RALEIGH — At the end of September, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein joined 20 other Democratic attorneys general in defense of a Pennsylvania law that would grant conceal carry licenses only to persons 21 years or older.
The other states were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia,
According to a press statement, Stein filed a “friend-of-the-court brief arguing that states have the right to enact reasonable, age-based gun protections to keep people safe and prevent gun violence.” The brief was filed on Sept. 29.
“North Carolinians have become too familiar with school and college shootings,” Stein said in a news release. “We must protect our kids and our communities from rising gun violence and keep guns out of the wrong hands. I’m filing this brief to ensure that North Carolina and other states can continue to take commonsense steps to protect the public.”
The case in question, Lara v. Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, is working its way through the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The case was brought against Col. Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition.
“We’ve filed this action because the situation in Pennsylvania smacks of discrimination against young adults in the 18-20-year age group,” SAF founder and executive vice president Alan M. Gottlieb said in a statement. “Young adults can join the military, where they might be assigned to carry firearms all over the world. They can get married, start businesses, enter into contracts and yet they are not considered mature enough to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. That’s nonsense.”
“The text of the Second Amendment makes clear that the right to bear arms ‘shall not be infringed,’ and nothing in America’s history or tradition supports Pennsylvania’s laws banning carry by young adults,” wrote Adam Kraut, FPC’s director of legal strategy and co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “Pennsylvania’s statutory scheme unconstitutionally and impermissibly denies young adults their fundamental, individual right to bear arms outside the home. Through this case, we seek to vindicate our clients’ rights and restore individual liberty for millions of young adults.”
Stein’s release says that “North Carolina has a similar law.” North Carolina concealed-carry permits are also restricted 21 years and older.
“That Attorney General Josh Stein would again argue for curtailing civil liberties is no surprise,” Grassroots North Carolina President Paul Valone told North State Journal in an email.
Grassroots North Carolina is the state’s largest firearms advocacy and education group.
“If he was truly interested in age-based “safety” measures, he would advocate raising the minimum age for a driver’s license to twenty-one, since vehicle deaths among teens vastly outnumber gun-related deaths,” Valone said. “He does not because his goal is not safety, but rather increased control over citizens.”