Gun Control

Can Congress Save Lives by Raising the Rifle Purchase Age?

It is doubtful that the proposed rule would have made a difference in mass shootings.



In response to this month's mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wants to raise the minimum age for buying a rifle from 18 to 21. The proposal is hardly surprising coming from Feinstein, who has persistently pushed gun control throughout her political career. But last week President Donald Trump and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), both of whom were enthusiastically backed by the National Rifle Association, expressed support for Feinstein's idea, which the NRA opposes.

Since the Parkland massacre was perpetrated by a 19-year-old with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle, the Feinstein-Flake proposal has a superficial appeal. But the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.

Nikolas Cruz, who confessed to murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, legally bought his AR-15-style rifle from a gun shop in Coral Springs a year before the attack. Had the restriction favored by Feinstein, Flake, and Trump been in place at the time, that would not have been possible. But the minimum purchase age that they want to raise applies only to sales by federally licensed gun dealers, so Cruz still could have legally acquired a semi-automatic rifle through a private transfer.

Of the 23 deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history, three (Parkland, Sandy Hook, and Columbine) were perpetrated by killers younger than 21 who used rifles. The Sandy Hook shooter, who was 20, used a Bushmaster XM-15 bought by his mother, so a higher purchase age clearly would not have thwarted him. The Columbine killers, who were both younger than 18 when they started collecting weapons, obtained two shotguns and a Hi-Point 995 carbine through a straw purchase by an acquaintance who was 18. If the purchase age had been 21, they might have found an older straw buyer, or they might have obtained the long guns through an illegal private sale, which is how they acquired an Intratec TEC-DC9 pistol.

It is by no means clear that a higher purchase age for long guns would have made a difference in any of these cases. But it would make it harder for adults younger than 21 to obtain firearms for legitimate purposes. "Federal law prohibits adults under the age of 21 from purchasing a handgun from a licensed firearm dealer," notes Jennifer Baker, the NRA's public affairs director. "Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving them of their constitutional right to self-protection."

That's a bit of an overstatement, since 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds still could legally obtain rifles and shotguns through private transactions, just as they can legally obtain handguns that way (unless their state imposes stricter requirements). But the change would eliminate the option of buying firearms from a gun store for people in this age group, in return for a doubtful and possibly nonexistent gain in public safety.

In addition to establishing a higher minimum age to buy handguns from a licensed dealer, the Gun Control Act of 1968 made 18 the minimum age to buy a handgun in a private transaction. Licensed dealers may not sell long guns to people younger than 18, but private sellers may, provided state law allows it. (Many states, including Florida, have their own minimum purchase ages for long guns.) The distinction between handguns and long guns was based largely on the observation that the former played a much bigger role in violent crime. That remains true today, even for mass shootings. Handguns are used in about two-thirds of firearm homicides (and about two-thirds of mass shootings), while rifles of all kinds account for 3 percent; shotguns are used in 2 percent.

"Under current law, licensed gun dealers cannot sell a handgun to anyone under 21, but they are allowed to sell assault rifles like the AR-15 to anyone over 18," Feinstein says. "This policy is dangerous and makes absolutely no sense….If you can't buy a handgun or a bottle of beer, you shouldn't be able to buy an AR-15." Flake echoes Feinstein, tweeting that "a kid too young buy a handgun should be too young to buy an #AR15."

Contrary to the impression left by such rhetoric, the bill Feinstein and Flake are contemplating would not ban the sale of AR-15s to adults younger than 21; it would apply only to sales by licensed dealers. At the same time, the restriction would cover all long guns, not just AR-15s or so-called assault weapons. Although such a distinction would not make much sense, it would be consistent with Feinstein's pretense that features such as folding stocks and barrel shrouds make semiautomatic rifles more deadly.

Feinstein and Flake, of course, still think 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds should wield actual machine guns (and lay down their lives) as members of the armed forces, which seems somewhat inconsistent with the notion that they are too young to drink a beer. If the goal is consistency in the age restrictions imposed by federal law, we will need more than the symbolic tweak Feinstein and Flake are proposing.

