New Law Banning Teens From Obtaining Firearms Ruled Unconstitutional

Big Legal Win Scored for Teller Leaders and Gun Control Critics

Rick Langenberg


Local leaders, including the Teller County commissioners,  hit a home run recently in their legal and political campaign against state gun control legislation, but ended up striking out on  another bill.


In the 2023 legislative session,  lawmakers approved a slew of gun safety measures, the majority of which have raised the ire of local residents and many officeholders. Teller County Commission  Chairman Erik Stone has predicted that a good portion of these measures will face significant legal challenges.


This prediction could be  holding true—at least when it comes to the rights of younger people obtaining guns.


A federal judge recently blocked a bill passed by Colorado lawmakers, which went into effect in early August, barring teens under 21 from purchasing a gun.


By taking this action, the state cannot enforce SB 169, which outlaws a federally licensed firearms dealer from selling guns to people under 21 years of age, along with barring anyone under 21 from purchasing a firearm.  That injunction will last until the case is resolved in court.


The commissioners, along with other elected leaders, say this new law clashes with the area’s rural lifestyle that sometimes requires a teen to use a gun to  protect their property and themselves and possibly some family members from dangerous wild animals and other threats. Moreover, they say the restriction represents a violation of Second Amendment rights, regarding gun ownership. The commissioners repeatedly hammered away at this message last spring, when this law was approved by state lawmakers.


In essence, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Philip A. Brimmer sided with several Colorado residents, who contended that their constitutional rights were being violated by the new law.


“The court agrees with the individual plaintiffs that the Second Amendment includes the right to acquire firearms and, therefore, protects the individual plaintiffs’ proposed conduct,” stated  Brimmer.


The judge, instead, wanted the state government to make restrictions that are more consistent with the nation’s historic tradition of firearms regulations. Moreover, Brimmer hinted that history is not on the side of the state government in this particular ban. Colorado “fails to point to any evidence during the founding era that a total prohibition on the sale of firearms to minors was consistent with the right to bear arms,” state Brimmer in his decision.

This ruling is somewhat consistent with cases regarding this issue in other states.


It marked a win for the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners group, which has heavily lobbied against any kind of gun control safety measures, along with many elected leaders in the area.


Not a time for celebration

But at the same time, the gun control movement moved forward in Colorado in another one of the Brimmer’s decision. He rejected a request for an injunction against another highly contested gun control law, House Bill 1219, filed by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners group, that would lengthen the waiting period for gun purchases.


And according to national reports, this waiting period could become part of a new executive order, being mulled by President Joe  Biden.


In his ruling, Brimmer maintained that the interested parties in this matter failed to demonstrate an “imminent injury from the law.”


The issue of gun control and an interpretation of Second Amendment rights is an issue that is quite divisive across the country.


But in Teller County, any attempt to limit these Second Amendment freedoms faces much scrutiny. This subject has generated a bombardment of comments on social media.