Kentucky State Rep Sets a Standard for Legislators in Other States to Follow

Savannah Maddox

A recent bill in Kentucky shows us how state legislators should be responding to the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision. Instead of looking for ways to undermine it, delay it, get around it, or keep things in limbo until new judges are on the bench, Rep. Savannah Maddox introduced a bill to comply with it in advance of any legal challenges. This would not only be the constitutional thing to do, but could save taxpayer money, too.

She told local media that other states had already been ordered by courts to respect the rights of young adults, lowering the age for purchases and carry back to the age of majority. So, she said it’s a good idea to “get ahead of the curve and avoid litigation, saving taxpayer dollars, because eventually this will play out in the court system.”

One case the representative was referring to was Andrews v. McCraw, a case out of Texas against the state’s law banning carry by adults under 21 years old. In the final judgment, the state was prohibited from enforcing any law barring carrying of handguns (including constitutional carry) on the basis of being under 21 alone. So while felons and others are still excluded, anyone who is otherwise eligible for a permit or able to lawfully carry who is age 18 t0 20 years old has full adult rights.

But carry requires ownership, and there are other cases that haven’t gone well for the gun control crowd when attempting to bar people from purchasing. In May of last year, the federal government was barred from preventing handgun purchases by 18-20 year-olds. Another case in West Virginia came to the same conclusion in December. Appeals are possible, but it doesn’t look good for those laws in the long run.

While plaintiffs generally can’t get financial damages for rights denied, they can recover their legal fees. So a state that doesn’t comply in advance risks not only spending its own legal resources to fight the case, but can end up owing the plaintiffs money at the end.

According to the Firearms Policy Coalition, this isn’t the first time cases they’ve won have been cited in pending legislation to fix gun laws without litigation:

While there’s still a lot of work to be done, and some states are even considering restricting young adult carry despite certain defeat coming their way in the courts, it’s good to see that at least some politicians still want to do the right thing.

As we head into brutal legislative and electoral seasons in the United States, we need to keep reminding our public servants what their job really is.

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