When someone turns 18, they get the bulk of the rights we afford to adults. They can sign contracts, enlist in the military, and yes, purchase a firearm.
There are still problems. There’s a drinking age still to come and they can’t buy handguns until that same age, but they can more or less function as adults in our modern society, including buying the means to protect themselves from something like a home invasion.
However, the Washington Post has an op-ed that’s less than thrilled with that idea.
There are poorly timed judicial rulings — and then there is the ruling last week by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. It struck down California’s ban on semiautomatic rifle sales to anyone under 21, holding that it violates the Second Amendment.
“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” Judge Ryan D. Nelson opined for the majority, composed of himself and another appointee of President Donald Trump, Judge Kenneth Lee. “Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.”
That was May 11. Three days later, an 18-year-old white supremacist allegedly fatally shot 10 people and injured three in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, using a Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic weapon, which police say he purchased legally in New York state.
This apparent terrorist act provides a ghastly counterpoint to Nelson’s lofty musings about musket-toting young patriots. This is the 21st century: Must we live with a constitutional doctrine that requires the states to let youths in their late teens buy warlike weaponry?
And yesterday, millions of people aged 18 to 20 did absolutely nothing wrong. Why are people so deadset to focus on the outlier?
Regardless, what this op-ed essentially tries to argue is that because of a few people, we should restrict pretty much everyone in an age group from owning any kind of firearm.
Yes, the shooter in Buffalo was 18, which doesn’t make for great timing following the 9th Circuit’s decision, but so what? It’s not like he was armed because of that ruling. He was in New York, one of the most gun-controlled states in the nation, and purchased an AR-15 in a state that had an assault weapon ban on the books.
New York had done everything else people expect after a mass shooting, and how did that work out?
Oh, yeah. It didn’t.
Additionally, let’s look at the fact that most mass shooters are over 21 or they steal their guns from parents. Using this same logic, how long before it’s argued that no one should be able to buy firearms?
“Oh, this is just about weapons of war.”
Bullsnot. First, the AR-15 is no such thing. It’s not fielded by any military and is functionally no different than dozens of models of hunting rifles.
Second, my Glock 19–a very common handgun that a lot of people own–actually is used by militaries and law enforcement agencies all over the world. If anything is a “weapon of war,” it’s going to be my pistol, not my AR-15.
I point this out because we know damn good and well that someone will eventually get around to using that argument to ban things like semi-automatic handguns, especially since guns are used more often in mass shootings than rifles.
So no, I’m not interested in telling legal adults who can be handed literal machine guns in service of this nation that I won’t trust them with a glorified hunting rifle simply because of a few bad actors and because some twit at the Washington Post doesn’t think too highly of them.