Redefining Adulthood to Deny Second Amendment Rights

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Since Parkland, there’s been a serious push to restrict the purchase of long guns to those over the age of 21. As it stands, any adult with a clean NICS check can by a firearm, but some want to change that. They want to restrict the Second Amendment entirely for those under the drinking age.

Some might settle for just keeping them from buying so-called assault weapons, but they still want age restrictions.

Which might not be as big of an issue if there weren’t similar age restrictions in place for handguns. In other words, what they want will keep lawful adults from buying any firearm.

Over at America’s 1st Freedom, they ponder the possibility that what’s really happening here is that they’re trying to ultimately redefine adulthood.

Gun-control groups, and the politicians they support, are doing all they can to take Second Amendment rights away from 18-to-20-year-old citizens. But, to do so, they aren’t making the argument that we should redefine what constitutes a legal adult. That would be much more difficult to enact—and, if successful, it would also disenfranchise young voters. Instead, they simply want to take away this group’s right to keep and bear arms.

If they can’t outright repeal the Second Amendment, these groups and politicians are okay with attacking gun ownership at the margins. This is an old approach. That Latin phrase “divide et impera” (divide and rule) has been around for eons: it is more commonly said in English as “divide and conquer.” In essence, it is the principle of conquest by inciting internal divisions in your enemies to break off factions. Gun-control groups often employ this tactic.

A current example of the divide-and-conquer strategy from the gun-control crowd is the effort to restrict the rights of 18-to-20-year-old citizens. Anti-Second Amendment advocates seem to believe that, since the vast majority of gun owners are older than 20, they can get away with stopping young adults from buying guns.

President Joe Biden (D) has been pushing to clamp down on these young adults’ right to keep and bear arms; for example, in a speech last year, the president specifically mentioned adults in this age group when pushing to ban “assault weapons.”

“If we can’t ban assault weapons, as we should, we must at least raise the age to be able to purchase one to 21,” said Biden.

Now, let’s understand the basic argument being made here, because it’s important.

The argument typically used is that people frontal lobes aren’t fully developed until around age 25. As such, people under that age are more likely to act irrationally. They’re more likely to make impulsive decisions without remotely considering the ramifications of that action.

As such, they shouldn’t be trusted with firearms, especially evil “assault weapons.”

The science on the frontal lobe development is solid. It might be wrong for some reason or another, but that’s unlikely.

Yet what’s interesting to me is how, as noted in the first quoted paragraph, the people pushing this stuff don’t want to take away any other right they might have.

Younger Americans can act impulsively in the ballot box, for example, yet that’s not an issue. They can spout off impulsively while exercising their freedom of speech, potentially causing problems, yet that’s not an issue, either. They can enlist in the military where they might be sent off to die for their country without a parent’s approval, and that’s not an issue either.

No one pushing this line of “reasoning” on guns seeks to restrict these adults other rights.

Yet if they’re not seeking to actually redefine what adulthood is–and that’s actually a conversation worth having, if we’re going to base things on brain development at all–then what they’re doing is something far more insidious.

They’re ultimately trying to codify the idea that the Second Amendment preserves a second-class right.

Think about it. If every other right is available to every adult who isn’t a convicted felony, then every effort to restrict gun rights from those same people is basically saying that this is a right not everyone deserves.

Once that’s in place, you can keep nibbling away at who is deserving until almost no one is.

Here and now, part of that fight involves these adults under 21, but if their argument deals with brain development that isn’t finished until 25, why would anyone figure they’d stop there? If you think they will, you’re far more trusting than me.

And make no mistake, they might be redefining adulthood here and now, but they’ll keep trying to redefine things until our rights are nothing but words on a page.