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Lara v. Comm’r Pa. State Police, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 1159 (3d Cir. January 18, 2024) (Jordan, C.J.)

Through the combined operation of three statutes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania effectively bans 18-to-20-year-olds from carrying firearms outside their homes during a state of emergency. Madison Lara, Sophia Knepley, and Logan Miller, who were in that age range when they filed this suit, want to carry firearms outside their homes for lawful purposes, including self-defense. They, along with two gun rights organizations, sued the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police (the “Commissioner”) to stop enforcement of the statutes, but the District Court ruled against them. They now appeal the District Court’s order dismissing their case and denying them preliminary injunctive relief. They assert that the Commonwealth’s statutory scheme violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

In response, the Commissioner contends that the Appellants are not among “the people” to whom the Second Amendment applies, and that the Nation’s history and tradition of firearm regulation support the statutory status quo. We disagree. The words “the people” in the Second Amendment presumptively encompass all adult Americans, including 18-to-20-year-olds, and we are aware of no founding-era law that supports disarming people in that age group. Accordingly, we will reverse and remand.