Why age limits on some products don't justify them on guns

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

I remember being a 19-year-old in the Navy. I was considered old enough to enlist and put my life on the line for my country, but I wasn’t considered old enough to have a drink the night before shipping out for some hostile land.


The existence of that age limit really irked me something fierce.

However, there are those who use that age limit and those like it to try and justify such a limit for guns.

However, this impacts young voters like Salvador Lopez, who explained how there is already a 21 age limit on several items like alcohol and cigarettes.

He believes that purchasing a weapon should be included in that category of restricted items, saying “We have others laws that we have to be 21, I mean to drink, just others things we have to be 21, so why wouldn’t we need to be 21 for a gun?”

Now, I don’t mean to pick on Lopez, but his argument is one I’ve seen a number of times, so he gets to be the example here.

First, it’s awfully bold to assume I’m in favor of those age limits in the first place. I’m not. If someone is old enough to be treated as an adult, then they should be treated like an adult.

Second, there are age limits for some guns. Handguns cannot be lawfully purchased by anyone under the age of 21.


The only way this has been able to fly is that those who wish to have some means of protecting themselves can still buy long guns such as AR-15s and shotguns. If you remove that, you’ve removed a lot of adults’ ability to protect themselves.

And that is a very real thing.

You see, unlike tobacco or alcohol–neither of which are explicitly protected by the Constitution, it should be noted, unlike the right to have a gun–a firearm may actually serve a useful and positive purpose in someone’s life.

Further, this particular argument doesn’t help gun control advocates in the least. After all, if they’ll use age limits on some products to justify age limits on others, then why wouldn’t they use restrictions on some guns to justify restrictions on still more?

It’s basically evidence that they can never be taken at their word that all they want is this little bit of law.

Not that we lacked for evidence on that front, mind you, but still…

We all need to remember that plenty of people under the age of 21 live alone. As a result, they could be targeted specifically for criminal actions if bad guys know there’s no chance of them having a firearm.


Look, I get the desire to find an answer to Uvalde and Parkland and all the other school shootings, but an age limit isn’t going to be it.

I mean, the Sandy Hook killer murdered his own mother so he could get a gun. Other school shooters steal firearms from family or friends. The Columbine killers–both under the existing age limits–got someone to commit a straw purchase on their behalf.

A determined and evil maniac who is inclined to shoot innocent school student will find a way to get a gun. An age limit won’t stop it.

So, it’s time to knock that off and focus on something useful for a change.

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