NSSF Files Amicus Brief for Challenge to Colorado’s Age-Based Gun Ban
February 26, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — NSSF, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that challenges Colorado’s age-based gun ban. Colorado’s Gov. Jared Polis signed a law last year that denies Second Amendment rights to adults under the age of 21, unconstitutionally denying their right to lawfully purchase any firearm.

NSSF argues in the amicus brief in Polis v. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners that Colorado’s law unconstitutionally denies the Second Amendment right to adult citizens between the ages of 18 to 20 to legally obtain a firearm at retail. Colorado’s law effectively institutes an age-based gun ban, denying the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms to adults fully-vested in the full spectrum of their civil liberties. No such restriction would ever be considered for any other right protected by the U.S. Constitution. Colorado’s law relegates the Second Amendment to a second-class right.

The U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer ruled the law was unconstitutional in August. Colorado’s Gov. Polis appealed that decision to the 10th Circuit.

“The Constitution and the courts have been absolutely clear that adults over 18 are free to exercise the full spectrum of all their rights, including their Second Amendment rights,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President & General Counsel. “Colorado’s insistence of denying the right of a law-abiding young adult to lawfully purchase a firearm, with a completed background check, is blatantly unconstitutional.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Bruen, held that to justify a law that infringes on Second Amendment rights the state must prove the law is consistent with U.S. history and tradition from the time when the nation was founded. Colorado cannot make this required showing because history is not on their side. Young adults were not denied the right to acquire and possess firearms, just the opposite. Young adult men were part of the militia and required to possess and bring their own arms.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of U.S. citizens over the age of 18 to lawfully obtain a firearm, including at retail with a completed background check. That right is further guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment that ensures no “state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Multiple courts have previously recognized the critical role that licensed firearm retailers fulfill in citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights. Colorado’s claim that the law does not dispossess adults under 21 from keeping arms ignores the fact that it forbids them from legally obtaining one at a licensed retailer.