PITTSBURGH, PA (October 16, 2020) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of a new federal Second Amendment lawsuit challenging the State of Pennsylvania’s laws that prevent young adults under age 21 from carrying a loaded firearm outside of the home for self-defense. The case, Lara v. Evanchick, can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.
The plaintiffs in the Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF)-supported lawsuit include three young adults, FPC, and Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). They are represented by Joshua Prince of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C. and Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy. The case is part of FPC’s strategic objective to restore the right to keep and bear arms for young adults, the future of our country, throughout the United States.
Pennsylvania’s statutory scheme, enforced by Defendant Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick, prohibits law-abiding young adults from carrying a firearm for self-defense and prevents them from acquiring a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LTCF) because of their age. Evanchick’s enforcement of the State’s laws generally prohibits law-abiding young adults from transporting firearms, in the absence of an LTCF. And, pursuant to State law, because Pennsylvania has been under a State of Emergency since January 10, 2018, all individuals must have a valid LTCF to carry or transport firearms on public streets and property, including for purposes of self-defense and other otherwise-lawful purposes, in violation of the right to keep and bear arms.
“Throughout American history, arms carrying was a right available to all peaceable citizens,” and sometimes, “it was even a duty,” the filed complaint explains. “Moreover, young adults between 18 and 21 were fully protected by the Second Amendment at the time of its ratification. Hundreds of statutes from the colonial and founding eras required 18-to-20-year-olds to keep and bear arms.” The complaint cites “The Second Amendment Rights of Young Adults,” scholarship authored by FPC Director of Research Joseph G.S. Greenlee and David B. Kopel, as well as “The Historical Justification for Prohibiting Dangerous Persons from Possessing Arms,” Greenlee’s recent authoritative article published in the Wyoming Law Review that traces the history of arms prohibitions back to the 7th Century A.D.
“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,” explained 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.”
“In outright defiance of the Second Amendment, the State of Pennsylvania and Governor Wolf have restricted the ability of law-abiding young adults to carry and transport arms,” said Joshua Prince, counsel for the plaintiffs. “This prohibition ignores the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Heller that the right to keep and bear arms includes the right to carry a firearm ‘upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose ... of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ Today, we seek to vindicate the rights of our clients and all young adults.”
“This case is about protecting the rights and liberties of future generations, fighting for America’s young adults, and restoring the Second Amendment for all individuals,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “The same young people who can be called to fight for our freedom overseas have the right to defend themselves against unjust force here in the United States. The rights of young people are incredibly important to us, and that is why FPC has made fighting for them a priority of all of our many efforts to advance individual liberty and freedom.”
“We’ve filed this action because the situation in Pennsylvania smacks of discrimination against young adults in the 18-20-year age group,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “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.”
FPC and SAF are also challenging the State of California’s ban on firearm purchases by young adults under the age of 21 in the lawsuit Jones v. Becerra. An order on a motion for preliminary injunction is pending in that case.
FPC is urgently seeking individual and FFL plaintiffs for a number of lawsuits that are being prepared to challenge laws and policies that infringe on fundamental rights, including (but not limited to):
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from purchasing and/or possessing so-called “assault weapons” (semi-automatic firearms with standard characteristics) and “high-capacity” magazines (standard magazines that hold more than 10 rounds)
- Laws and policies that prevent 18-20-year-old young adults (under age 21) from obtaining handguns from FFLs and carry loaded, operable arms in public for self-defense
- Laws and policies that prevent individual adults (over the age of 18) from carrying loaded handguns and other arms outside of their home
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring and/or possessing handguns and other arms without first acquiring a “purchase permit”
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring or possessing firearms due to a conviction for a non-violent crime, or mental health adjudication that did not involve an involuntary commitment
- Laws that prevent honorably discharged veterans from acquiring or possessing firearms because they have been classified as “a mental defective” due to the agency’s determination that they “lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs” because they need assistance managing VA benefits and have a fiduciary
If someone you know meets the criteria above, or if you would be interested in participating in litigation as a supporting FFL, please contact us:
- On the web at www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline
- By email at potentialplaintiffs[at]fpchq.org
- By phone at (855) 252-4510 (FPC Legal Action Hotline available 24/7/365)
If you would like to support FPC’s Lara case and many other pro-Second Amendment lawsuits, legal action, and research, please chip in $5, $10, $25, or whatever you can at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/donate or Join the FPC Grassroots Army at JoinFPC.org.
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.
Firearms Policy Foundation (firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges, and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms, through research, education, legal action, and other charitable programs.