The Second Amendment Idiocy of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
RICHMOND: This summer the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a Virginia law passed in 1968 that prevented firearm dealers from selling handguns to anyone under the age of 21. The court saying the law was unconstitutional. The court ruled that it was a Second Amendment violation to NOT allow those over 18 to legally purchase handguns.
Two of the three judges who ruled that it should be constitutional for 18-year-olds to buy handguns were Trump and Bush 43 appointees. The dissenter was, of course, an Obama appointee.
“Virginia Code §18.2-308.7 makes it a crime for anyone under 18 years old to “knowingly and intentionally possess or transport a handgun or assault firearm anywhere in the Commonwealth.” A minor who violates this law commits a Class 1 misdemeanor.” – Google
So after liberal outcries, which were swift and loud, weeks after overturning the 1968 ruling, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed itself “due to a technicality.”
A technicality that is truly asinine.
One of the co-plaintiffs, Natalia Marshall, was 18 when the lawsuit was filed in 2018. She is now 21. Tanner Hirschfeld was 20 at the time so he turned 21 the year after the suit was filed. Their lawsuit asked the Western District Court of Virginia to declare the Virginia gun act unconstitutional. They sought to stop handgun and ammunition age restrictions.
Hirschfeld and Marshall’s lawsuit contended they were both turned away by local firearms dealers when they applied to purchase handguns. Marshall had attempted to purchase a pistol for personal protection. In her pleading, she attested she worked in a remote area and had been in an abusive relationship where she had filed for an order of protection.
This past July, the law was deemed unconstitutional on a 2-1 vote by a panel from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In their latest ruling, the three-member panel of the court said,
“After the opinion issued but before the mandate, Marshall turned 21. And that made her claims moot,” wrote Judge Julius Richardson. “Despite efforts to add parties and reframe her claimed injuries, it is too late to revive this case. So it must be dismissed as moot.”
Both Hirschfeld and Marshall were students at the University of Virginia at the time the lawsuit was filed. But as both Plaintiffs are now 21, the court says is now moot. An interesting way to not have to deal with a controversial subject. Just wait until the Plaintiff gets older, or dies, and say it no longer matters.
Judge Richardson wrote that Marshall’s new claim that she wishes to sell handguns to friends under 21 would be considered a private sale not typically affected by the laws and regulations she challenged originally. He held she was attempting to “try to breathe new life into her claims after they became moot”.
Richardson also wrote that the attempt to add new parties, Corey Fraser, a 19-year old, and Battlefield Firearms, a federally licensed firearms dealer, on July 24, the day before Marshall turned 21, did not fall within the district court’s jurisdiction to grant.
Attorney Elliott Harding, who represented Marshall and Hirschfeld, said his clients were disappointed that the system “continues to deny their equal access to fundamental liberties simply because of their youth.”
“Ms. Marshall initiated her suit less than two months after turning eighteen, yet her case couldn’t make it to en banc review before she turned twenty-one when mootness became an issue. Unfortunately, the government will evade the repercussions of the court’s thorough ruling simply because the nature of the laws at issue allows them to escape final review through our lengthy litigation process.”
Hirschfeld and Marshall are considering all of their legal options for the future and will decide what course of action to pursue in the future.
Harding said Fraser and Battlefield Firearms have a pending appeal to review whether the district court erred when it denied their timely motion to intervene before Marshall’s 21st birthday after it held that it lacked jurisdiction to do so while the case was on appeal.
“We’re hopeful the 4th Circuit will reverse that decision by reaffirming its prior holdings that district courts maintain jurisdiction to grant intervention when such action would aid an appeal, as it would in this case,” Harding said. “Regardless of how these immediate issues may be resolved, these laws will continue to be challenged one way or another until liberty is ultimately restored.”
After the 4th Circuit Courts reversal on Wednesday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring claimed credit for successfully defending the “longstanding federal gun violence measure.” Herring, with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, filed a joint amicus brief in August that argued the three-judge panel got the decision wrong in July. Both are, of course, Democrats.
