Recently, Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott signed a new bill into law that would raise the required age to purchase a gun in Flordia from 18 to 21.
The bill, SB 7026, is also called the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.
However, soon after signing the bill into law, the state of Florida was sued by the NRA for on the grounds that Americans’ constitutional rights were being trampled based on age discrimination.
Here’s what Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm, had to say about it:
The ban is particularly offensive with respect to young women, as women between the ages of 18 and 21 are much less likely to engage in violent crime than older members of the general population who are unaffected by the ban.
The NRA’s lawsuit makes the point that 18-year-olds are considered as being part of the militia and can be conscripted for military service. Therefore, Florida is violating both the 2nd Amendment and the 14th Amendment which protects residents from their own state’s unconstitutional laws.
The NRA also makes a big argument that Florida’s new law negatively impacts young women much more than it impacts men. They argue that young women have hardly posed any threat as far as gun violence is concerned, yet the new law prevents them from getting the protection they need.
Florida Representative Jay Fant made his point very clear on the house floor, saying:
I just can’t imagine Nikolas Cruz can commit such a heinous crime,” he said, “and then as a result we tell, potentially, a 20-year-old single mother living alone that she cannot purchase a firearm to defend herself in the state of Florida. This is not constitutional on its face.
The protection for women angle the NRA is taking will likely win some supporters in favor of repealing the law.
This might seem like another Democrat attempt at disarming Americans, but bill SB 7026 was actually sponsored by Republicans, which is rather alarming. The only good news is that there was still some resistance to the bill from Republicans, with 19 of them opposing the bill.
According to Ron Sullivan, a former constitutional law professor, the NRA has a decent case to work with and it will likely end up at the Supreme Court eventually, saying:
It does come down to the Second Amendment. It’s a fundamental right. It’s not like the right to buy cigarettes or drink alcohol. This is a right that’s in the Constitution.
While the age increase for buying firearms is the main part of the bill, it also includes a few other things. For instance, the new law makes it a felony to possess a bump stock.
There’s also a “red flag” provision that allows for family members or law enforcement to report someone as being suspicous, at which point their guns can be confiscated. I imagine this could be abused very easily to harass gun owners.