Virginia judge rules new background check law ‘unconstitutional’ for adults under 21

Virginia Politics

Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge Patrick Yeatts largely upheld the law, ruling that it was "facially constitutional"

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia judge granted an injunction Tuesday blocking the state’s new law requiring background checks on all gun sales from being applied to adults under the age of 21.

Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge Patrick Yeatts largely upheld the law, ruling that it was “facially constitutional” and it does not violate the state’s constitution.

However, Yeatts did find that the law was unconstitutional as applied to 18-20 years olds who seek to buy a firearm as federal law prohibits federally licensed firearm dealers from selling guns to anyone under the age of 21 or run a background check on a person making a gun purchase.

RELATED: Lawsuit seeks to block Virginia’s gun background checks law

“Although the Act is facially constitutional,” Yeatts wrote in his opinion, “the Commonwealth is currently unprepared to administer it in a way that does not infringe on the right of adults under 21 to purchase a handgun, the ‘quintessential self-defense weapon.'”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said that he intends to appeal the judge’s decision.

“Universal background check systems only work if they are truly universal, and we believe this potentially dangerous judicially created loophole is without basis in the law,” Herring said in a statement. “So while the judge agreed with nearly all of our arguments and largely upheld the law, we believe that this injunction, though limited and narrow, is worthy of higher review and I intend to appeal it as soon as possible.”

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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