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In 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right of “law-abiding, responsible citizens” to keep and bear arms to defend their home. The Court’s decision in Heller, however, left novel questions about the scope of the right unanswered, including at what age it vests. Federal law prohibits federally-licensed dealers from selling handguns to persons under twenty-one, but it permits persons over eighteen to possess and use handguns and acquire them through private sales. In 2018, in response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida raised its minimum purchase age for all firearms to twenty-one. The National Rifle Association immediately challenged the law in federal court, claiming that it violated the Second Amendment rights of young adults aged eighteen to twenty. In 2021, in National Rifle Ass’n v. Swearingen, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida held that the law is consistent with the Second Amendment. This Note discusses how federal and state statutory regimes interact with the Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence to govern young adults’ access to firearms. It examines arguments concerning the constitutionality of Florida’s minimum purchase-age provision and contends that the measure is valid because it is analogous to the “presumptively lawful” restrictions identified in Heller and because it survives intermediate scrutiny.


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7 Sep 2022
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  • Subject
    • Constitutional Law

    • Courts

    • Second Amendment

    • State and Local Government Law

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Law Review

  • Volume
    • 63

  • Issue
    • 4

  • Pagination
    • 1421

  • Date submitted

    7 September 2022