Debate Magazine

Texas Sanity in Limiting Concealed Carry

Posted on the 26 January 2012 by Mikeb302000
Texas is not where I usually expect to find sanity and reasonable restraint in gun laws, but perhaps this is better in this case because it is a ruling by a federal judge who operates in a larger national context.
From Protect Minnesota and the

Judge dismisses suit challenging Texas' concealed carry law

A federal judge in Lubbock on Thursday threw out the National Rifle Association's move to overturn a Texas law prohibiting 18- to 20-year-olds from carrying concealed handguns.
In dismissing the case that had drawn national interest, U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings ruled that "Texas has identified a legitimate state interest — public safety — and passed legislation that is rationally related to addressing that issue."
Under current law, Texans must be 21 or older to get a concealed-handgun permit. Members or veterans of the armed forces who are younger than 21 can also be licensed.
The ruling was seen as a win for the state, gun control advocates and university groups — including two student-government groups at the University of Texas at Austin — who had argued that Texans younger than 21 should not be licensed to carry handguns.
The case was filed by three Texans between 18 and 21 — Rebekah Jennings , Brennan Harmon and Andrew Payne — and the National Rifle Association, which argued that the Texas handgun licensing law was discriminatory and unconstitutional.
In his decision, Cummings ruled that the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms — "does not confer a right that extends beyond the home." He noted that under current law, Texans can possess guns in their homes without a state license.
Cummings noted in his ruling that a 2008 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court underscored that the Second Amendment right to bear arms "was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
Texas' licensing law "does not burden the fundamental right to keep and bear arms," Cummings wrote.
The opinion suggests that the age issue raised in the case should be settled at the state Capitol — "either to petition the Texas Legislature for a change in state law or, on a national level, to rally for a constitutional amendment."
Last September, Cummings dismissed a lawsuit filed by the NRA challenging the constitutionality of a federal law prohibiting the sale of handguns to people younger than 21.
Representatives for the NRA and several Texas groups that had intervened in the case in support of the state law — Mothers Against Teen Violence and Students for Gun-Free Schools in Texas — could not immediately be reached for comment.
Daniel Vice, a senior attorney at the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence's Legal Action Project in Washington, hailed the decision.
"We are pleased the court rejected the NRA's extreme claim that the Second Amendment means that we must allow armed teens on our streets," Vice said. The Brady Center, an intervenor in the lawsuit, had cited studies concluding that 18- to 20-year-olds often lack the same ability as adults to "govern impulsivity, judgment, planning for the future, and foresight of consequences." They are also within the age range of offenders with the highest rates of homicide and criminal gun possession, according to court filings.
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