NEXT: Gun Control and Militarized Schools Have Long Gone Hand in Hand

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Background checks and age limits on owning and/or purchasing armaments is an unconstitutional violation of the 2nd Amendment.

      1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

        This is what I do…

    1. If we save even one life then any amount of jackbooting is worth it.

      1. 1. Something must be done
        2. This is something
        3. Then let’s do it

      2. So, let me get this straight: we should take away all the guns, especially multi-round rifles, from citizens so that the incompetent bureaucrats with badges can protect them. IBWBs (Incompetent Bureaucrats With Badges, not be confused with RUS’s-Rodents of Unusual Size) will still continue to use these very guns and multi-round rifles. Why? Because they might need to protect us from bad guys who don’t obey gun laws. Wasn’t that the reason citizens bear arms in the first place, or, actually, second place? If bad guys who don’t obey gun laws require cops to have big, bad, evil, dangerous weapons to repel these assailants, why are we asserting that gun laws will stop the present problems? Can anyone cite a mass shooting that ever occurred at a Gun Show? or a Police Station? And the only mass shooting to occur on an army base happened on one where the soldiers were prohibited from carrying their weapons. What’s wrong with this picture?

      3. Sadly, that is where we are at: the media progs are pushing congress around by erecting a mirage. People I know are asking basically “what can we do about school security?” None are demanding gun control, or cracking the 2nd amendment by blocking its free exercise for persons having reached the age of majority, or any other media narrative. We have a waiting period for gun purchases… I suggest we need a waiting period for legislation following any massacre: the congress seated during the time of its occurance may not craft/vote on any legal remedy. If we followed that, then any bill introduced prior to the seating of our next congress in 2019 should find the rubbish bin.
        Schols need two basic things: fences and choke points. The open campus model is dead.

        1. I suggest we need a waiting period for legislation following any massacre: the congress seated during the time of its occurance may not craft/vote on any legal remedy.

          Given how often we have massacres, this would effectively mean that congress can never vote on a legal remedy.

          While I don’t believe this is unintended, it is dishonest.

      1. Among Nanarchists.

    2. What about RPG’s and grenade launchers? Aren’t they also protected under the second amendment? If you guys really want to hang on to your assault rifles you’re gonna have to come up with something better than that, I’m afraid. Better put your thinkin caps on..

      1. Try coming up with a better argument. This argumentum ad absurdum has been done to death.

      2. That’s a straw man isn’t it?

        1. Indeed. But it’s turning into a tulpa

      3. Aren’t RPGs and grenade launchers already legal, assuming you get a special permit from the government, and pay a $200 tax?

        Even so, I doubt that RPGs and grenade launchers are all that useful for criminals — they are too big and inconspicuous, and too expensive, even if smuggled. Furthermore, if someone can afford to buy such a thing, they can also afford simpler yet more effective ways to cause mayhem and death.

        I would propose that if any laws against these things are loosened, that the only thing that would really be in danger are abandoned cars in the desert, if that.

        1. I don’t know about RPGs and grenade launchers. I assume they’re legal. IIRC the weapons need to be able to be handled by 1 person.

          Today I learned about the Solothurn S-18 anti-tank rifle which is legal. If I’m ever involved in a mass shooting with a 100lb anti-tank cannon, I’d just walk perpendicular to his line-of-sight.

        2. That is exactly why rifles are used so rarely in crime. They cannot be concealed easily, so almost every criminal uses a handgun.

          The only time you ever commit a crime with a long gun is if you are going into it expecting a firefight. Aside from mass shootings or assassinations, you just don’t have a use for something that big.

        3. I don’t disagree, but it’s an interesting illustration of how committed folks are to the 2nd amendment. If it really is about the Right to Bear Arms, if it really is about militias, watering trees of liberty, and so-on, then such weaponry must be allowed.

          So when someone that’s purportedly a 2nd Amendment fundamentalist balks at such weapons, it’s telling.

