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State in the Interest of J.M.
Louisiana Supreme Court
144 So. 3d 853 (2014)
The Louisiana Constitution provided that each citizen had the right to keep and bear arms, subject to the government’s ability to pass laws that prohibit concealed carry. The article was later amended to provide that any law regulating firearms would be subject to strict scrutiny—i.e., the most stringent standard of review for constitutionality. JM (defendant), a minor, was prosecuted in juvenile court for violation of two state laws—one prohibiting concealed carry of handguns, the other prohibiting the possession of handguns by anyone under the age of 16. The latter statute carved out seven exceptions under which a juvenile could carry a gun, including attendance of firearms-safety courses or practice sessions at a gun range. Counsel for JM argued that neither of the statutes would survive a strict-scrutiny challenge, thus making them unconstitutional. The juvenile court ruled that the statute regulating handgun possession by people under 16 mainly survived strict scrutiny, though a few of its exceptions were unnecessary. The court further ruled that the statute prohibiting concealed carry was unconstitutional insofar as juvenile defendants were concerned because the other statute already contained the applicable restrictions. The state (plaintiff) appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Clark, J.)
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