to be part of the militia and arm themselves. The age of majority remains 18 today for militia.

Making further state action unnecessary in this policy area, the federal government instituted a 3-10-day federal waiting period for 18-20-year-olds purchasing firearms as part of the 2022 Bipartisan “Safer” Communities Act gun control law. During this time, FBI is tasked with conducting a so-called “enhanced” background check on the prospective purchaser. This includes an examination of state juvenile records and contacting local law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which the purchaser resides. (Another bill, HB 324, requires FFLs to report the transfer of any semi-automatic rifle to a person under 21 years of age to the county sheriff. Under the BSCA federal act, local law enforcement is already notified of all FFL firearm transfers to 18-20-year-olds.)

In 2019, Dr. Gary Kleck published the research paper “Regulating Guns Among Young Adults” in the American Journal of Criminal Justice. This study assessed the impact of state bans on gun carrying among persons aged 18 to 20 on rates of murder, robbery and aggravated assault. The results indicated no significant effect of these bans on any of the three violent crime rates. A second study assessed the impact of the federal ban on the purchase of handguns by persons aged 18 to 20. Results indicated there was no impact on the 18 to 20-year-old share of arrests for homicide, robbery, or aggravated assault.

The Texas House Select Committee on Community Safety is expected to hear some or all of these measures at their Tuesday, April 18, meeting at 2:00pm, in Room E2.012 of the Capitol Extension, in Austin.  NRA-ILA will notify you with more details once the official committee agenda is posted later this week.

Article by NRA-ILA

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