      4. ALL guns are ‘assault’ weapons! Do you know of some other kind? Therapeutic?

        1. You might be surprised how therapeutic it can be to go blow the shit out of something.

      5. Your entire “argument” such as it is, is built on a false narrative and assumption. The 2A provides no rights, and guarantees no rights, it merely reiterates a natural inalienable right that can never be abridged by another individual, society or anyone that they may choose to “represent” them, provided the individual acts in a responsible manner. An individual cannot be legislatively placed at a material disadvantage to a government that receives its governing authority from the individual. If ANY right can be legislated away or otherwise abridged, then there are NO rights accorded to the individual except those granted by the government, making the individual a mere subject of authority.
        So, to answer your question, as long as the individual acts in a responsible manner (responsibility being the reciprocal of rights) the individual has a right to whatever weapon is currently win the US inventory. Provided he can afford it.

    3. The right is ostensibly independent of and preexisted the constitution, so infringement of the right by any means is unconstitutional. But whenever there is a “crisis” people demand the government do “something.” As such, the right is being incrementally diluted. We must continually remind government of its obligation to protect and defend the right; otherwise we risk its complete surrender.

    4. Let us be grateful that even Damnocrat moonbats in their wisdom, if that’s what it is, have seen fit to send Dee Dee out to pasture; she will not be passing ANY legislation.

      1. Also grateful that Flake is on his way out the door as well.

      2. The CA moonbats are not endorsing her because she isn’t _enough_ of a moonbat! If she was smart, she’d think it was time to retire, but if she was smart, she wouldn’t _be_ DiFi. So there’s probably going to be a contest in the primary, and I don’t know who I’ll hope wins. On one hand, if she loses, she’s finally out of Congress, and her replacement will have no seniority and most likely be too much of a moonbat for half the Dems in Congress to take him/her/it seriously. OTOH, it would be fun to see CA’s Democratic voters finally tell the extreme moonbats to shove it…

        And on the third hand, what will the Dems in Congress choose for their next leader? There actually are Senators nuttier than her, and there might be some excruciatingly politically correct reason the Dems will pick one of them.

    5. The background checks were circumvented in Florida courtesty of an Obama era DOJ program that offered extra grant money in exchange for schools “improved stats”. The school where the shooting occurred did such a ‘good job’ they got an award for it! So… school administrators coordinated with local law enforcement to prevent warranted arrests, or other legal interventions when it would show up as a crime stat. That’s how the shooter got his gun: the information that normally would be discoverable on a check was blocked/never submitted – on paper, his gun check was crystal clean.

      1. The Airfare screwed up by failing to report the Texas church shooter as a wife and infant beater, and he also should not have been able to buy guns. They don’t even enforce current regulations, why would they enforce more regulations?

        Anyone who wants a gun can get one, no matter how sinister their plans are. We all keep our guns to protect ourselves, but at the end of the day, it’s still the wild west out there, and psychos with body armor, grenades and thousands of rounds of ammo are hard for the average person to defend against, especially when they don’t care whether they live or die.

        We can’t infringe on the rights of the mentally unstable, because most are not violent, so there is just no good solutions out there.

        We are not safe at schools, movie theaters or church, and unless we find a way to prevent mental illness in the first place (without psychotropic meds that cause more violent behavior), there is nothing we can do.

  2. Because “can’t buy a beer” is totally not a destructive policy which is easily circumvented.

    …It’s hard to believe anyone is that stupid.

    1. The doctor I saw when I was 19 was cool with underage drinking. I asked if the medication he prescribed could be taken with alcohol, because I drink Kiddush on Shabbat. To my surprise, he said that I could drink out all the alcohol I wanted and even try smoking pot.

    2. Hmm. When I was young(er), an 18 year old COULD buy a beer. He could also be sent to war, which is the reason most cited for allowing him to vote, when the age used to be 21. So, between 1971 and today, 18 year olds have suffered some kind of mental, emotional or psychological retardation? I’m not rejecting that assertion out of hand, just want to confirm that that is what has occurred, since 18 year olds, hell 14 year olds, could shoot a gun 75 years ago and we didn’t have mass or school shootings. Are the guns firing themselves? Evil AI built into them now?

