Lubbock judge shoots down gun rights lawsuit

Published: Jan. 19, 2012 at 8:33 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2014 at 1:49 AM CST
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District Judge Sam R. Cummings
District Judge Sam R. Cummings

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - For the second time in roughly four months, a Lubbock federal judge has ruled against the NRA in two gun rights lawsuits.

The ruling made on Thursday upholds the State of Texas law that puts certain restrictions on persons between the ages of 18 and 20.

The law does not allow those under the age of 21 to have a concealed handgun license or CHL. The NRA sued the state back in 2009, saying the law is discriminatory and a violation of Second Amendment rights.

At the same time, the NRA sued federal agencies, saying restrictions on the purchase of guns by those under the age of 21 were also discriminatory. The lawsuit against federal agencies was thrown out in late September and that case is currently on appeal.

There is no word yet on whether the NRA will also appeal this latest ruling.

In part, the judge said both sides were arguing over the issue of age, but U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings said Thursday in his ruling, "This approach puts the cart before the horse."

"Because the Court is of the opinion that the Second Amendment does not confer a right that extends beyond the home," Cummings said, "it need not reach the question regarding the age of investiture of such a right."

But the judge did not ignore the issue of age. Cummings wrote, "Texas has identified a legitimate state interest - public safety - and passed legislation that is rationally related to addressing that issue."

The two rulings together mean that the state and federal governments can put restrictions on the gun rights of people who have not reached the age of 21.

On Thursday, we went to a local gun shop and to Texas Tech to ask people of all ages what they thought about 18-20 year olds not being able to get their conceal and carry license.
J.D. Clay and Colin Moore both work at Sharpshooter's Gun Shop, but there's one big difference between the two.
Moore is 18, so he can't apply for his concealed handgun license. Clay can. 
"I remember back before I turned 21 to get my CHL, I was frustrated because I wanted to buy a handgun," Clay recalled.
They both work closely with firearms and say they have concerns about both arguments.
"It's a little unfair, I believe, especially for people that have been around them a long enough amount of time," Moore said.
"An 18 and a 21-year-old, the maturity levels are completely different," Clay told us.
But there are strict requirements involved with getting a CHL, even if you are over 21.
"To get your CHL, you have to go through a 10 hour course mandated by the state," Clay said.
Moore suggests looking at 18-20 year olds on a case by case basis and giving them a more rigorous test
"I believe they should be given the chance to pass a test or a course to be able to carry," Moore said.
So what about people who aren't around guns every day? We went to Texas Tech to find out.
"If you know how to use it, you should be allowed to have a gun," one student said.
"I think at age 20 people are mature enough to know what's right and wrong and what's appropriate and what's not," said another.
Some students have no interest in applying for such a license.
"I don't have any business having a concealed gun, shooting a gun, carrying a gun," said Corey Vaughn.
Brandon Ostrom is in the military, so by law he could get his CHL when he was 18.
"If you're mature enough to own a handgun, than you should be mature enough to carry it around," Ostrom said.
Ivan Hristov said he sees both sides.
"In a way when you have it, you can protect yourself, defend yourself, but if everyone has it maybe the crime will be increase," he said.
We reached out to the NRA for a comment, but hadn't heard back as of Thursday night.
It's unclear whether they'll appeal this decision.

Related Stories:

Sept 29, 2011: NRA loses gun battle in Lubbock federal court

Feb 13 2011: Lubbock teen dropped from NRA lawsuit, others take his place

Dec 7, 2010: Lubbock teen drops some but not all Texas officials from gun lawsuit

Sep 10, 2010: TTU Professor: Student has strong case against federal handgun ban

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