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Texas judge rules that all adults, including 18-year-olds, have the right to open-carry a handgun

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A Texas judge has struck down a recent state law that prohibits adult civilians between the ages of 18 and 20 from carrying a handgun, claiming that such a law is unconstitutional.

On Thursday, district court Judge Mark Pittman ruled that the law violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Pittman also examined history and determined that prohibiting adults, though young, from carrying handguns openly had no historical precedent.

"The undisputed historical evidence establishes that 18-to-20-year-olds were understood to be a part of the militia in the Founding Era," Pittman wrote in the opinion.

The lawsuit against the state ban was first filed last November by two unnamed adults between the ages of 18 and 20, as well as the Firearms Policy Coalition, a self-described "next generation" gun-rights advocacy group that engages in "litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs" to achieve its aims.

This decision in Texas is believed to be the first major Second Amendment judicial ruling since the Supreme Court of the United States struck down stringent gun restriction laws in New York state in June. In his opinion on behalf of the 6-3 majority, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, "We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need," thus gesturing to a broad understanding of the Second Amendment.

Pittman repeatedly cited the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen SCOTUS decision in his ruling to end the ban on open carry of handguns for adults 18 to 20.

That case marks the second time in less than a year that a ruling from Pittman has made national headlines. Back in November, Pittman determined that United Airlines had not violated the religious or civil rights of its employees by placing on unpaid leave those employees who refused to comply with the vaccine mandate. Some employees in the Dallas/Fort Worth area had sued the airline, claiming that the monetary loss from the unpaid leave caused them "imminent, irreparable harm." Pittman disagreed.

"United exempted plaintiffs from the mandate; plaintiffs are not required to violate their religious beliefs,” Pittman said in the opinion. “United’s employees claimed they faced an impossible choice: get the vaccine or endure unpaid leave. But they have chosen the latter. Their dispute thus centers on United’s response to their choice."

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has since overturned that decision.

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