      1. “So, between 1971 and today, 18 year olds have suffered some kind of mental, emotional or psychological retardation?”

        Yes, the public school system.

      2. The drinking age was lowered to 18 in many states along with the voting age. (In some states, it was already 18, and a few never lowered it.) This change was followed by a considerable increase in automobile fatalities. (It also coincided with a considerable increase in the number of young people driving, often poorly whether or not they were intoxicated – you can only get to be a good driver with experience, and you get experience by driving.) So there was a push to raise the drinking age (again in many states). After a few years, Congress weighed in by tying highway funding to a drinking age of 21. IIRC, in Michigan, this age was briefly 18, then briefly 19 on the theory that at least it should be past the age of most high school seniors, and then raised to 21 to keep our highway funding.

        1. So 18 year olds are dumb. Isn’t that exactly the reason they make good cannon fodder? How about raising the service/draft age to 30?

    3. I like the bootstrappy nature of this line of argumentation.

      First raise the age of one thing to 21, then use this age limit as justification to raise other things.

      I’ve been pointing out that a person only needs to be 12 to be tried as an adult.

  3. Can Congress Save Lives by Raising the Rifle Purchase Age?

    Well, something has to be done, and this is something. Do you even politic?

    1. I’ve seen a lot of propagation of the moment during the Town Hall when everyone clapped for the “ban of all semi-automatic weapons.”

      Because the CNN Town Hall is an accurate cross-section of America. It’s obvious because they all understood how dangerous and unnecessary semi-autos were to hunting and self-defense.

      Wow. That’s definitely .. something.

      1. What, getting a bunch of CNN producers to hand pick ‘attendees’ isn’t a good cross section of America?

        1. Keep in mind that if you asked a CNN producer to draw a map of the US, there’d be 2 islands with a big gap between them.

          1. …labeled “Here There Be Rednecks”

            1. (slow clap)

          2. I mean, it’s true if you count the 49 landlocked states and Hawaii.

            1. But Canada isn’t part of the U.S.! I call shenanigans!

      2. I had no interest in that town hall, but I’ve read a little bit of the transcripts. I can only take it in small doses though. When you have people asking questions that include so much obvious misinformation, and no one bothers to correct them because they don’t want to be booed, it’s rather revolting.

        1. I haven’t watched it either, and most of what I’ve heard about it is sound bites like that one about banning semi-autos. Misinformation and “fake news” are staples of any mass shooting, but they seem very durable this time. I guess we have to keep doing what we always do!
          “There’ve been 18 school shootings in 2018!”
          “False, there have been at most 5 with any injuries.”
          “AR15s are super deadly!”
          “False, they account for about 2% of deaths.”

          Etc., etc., etc. until we all die of misdirected outrage.

    2. 1.3 Million deaths in the US each year are attributed to vehicles. But no one is banning vehicles. The logic behind banning firearms is absurd. Let’s use the same thought process. Let’s say your neighbor is driving under the influence and kills someone, do you think that the government should come and take your car away too? I doubt anyone would allow this. However the media and the left want to sensationalize guns and scare the public only to garner votes because it fits into their agenda.

      1. A post of superhuman stupidity

      2. Everything is a trade-off. Vehicles provide some positive value that people generally have accepted as outweighing the negative aspects. This tends to be a little more difficult with firearms. I think a better example for comparison would be swimming pools, which also account for a certain number of deaths and are primarily for recreation. Of course, there is not right to swimming pools in the Constitution either.

      3. “1.3 Million deaths in the US each year are attributed to vehicles…”

        “…2016 data shows 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 motor vehicle crashes, an average of 102 per day…”

        Key word- Motor vehicle fatality rate in U.S. by year

    3. They will do “something” even if it is ineffectual and wrong. But make no mistake, “something” shall be done. That “something,” though, would not have prevented any of these massacres and won’t prevent the next.

      1. Such cynicism is horrific at any time – but in the face of the agony of the Parkwood children and parents it is abominable

        1. Really? We’ve seen this movie before haven’t we?

        2. I keep hearing this sentiment — that questioning the efficacy of a policy is “horrific cynicism.” It seems to go hand in hand with the belief that legislation is a victory in its own right, even if it obviously doesn’t work.