“From the outset, we believed that the panel had gotten this one wrong, and I’m glad that the Fourth Circuit has now vacated that decision upon finding the case is moot,” Herring said in a press release. “Handguns are too often the weapon of choice for dangerous individuals who may want to harm themselves, an intimate partner, or even commit a crime. With this decision, this constitutional, longstanding gun safety law that has kept Virginians and our communities safe for decades will remain on the books.”
U.S. Court of Appeals Judges for the Fourth Circuit (contact information found here)
Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory – Clinton
Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III – Reagan
Judge Paul V. Niemeyer – Bush
Judge Diana Gribbon Motz – Clinton
Judge Robert B. King – Clinton
Judge G. Steven Agee – Bush
Judge James Andrew Wynn – Obama
Judge Albert Diaz – Obama
Judge Henry F. Floyd – Obama
Judge Stephanie D. Thacker – Obama
Judge Pamela A. Harris – Obama
Judge Julius N. Richardson – Trump
Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr. – Trump
Judge Allison Jones Rushing – Trump
Senior Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. – Clinton
Senior Judge Dennis W. Shedd – Bush
Senior Judge Barbara Milano Keenan – Obama
So what is likely to happen next?
One might well speculate Biden’s ATF will now go the en banc review route. Activist judges outweigh the non-activists in the full court. In other words, Clinton and Obama’s appointees fill the majority of seats on the Fourth Circuit. In law, an en banc session is a court session where a case is heard before all the judges of the court and not just a three-judge panel as the last two decisions.
This is assuming the 4th Circuit Court decides to hear the case en banc at all. However, if they do and they refuse to overturn this latest ruling, the next step would be to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. Each Supreme Court Justice oversees one or more of the Circuit Courts. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presides over the Fourth Circuit – Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), which was named the main defendant in this case, could request the Fourth Circuit hear the case en banc. The majority of the judges on the Fourth Circuit are Democrats’ appointments.
Of interest is that in 2012 the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling was to uphold the ban on sales of guns to those under 21 in a similar case.
The Second Amendment is Clear
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
America, since the Revolutionary War (1775 -1783) to the more recent conflicts in the Middle East, including Afghanistan, all American military has enlisted men as young as 17, if not younger. Men and women, younger than 17 have been fighting for America and her freedom since our earliest days.
To most Americans, it has never seemed right to allow 18 to 20-year-olds to handle firearms in the military but not as private citizens.
It is hypocritical and two-faced. It smacks of using somebody for your own selfish ends. If you look at those 20 years old and younger engaging in gun-related homicides going up every year in places like Chicago, you got to be smart enough to understand two things:
1. If bad youth want to get a firearm to commit a crime, no court ruling is going to stop them.
2. If good youth want to get a firearm for self-defense, no court should stop them.
However, progressive liberal Democrats become part of the problem when they are not smarter than the problem. And they often prove they are not. They only fight against those who would serve our rights in our Constitution.
Courts need to be smarter and recognize the problem is not handguns.
The problem is with those committing crimes with guns. So many times the demographics have proven these young shooters are from inner-city, father-less homes, and are minorities. So many times they are looking for a sense of a family belonging by membership in street gangs.
Democrats would do well to address these inner-city problems which exist mostly in their blue-held cities rather than to take aim at two good white college kids simply seeking to protect themselves in these sketchy times we are all living.
About the author:
Mark Schwendau is a conservative Christian patriot and retired technology professor (CAD-CAM and web development). He prides himself on his critical thinking ability. Schwendau has had a long sideline of newspaper editorial writing where he used the byline, “bringing little known facts to people who want to know the truth.”
Mark is”on alternative free speech social media platforms after lifetime bans from Facebook and Twitter and shadow bans from Instagram and Fox News commenting.
His website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech
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