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Supreme Court Rejects NRA's Gun-Law Appeals

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a pair of NRA appeals challenging federal and state gun laws, leaving those laws more or less intact.

The High Court on Monday declined to hear two NRA cases concerning the ability to sell guns to those under 21, Reuters reports. It also declined to hear a third firearms-related case, brought by some District of Columbia residents, about consumers' ability to challenge regulations on gun sales.

In all three cases, the lower courts' rulings now stand.

Guns and 18- to 20-Year-Olds

Two of the cases appealed to the Supreme Court dealt with the sale and carrying of firearms for those between the ages of 18 and 21.

The case entitled NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms examined whether the federal ban on selling guns to those under 21 was constitutional. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this law was a constitutional use of Congress' power in a "calibrated" approach which prevented those under 21 from purchasing guns or ammo. With the Supreme Court refusing to hear the NRA's appeal, this federal sale ban stands.

The second case, NRA v. McGraw, involved a Texas law preventing those under 21 from receiving a concealed carry permit from the state. Texans are not permitted to carry guns openly in public, and need to apply for a concealed handgun permit in order to do so. The 5th Circuit upheld this law as well, finding that restricting permits by age didn't unconstitutionally burden the right to bear arms.

By declining to hear these cases, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ability of state and federal laws to regulate those under 21 from purchasing and carrying weapons.

Challenging Gun Laws

The third case involved whether consumers have a legal right to challenge state or federal gun sale regulations. In Lane v. Holder, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Washington, D.C., residents interested in buying guns outside the District couldn't challenge laws that regulated interstate transfer of guns. Basically, the 4th Circuit determined that gun buyers weren't actually regulated by the law, only gun dealers.

A technical point, but it's one that the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to revisit when it declined to hear Lane.

Gun rights advocates may be disappointed in the High Court's refusal to hear these three cases -- any one of which may have expanded gun rights.

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