While the raging debate over gun control has many people wondering where members of Congress stand, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just released a per curiam order giving the public an idea where 15 judges on the court stand on the issue ― at least when it comes to a constitutional challenge to laws forbidding licensed gun dealers from selling guns to those under the age of 21.
On Oct 25, 2012, a 5th Circuit panel ruled in National Rifle Association, et al. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, et al. that federal regulations prohibiting gun sales to those over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 violate neither the Second Amendment, which protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” nor the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.
Half a year later, the 5th Circuit denied en banc review by one vote.
Eight members of the court —Chief Judge Carl Stewart and judges Carolyn Dineen King, Eugene Davis, James Dennis, Ed Prado, Leslie Southwick, Catharina Haynes and James Graves — voted against reconsidering the decision.
Seven of the judges — including E. Grady Jolly, Edith Jones, Jerry Smith, Edith Brown Clement, Priscilla Owen, Jennifer Walker Elrod and Stephen Higginson — voted to reconsider that decision.
Jones wrote a dissent to the April 30 denial of en banc review to consider the constitutionality of the gun laws.
“Effectively, these provisions bar law-abiding adults aged 18 to 20 from purchasing handguns in the highly regulated commercial firearms market. I respectfully dissent. There are serious errors in the panel decision’s approach to the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.” Jones wrote. “ Moreover, the implications of the decision — that a whole class of adult citizens, who are not as a class felons or mentally ill, can have its constitutional rights truncated because Congress considers the class ‘irresponsible’ — are far-reaching.”
― John Council