A US federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that California's ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons to adults under the age of 21 is in violation of the country's constitution.
In recent years, California has passed several laws tightening the regulation of firearms, which were linked to more than 45,000 deaths nationwide in 2020, according to federal data.
The new law that went into effect on July 1, 2021 added a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons, which is already prohibited for those under 21 years old from purchasing handguns in California.
The case has been working its way through the courts after being challenged by several individuals and groups lobbying for gun ownership rights.
By a two-to-one vote, judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law was in violation of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which states that Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army, wrote Judge Ryan Nelson, referring to America's war for independence almost 250 years ago.
Nelson, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump, said today that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.
The appellate's decision does not affect California's ban on the sale of handguns to those under 21, which is also the legal age at which individuals can purchase alcohol throughout the United States.
There were approximately 393 million firearms in civilian possession in the United States as of 2017, or more than one per person, according to Small Arms Survey.
Despite recurring mass-casualty shootings and a nationwide wave of gun violence, several initiatives to reform gun regulations have failed in the US Congress, leaving states and local councils to enact their own restrictions.