AG Nessel supports federal firearm age regulation


FILE – In this Jan. 14, 2021 file photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Attorney General, Dana Nessel, right, speaks in Lansing, Nessel has opened an investigation after a Republican-led state legislative panel said people are making baseless allegations about 2020 presidential election results in a northern Michigan county to raise money or publicity for their own ends.(Michigan Office of the Attorney General via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and 18 other attorneys general are in support of laws restricting the minimum age that one is able to purchase a handgun.

“Preventing people under the age of 21 from legally obtaining firearms is common sense regulation,” Nessel said. “If the legal age for drinking is 21, so should it be for possessing weapons – plain and simple.” 

According to a release from the Attorney General, the coalition filed the brief in Hirschfeld v. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives, a lawsuit challenging federal statutes and regulations that bar 18-to-20-year-olds from purchasing handguns from federally licensed dealers. The plaintiffs argue that such restrictions violate the Second Amendment, and a three-judge panel agreed, holding that the federal laws are unconstitutional. The federal government is now asking the full court to rehear the case. 

The coalition argues that the age restrictions are in place for the government’s interest in public safety.

The coalition would like for the case to be reheard because:

  • The decision could raise questions about the constitutionality of state laws nationwide that protect public safety by limiting young people from accessing firearms. States have long exercised their governmental prerogative to implement measures that regulate the sale and use of firearms for individuals under the age of 21. The coalition argues that the panel decision will raise needless questions about the constitutionality of these laws.
  • The decision endangers public safety by eliminating an safeguard against gun violence. The coalition argues that the federal restrictions at issue in this case serve an important public safety purpose, and if the decision remains in place, it will remove a common sense tool to protect against increased gun violence. 

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