Upping age limit on guns problematic

Monday, March 12, 2018

A recent article in the Recorder quoted one Republican senator stating, “Certainly, nobody under 21 should have an AR-15.” Some are now calling for an age limit to prevent those under 21 from buying so-called assault weapons or even, all firearms.

Has anyone considered how many military and police personnel are under 21? AR-configuration rifles are standard equipment for them. Are we going to disarm them all, or will we make an exception? “Nobody under 21,” does not sound like an exception to me. Last I checked, cops and soldiers are somebody. Also, even if such legislation allowed possessing these weapons for official purposes, it would make criminals out of people we should consider heroes, should they have them off duty.

This prejudicial age limit, (among the most ridiculous proposals yet advanced), substantially curtails the individual rights of law-abiding young adults, without any evidentiary basis for enhancing public safety. It effectively demonstrates the knee jerk, “let’s be seen doing something,” attitude many politicians take, instead of pursuing real solutions. Given most mass shooters have been over 21, this proposal has zero statistical merit.

Moreover, if society’s violence problem is serious enough to restrict constitutional rights, why single out the Second Amendment, while never even discussing the deadly side effects of other provisions? The First Amendment enables violent media and ideologies, while the Fourth routinely frustrates investigations through probable cause requirements and the “right to privacy.”

If guns kill, so, too, do books, when they incite violence, or encryption, when preventing law enforcement from intercepting criminal communications. All rights can enable evil by evil people. Yet, they also enable legitimate activities and protect individual freedom.

Many gun control advocates, who often do not own guns, appear hesitant to restrict rights they do exercise. Is this hypocrisy, or just the recognition of a slippery slope?

Hussain A. Hamdan