Suit seeks right for young adults to buy handguns

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville wants to make it legal for people between 18 and 21 to buy handguns and ammunition from federal firearms licensed dealers, claiming the restriction violates the Second and Fifth amendments.

The suit was filed on behalf of 20-year-old University of Virginia student Tanner Hirschfeld and 18-year-old Albemarle County resident Natalia Marshall. Both tried to purchase handguns from Charlottesville-area handgun dealers and were denied the purchase because of their ages.

The suit names the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the head of that agency, Thomas E. Brandon; and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Elliott Harding, says young adults under 21 are already able to buy rifles and shotguns. The suit, he says, is trying to close a loophole, since people that age are also already allowed to buy handguns and ammunition in private transactions without a background check.

He says the plaintiffs want young adults to have the same rights as everyone else.

"They're tired of seeing the Second Amendment treated like a second-class right, and they're tired of seeing young adults treated as second-class citizens," Harding said.

The suit asks the court to overturn the law banning the purchases.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the suit.

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