A Case for Carrying

Zach Watson, T.A.M.U.C.C. Student

Recently, in Andrews v. McCraw, a Texas federal district court case, a judge ruled that restrictions preventing 18-20 year olds from carrying handguns are unconstitutional. The ruling was appealed by Texas but later withdrawn. No action has occurred on the matter yet, but hopefully, Texas will soon follow the ruling and begin allowing 18-20 year olds to carry. Let’s discuss the importance of this ruling and what must further be done.


The carrying of a handgun in Texas has been legal in some form since 1997. Until 2021, the state required that anyone wishing to carry a handgun acquire a license. In 2021, Texas passed a provision joining over 24 other states in having constitutional carry, which permits anyone who can legally purchase a handgun to carry one without a license. This still requires all the normal restrictions, such as background checks, except the license. However, despite this move towards preserving a fundamental constitutional right, there is still one major flaw: the 21 year age requirement.


In Texas (and most other states), for almost all legal purposes you become an adult at 18. At 18 you can be drafted, called for jury duty, and vote. You can also purchase all other types of firearms, besides handguns. Many people under the age of 21, myself included, have used handguns under legal circumstances at ranges and become familiar with the safe operation thereof. The right to self defense is enshrined in Texas law regardless of age, and handguns are the most effective means of self defense. So why are those ages 18-20, like myself, restricted from such a vital right?


To continue, there is no historical precedent for arms restrictions for 18-20 year olds. The Constitution’s Second Amendment begins with the assumption of “A well regulated militia.” All militia related laws, including some signed by George Washington himself, such as the Second Militia Act of 1792, defined the militia as starting with the age of 18. So it is clear the founders of our nation agree that this right should not be arbitrarily restricted to 21 years of age.


We have a court ruling and that is a victory, but court rulings are vague and can be overturned by higher courts and other judges. So, we need to enshrine it into law. Luckily, the Texas Legislature is currently in session. It’s time to call upon our state representatives and senators to protect our rights and put this into law.


1.) Court Listener

2.) Texas Constitution and Statutes

3.) Texas State Law Library

4.) Constitution.org