Law-abiding citizens over the age of 18 can buy long guns in most states. Federal law restricts handguns–a fact that hasn’t stopped teenagers from getting them in our inner cities–but they can buy rifles. We generally don’t have a huge issue with that, either, recent events notwithstanding.
While there are exceptions, as with everything, the vast majority of 18- to 20-year-old gun owners are responsible folks. After all, they’re adults. They should be treated as such. That includes the full gamut of rights we afford all law-abiding adults in this country.
Yet a letter to the editor seeks to make the case that the majority should be disarmed due to the actions of the minority.
To the editor: I am appalled that a federal appellate Judge, a Trump appointee, would annul a law in California prohibiting the sale of semiautomatic rifles to individuals under 21 years old. Such rifles were used in the mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
The killer at Sandy Hook was 20, and in the high school student killings, the suspect was 19 years old.
The Sandy Hook killer’s age is irrelevant. After all, he murdered his mother–who was well above the age of 21–in order to obtain the rifle he used to carry out that particular atrocity.
Does anyone really and truly believe an age restriction on who could buy a firearm would have stopped him?
The judge’s reference to the heroic efforts of young Americans during the Revolutionary War is contrived and meaningless. It is not applicable to our military needs today.
The judge also fails to understand that the firearms used in the Revolutionary War were single-shot muskets, which took most soldiers about 20 seconds to load. In contrast, a young person can shoot more than one round per second using an AR-15.
Look, it’s true. The AR-15 fires much faster than a musket, but again, so what? There’s nothing in the Second Amendment that could even be taken to suggest that the Founding Fathers intended to restrict the definition of “arms” to just muskets?
Especially since many in the Revolution used rifles. But then again, our astute letter writer doesn’t actually know enough about firearms to understand the difference, yet we should still listen to them on a topic they’re clearly uneducated on.
Oh, but that history is irrelevant because it’s not “applicable to our military needs today.”
OK, since they brought it up, let me ask what age someone can enlist in the military without parental permission? That would be 18. You know, adults.
Sounds to me like if we’re going to trust 18- to 20-year-olds with tanks, artillery, hand grenades, and actual machine guns, we can trust them with a hunting rifle.
How many first-graders could have been saved at Sandy Hook if the shooter had a musket instead of an AR-15-style assault rifle? How many high schoolers in Florida would be alive if the shooter also wasn’t using an AR-15-style weapon?
How many more would have been killed if these maniacs had decided that since they couldn’t get something faster than a musket, they’d just use a bomb instead?
“What if” games are tricky things and the letter writer sucks at them.
The judge’s misuse of history overlooked the advances in rifle technology and how lethal such guns have become the weapons of choice for mass murderers.
The judges’–there was more than one on that panel, after all–accurate understanding of history and the Constitution isn’t about overlooking jack squat. Our Founding Fathers enshrined the right to keep and bear arms for a reason. Concerns about technology don’t negate that any more than the rise of the internet negated the right to a free press.
And that’s the best the letter writer could do.
Now, I don’t expect a solid grasp of the issue from letters to the editor. What I do expect is what I got here, the typical misunderstandings and misrepresentations of reality that are common among the gun control crowd. These are adults who they’re trying to disarm, not children who cannot be trusted.
However, I also see this kind of argument becoming far more common in the wake of the Buffalo shooting, so you might as well dig in for it.