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October 4, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a coalition of 19 other attorneys general in defending a Pennsylvania law limiting the issuance of concealed-carry licenses to people ages 21 and up. In an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, the coalition argues that states have the right to enact reasonable, age-based firearm regulations that protect public safety and reduce the prevalence of gun violence.
The coalition filed the brief in Lara v. Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, a lawsuit challenging a Pennsylvania law that generally restricts the issuance of concealed-carry permits to people ages 21 and up. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that the law infringes upon the Second Amendment rights of people between the ages of 18 and 20. The lower court in this case rejected that argument, holding that laws regulating the sale of firearms to young people are longstanding and constitutional.
"States have the right and responsibility to protect our residents against harm by enacting laws and policies," Nessel said. "That includes recognizing that preventing people under the age of 21 from legally obtaining firearms is commonsense regulation."
In the brief, the coalition argues that the Second Amendment gives states the ability to enact sensible regulations designed to protect the public, including age-based restrictions that limit the ability of people younger than 21 to carry concealed firearms in public. Although regulations differ based on each state's needs, virtually every state and the District of Columbia has imposed some age-based restrictions on the sale or use of firearms, and over 30 states and the District of Columbia have enacted statutes which prohibit people younger than 21 from carrying concealed firearms in public.
Similarly, courts across the country consistently have upheld age-based regulations, noting that the goal of these regulations is to deter crime and promote public safety.
Joining Attorney General Nessel in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.