    4. Why can’t the something be “train and license upstanding 16-year-olds to understand self defense law and how to use the pistol, and let any afterwards who are comfortable to do so, to carry wherever they go, on condition that if they use their gun for any reason, they’ll be tried as an adult”?

      For some reason, the “do something” always results in less freedom, not more, even if the “more freedom” has more of a chance of working than any of the “less freedom” proposals?

  4. Yep, it’s definitely “do something we’re better than this” time.

  5. Wasn’t Jeff Flake supposed to be libertarian-ish? Am I wrong? This is absolutely nonsense-exactly what I’d expect from Feinstein, but not from others..

    1. This site certainly vouches for him a lot. I’ve found him to be far less libertarian than they do, however.

      1. I know Trump, et al. are trying to avoid any serious 2A violations with stuff like the bump stock ban, but this is a major bone to throw to the opposition. I’m disappointed with Flake and Rick Scott. Republicans are rapidly becoming useless if they’re giving in on guns.

    2. Flake once marooned himself alone on a desert island, but unfortunately his example did not catch on among politicians.

    3. Jeff Flake never was nor is he a Libertarian.

      Jeff Flake is as Libertarian as Trump. Reason won’t admit that Trump is Libertarian, so there you have it.

      1. No senator is a libertarian.

        Relatively few Americans are libertarians.

        Half of the self-described libertarians are just sheepish right-wingers masquerading in silly libertarian drag.

        Among Reason’s commenters, it’s at least 90 percent.

        Focusing on Flake seems daft.

  6. They need to raise it well past the age of your typical psychotic break.

    1. That’d be about 25 for most people. I think also it’d be good to outlaw having children, driving cars, use of any sort of psychoactive substance, and voting until 25. That’d save a lot of lives.

      And if it saves even one life…

    2. I don’t drink coffee at work, so I find it necessary to take a psychotic break a few times a day.

    3. A few years ago, the cops in my town killed young men during two separate psych calls and said the men had gone after them with knives. Teenagers with psych histories need guns for self-defense.

  7. But the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.

    That’s why this legislation must be passed TODAY.

  8. Eighteen, nineteen, and twenty-year-olds make up a small part of the electorate pretty much everywhere, so politicians feel no compunction in screwing them over in ways they’d never be allowed to do to say, senior citizens. It’s a cynical, arbitrary, knee-jerk “we gotta do something” proposal.

  9. They would save more lives if they raised the voting age.

    I would suggest 30 years of age.

    1. With proof that you’re a net taxpayer stapled to your registration card.

      1. Embossed; no skin in the game? Get outa here!

  10. The fact that an 18 year old, who is considered to be responsible for his/her actions under the law, can’t buy beer is already a travesty, Dianne. Federal laws restricting people over 18 are a violation of the principle of equal protection under the law.

  11. but they are allowed to sell assault rifles

    What’s and “assault rifle”?

    1. Any and all guns including long guns, handguns, shotguns, rail guns, glue guns, squirt guns, grease guns, caulk guns, and any other gun that has or hasn’t ever existed.

      1. Including Hello Kitty bubble shooters, and salad shooters.

        1. And especially THESE GUNS!!!!!

          *flexes scrawny arms*

      2. Any and all guns including long guns, handguns, shotguns, rail guns, glue guns, squirt guns, grease guns, caulk guns, and any other gun that has or hasn’t ever existed.

        *casts evil eye in the direction of the juxtaposition of g, u, and n goinG UNaccounted for.*

    2. It’s a patrol rifle that’s in your hands instead of the cops’.

    3. Assaults rifles are easy to spot.

      They’re black and scary looking.

      1. And cops shoot them when they make a furtive movement.

    4. It’s a rifle you use to assault someone with, which can be any rifle. Even if you just use it as a club, it’s still an “assault rifle”.

  12. Short answer: No.

    Long answer: There is no long answer. It is still no.

  13. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wants to raise the minimum age for buying a rifle from 18 to 21 85, but she’ll take what she can get.


