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 April 1, 2024

Appeals court rejects challenge to Pennsylvania statue restricting young adults from carrying firearms for self-defense

A petition to rehear a case that challenged Pennsylvania statutes that restrict young adults from carrying firearms for self-defense and from earning a license to carry a handgun was denied by an appeals court in Pennsylvania.

The case in question challenged the statutes themselves, as The Epoch Times reported.

A case in which opponents of a pro-gun rights group sought to restrict the ability of young adults to carry firearms was rejected by the Third United States Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the pro-gun rights group and refused to rehear the issue further.

The Court's Decision

On March 27, the Third United States Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling on the case, sending ripples throughout the community.

The judge denied a petition for a rehearing regarding a victory that the Second Amendment Foundation had achieved in a case that challenged statutes that prohibited law-abiding adults between the ages of 18 and 21 from carrying firearms for the purpose of self-defense and prevented them from acquiring a license to carry a firearm due to their age.

The decision of the appeals court to deny the petition to rehear the case that was submitted by the defendant, who is the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, indicates that the court was adhering to the opinion of the United States Court of Appeals.

That court determined that the defendant's position, which stated that the three young plaintiffs were "not among 'the people' to whom the Second Amendment applies," was incorrect.

The Judge's Writings

In writing for the majority Circuit Judge Kent A. Jordan said in a March 27 ruling that “the petition for rehearing by the panel and the Court en banc, is DENIED.”

En banc is a legal term for when the entire bench of judges of a court hears a case rather than a small panel of selected judges.

In writing his dissent from the majority opinion, Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo argued that in the era when the laws were drafted.

According to the documentation, legislatures were authorized to “categorically disarm groups they reasonably judged to pose a particular risk of danger and that the modern-day judgment and Pennsylvania’s modern-day judgment that youth under the age of 21 pose such a risk is well supported by evidence.”

“A review of historical sources reveals that the Second Amendment’s plain text does not cover Appellants’ conduct because it would have been understood during the Founding era that Appellants are not ‘part of ‘the people’ whom the Second Amendment protects,” he wrote in his conclusion.

“Further, the challenged statutory scheme here is ‘consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition. Because Pennsylvania’s statutory scheme does not violate the Second Amendment of the Constitution, I respectfully dissent.”

Participants In the Case

Logan D. Miller, Sophia Knepley, and Madison M. Lara were the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. Robert Evanchick, who was the commissioner of the Pennsylvania state police at the time, was the defendant.

Confirmation of Mr. Evanchick's appointment as Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police occurred on June 6, 2019. Colonel Christopher Paris succeeded him in March 2023.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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