Last April, one of the most conservative federal appeals courts in the country upheld a federal ban on handgun sales to persons under age 21 — rejecting the National Rifle Association’s claim that the judiciary should lower this age to 18. Two George W. Bush appointees joined the unanimous panel opinion, although several of the court’s most conservative members made a failed bid to reverse their decision. Now, however, twenty-two state attorneys general have taken up the NRA’s cause by filing a brief backing their case in the Supreme Court. Twenty of these twenty-two officials are Republicans.
Although the Roberts Court has been quite friendly to the NRA in the past, there is at least some hope for gun safety advocates who do not want to see America’s gun laws become even looser. The Fifth Circuit is a deeply conservative court. If the NRA could not win there, then they could face an uphill climb even in this very conservative Supreme Court.