    1. she’ll take what she can get.


  14. Let’s just change the legal age of adulthood. I mean, if you can’t buy booze, or a handgun from an FFL dearler, until 21, then why should you be able to buy a long gun, or vote, or have sex, or smoke, or drive, or enlist in the military. Make it all 21, across the board. /sarc

    I vote that we rename the millennial generation to the “Tide Pod” generation.

    1. Gen-X was the latch key generation. The Millennials are becoming the locked psychiatric ward generation.

    2. I’d say it’s harder to navigate to adulthood than it used to be when I was a kid or even my dad was a kid. If they want to increase the age of majority to 21, then that’s a valid argument to be had.
      But it needs to be across the board. You can’t ask an 18 year old to die for his country and then stop him from legally drinking a beer.

      1. “You can’t ask an 18 year old to die for his country and then stop him from legally drinking a beer.”

        I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who didn’t agree with this, except maybe campus cops, so why is it still this way?

        I seem to remember something about the new drinking age not being a federal law. The feds withheld highway money from the states until they passed the requisite law. Something about the feds, highway money, and state booze laws. It might’ve been for prohibition, which is honestly even more terrifying. Can you imagine how easy it would be to get the 3/4 of states necessary to ratify an amendment now that states are exceedingly dependent on federal money?

      2. You can’t ask an 18 year old to die for his country and then stop him from legally drinking a beer.

        We don’t just ask it, we demand it.

    3. “”Let’s just change the legal age of adulthood. I mean, if you can’t buy booze, or a handgun from an FFL dearler, until 21, then why should you be able to buy a long gun, or vote, or have sex, or smoke, or drive, or enlist in the military. Make it all 21, across the board. /sarc”‘

      I say tie it all to the voting age.

    4. the “Tide Pod” generation.”

      That is first rate! Your contribution to the internet is duly noted in the ineternet hall of fame. The misspelling is intentionale. Both of them.

  15. Repeal the Second Amendment, outlaw civilian gun ownership, go door-to-door to confiscate all existing guns, close border to prevent smuggling.

    Problem solved. Easy peasy. God, you libertarians are so blind to what works!

    1. You forgot: “Death penalty for anyone found with a gun.”

      1. You forgot: “Death penalty for any agents trying to take the guns.”

        1. In either case it does not end well, does it?

  16. Haven’t been around much lately, but this struck me as odd:

    Handguns are used in about two-thirds of firearm homicides (and about two-thirds of mass shootings), while rifles of all kinds account for 3 percent; shotguns are used in 2 percent.

    So lets be generous and say handguns =70%. Rifles (of all kinds) = 3%. Shotguns =2%.


    That leaves 25% for what? What other kinds of “firearms” are there? 20mm cannons? Ma Deuces?

    1. Flamethrowers.

      1. Hi-Points: they’re sorta kinda guns.

        1. They are to guns what Little Ceasar’s is to pizza.

          1. Cheap, durable, and readily stored under your seat in case of emergency?

    2. I believe those were incidents where the type of firearm wasn’t recorded for whatever reason.

    3. Solothurn S-18

      1. It has a chain-drive to rack the bolt.

        “2A shouldn’t cover anti-tank rifles and bazookas and nukes!”
        “Well. Uhhh.”

    4. Zip guns

    5. That leaves 25% for what? What other kinds of “firearms” are there?

      If they’re going by straight up reporting, it’s easily possible that the specific firearm type may not be known/knowable multiple rounds from multiple guns, rounds of undeterminable caliber and energy, shotgun slug vs. rifle bullet, etc. If they’re going by NFA classifications which are similarly fucked up, the vague ‘firearms’ classification may be just as accurate.

    6. Potato guns?

    7. I think the the handgun is used more than 80% of homicides.

  17. It makes sense it makes sense to want a law banning anyone under 21 from buying a gun, if you are a wife beater with a 20 year old son in the house, but I think anyone 16 and older should be able to buy the same guns that adults can buy.

