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Second Amendment Opinion in the Fourth Circuit: Hirschfeld v. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco & Explosives

July 2021 Opinion regarding the Second Amendment from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Will the Supreme Court take the case?

On July 13, 2021, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a new Opinion regarding the Second Amendment. Written by Judge Julius Richardson, who was joined by Judge Agee, the Opinion dealt with the right of an 18 year old to purchase handguns from a licensed firearms dealer. The case citation is Hirschfeld v. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco & Explosives, No. 19-2250, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 20705 (4th Cir. July 13, 2021). In the Opinion, the Court first found “that 18-year-olds possess Second Amendment rights.” Hirschfeld v. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco & Explosives, No. 19-2250, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 20705, at *2 (4th Cir. July 13, 2021). The Court also held “that the challenged federal laws and regulations are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.” Id at *3.

The facts of the case involve: “Nineteen-year-old Natalia Marshall had good reason to seek protection. She had been forced to obtain a protective order against her abusive ex-boyfriend who, since the issuance of the order, had been arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm and controlled substances. He was released on bail but never came to court, leading to the issuance of a capias for his arrest. Along with the threat from her ex-boyfriend, Marshall works as an equestrian trainer, often finding herself in remote rural areas where she interacts with unfamiliar people. Having grown up training with guns, she believes that a handgun’s ease of carrying, training, and use makes it the most effective tool for her protection from these and other risks. But because Marshall was 18 when she tried to buy a handgun, a federal law prevented her from buying from a licensed dealer who would perform a background check to verify that she was not a felon or other prohibited person. She preferred using a licensed dealer because they tend to have a wider supply, a good reputation, and a guarantee that the guns have not been used, stolen, or tampered with. She is now 19 and remains unable to buy a handgun from a federally licensed dealer for self-defense.” Id at *3-4.

Some language from the Opinion that may be of interest to Court watchers is the phrase “we refuse to relegate either the Second Amendment or 18- to 20-year-olds to a second-class status.” Id at *3. The opinion was more than 80 pages long. The dissent, written by Judge Wynn, was over 50 pages.

This case may be reviewed en banc by the entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and upheld or it may be overturned by a full panel. The holding may be overruled by another Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals case in the future as well. The holding may also be upheld or overturned by future Supreme Court rulings in this case or another case. This post should not be relied upon as legal advice for you or your specific situation.

Saluda Law handles Second Amendment cases in the context of criminal law matters. If you are looking to assert a Second Amendment defense, contact Saluda Law. Let an Attorney help you determine whether a Second Amendment claim is the right defense for your criminal case.

Content last updated on July 17, 2021. Any information posted about the firm’s cases is intended only to be representative of the firm’s practice. These examples are not intended to, and cannot be relied upon, to predict the results in any other case. Information or interaction on this page should not be construed as establishing a client-attorney relationship or as legal advice. For advice about your specific situation, please contact Saluda Law, LLC. The Statements contained within this page have been reviewed and approved by Mr. VanSyckel.

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