Sep 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Court dismisses gun rights ruling for those under 21

Weapons on display at a gun shop in Manassas, Virginia,

Weapons on display at a gun shop in Manassas, Virginia. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency

A federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed a July ruling that said laws restricting gun sales to those under 21 were unconstitutional because the case's plaintiff turned 21.

Why it matters: The previous ruling could have had implications for efforts to restrict gun sales nationally in the future, the Washington Post reported. But the case is now moot. 

The big picture: The plaintiff, a woman named Natalia Marshall, brought the original lawsuit because she wasn't allowed to buy a handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer because she was under 21 years old, per the court documents.

  • Because she turned 21 before the court ruled, and was allowed to then buy a gun, her claims were rendered "moot," per the Washington Post.
  • Following her birthday, Marshall attempted to revive the case by adding new parties to the case and claiming she wished to facilitate gun sales to friends under 21. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to consider the amended case.
  • "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," the court documents note.
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