    1. They’re a helluva lot less dangerous than cars. Sure, they’re tools made explicitly for killing, but isn’t it honestly worse than death is a side-effect of cars? That’d be like wanting to outlaw a lethal injection drug because it’s lethal, but leaving one that accidentally killed tens of thousands of people a year on the market.

      Actually, it’s nothing like that, but whatever. The argument is no better than anything I’ve heard in the past two weeks.

  18. So Feinstein and Flake think anyone under 21 shouldn’t be able to drink or exercise their 2nd amendment rights. I wonder Feinstein and Flake think anyone under 21 should be able to vote?

    1. These politicians sure as shit think that under 21 kids should die for the politician’s endless neo-con foreign combat actions.

  19. Can Congress Save Lives

    I’m’a let you finish, but no.

  20. If they are old enough to decide their own sex, they are old enough to exercise their constitutional rights.
    If they are old enough to decide to kill a baby, they are old enough to exercise their constitutional rights.

  21. The most contradiction in all of this is the argument, “Well, we restrict alcohol purchases to 21 year olds!”

    Well, okay. Someone’s not responsible enough to drink or own a firearm, but they’re responsible enough to take out $50-100K in student loans? If we’re going to extend the age of minority to 21 for guns, let’s do it for EVERYTHING. That means no college until you’re 21. No loans of any kind until you’re 21. Your parents have total control over you until you’re 21. Wonder how many of these kids would be okay with that.

    1. Heck, how many parents are going to be all right with that?

      1. Chances are, they’ll mostly vote Democrat.

  22. That’s a bit of an overstatement, since 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds still could legally obtain rifles and shotguns through private transactions,

    And the ‘no-fly list’ is constitutional because you could always *walk*.

    1. Also, someone should tell Feinstein (*again*) that its already illegal to sell assault rifles in the US.

  23. a kid too young buy a handgun should be too young to buy an #AR15.

    Old enough to vote, old enough to buy any firearm.

    (Then again, these are the same people telling me “requiring a driver’s license or state ID” is disenfranchisement and at the same time calling for “beyond showing up with proof of citizenship” licensing requirements for constitutional rights.

    One almost suspects they don’t take civil rights seriously … or are merely rank hypocrites.)

    1. A kid too young to buy a gun of any type is too young to vote.

  24. Maybe Feinstein should introduce a bill to make it illegal for kids to bring a gun to school. That way, there will never be another shooting again.

    1. That’s the problem with politicians. They can never think of the obvious solutions.

  25. If any of these restrictions are passed, will anyone abide?

    The NY Safe act has about a 4% compliance rate. 52 of the state’s 62 counties have passed resolutions opposing the law.

    NY Safe Act non comply

    1. I suppose that would depend on the penalty…

  26. Increasing the age at which people may lawfully purchase guns will not eliminate entirely the possibility someone younger than that age will have access to a gun and commit another one of these atrocities. That is undoubtedly true. But that is a pretty weak argument for rejecting increasing the age at which one may lawfully purchase a gun. Increasing the age by definition would reduce the number of people under that age who will obtain guns. And the fewer people who have access to guns at ages when they cannot fully process the consequences of their own actions, the more we reduce the likelihood something like this will happen again. With rare exceptions, males younger than 25 commit these kinds of mass murders. Lots of research suggests an awful lot of males, in particular, don’t fully develop such things as empathy, judgment, a full appreciation of the consequences of their actions, and an ability to focus on the future, until they are pushing 25 years old. So it is entirely possible that kids under the age of 25 would buy a gun and do something they would not do when they are older than 25. I don’t see the problem with upping significantly the age at which one is allowed to buy a gun. Once you become a responsible adult, admittedly with an arbitrary age defining that (aren’t all age limits arbitrary?), you can buy a gun.

    1. So it is entirely possible that kids under the age of 25 would buy a gun and do something they would not do when they are older than 25.

      They may even do something so rash as invent what later became known as ‘The Peacemaker’ before the age of 25.

      Responsible adults with fully-developed senses of empathy are responsible for some of the most heinous acts and atrocities of the century. Even, or maybe even especially, the ones that didn’t involve guns. There’s little that says or indicates that taking the rifle out of Cruz’ hands doesn’t just convert him to a Paddock, Breivik, or McVeigh.

    2. Or maybe, just maybe, we could return to the good old days, when almost every high school (including ones in New York City) had a gun range and a rifle team, and kids brought their rifles to school every day (including by taking the subway in New York City, of all bleeping places) to participate in shooting sports during the day, and to hunt afterward.

      Since then, we’ve passed a lot of gun legislation…and oddly enough, school shootings seem to have gotten more and more common.

      Sure, correlation is not causation…but c’mon, surely if guns are the problem, they would have been the problem back then!

      1. “if guns are the problem, they would have been the problem back then!”

        The average suburban-raised parent knows very little about firearms and is terrified that their child is going to be murdered at school. The average anti-gun (or really any) politician is concerned with power and undermining constitutional amendments and not at all concerned with improving the safety of children. Their families have highly-trained, armed escorts, and their children go to elite private schools. Mass shootings are perfect opportunities to leverage the fears of well-meaning citizens to enact more legislation to increase government power.

        We’ve built a country that has a power-obsessed ruling class, and these people are too driven to know when to stop reaching for the top.

    3. Your comments are based on a false premise. The false premise is1 that males under 25 do most of these mass shootings. Using the Mother Jones mass shooting data set 1982 to 2018 (including Parkland), there were 97 Mass shootings in that time. In terms of under 25s, 2 of those mass shootings involved more than one shooter. There were 25 of the mass shootings committed by 25 and under (27 of the shooters being 25 and under). That’s about 26%. 26% is hardly the majority. 74% of the shootings were done by male shooters over the age of 25. That’s not a rare exception.

  27. Gun-Free Zones are not the solution to the problem; Gun-Free Zones are the problem. Arming teachers and other school employees willing to serve in that capacity is one viable solution. Response time is crucial. When the unthinkable happens, there must be an immediate and overwhelming armed response. Private security and police on campus are expensive, for most districts, prohibitively so. One thing is certain, the days of leaving students and teachers utterly defenseless and easy prey to a madman are numbered.

  28. What the author of this article wishes us NOT to see is that the measure proposed is just a very minor step on a long road. His assertion that it cannot prevent the slaughter in US schools is absurdly obvious and so is the hidden agenda. The gun lobby does not want even ONE step on the road, as that would be in their degraded logic a defeat, which could lead to another step. The gun lobby does not want gun control to be debated – as the traumatised students of Parkwood found to their horror and despair in the Florida legislature. The gun lobby does not want gun control to be researched by the federal government or anyone else. The gun lobby will go to extreme lengths to preserve the death rate from bullets from any challenge, by anyone, at any level, on any evidence. The author is perfectly well aware of this. The author is either a dismal and pathetic hypocrite.

    1. Who is the gun lobby, though? The NRA? The NRA donates about $3mil/year nationwide and maybe a few million more in advertisement for pro-gun candidates (ads that very possibly have nothing to do with guns). That’s not even enough for a single state legislature race!

      Plenty of evidence exists about gun control, and that evidence at worst suggests that there is no correlation between firearms and murders and at best suggests that firearms reduce murders. What do you have to back up your assertion that the gun lobby will go to extreme lengths to “preserve the death rate from any challenge?” Gun lobbyists have children that also go to school; I’m relatively certain that they don’t want to do anything that increases the chance that their kids will be murdered.

      Everyone’s got skin in this game. Nobody is safe from these psychos. We all want it to stop. There is no grand and great secret Illuminati gun lobby trying to create a new Wild West World Order.

    2. I would like to let you in on a little secret. It’s not the NRA that’s in the driver’s seat. Nor is it the corporations.

      It’s the American people who value gun rights that run the show. The NRA has become a lobbying force because of this. Congresscritters fear for re-election because of this. Even gun companies bow to this force — S&W tried to make a gun control deal with Bill Clinton in the 1990’s, and was almost destroyed by the resulting boycott.

      And it is these voters who are well aware that every bit of legislation, regardless of how effective it will be (and the proposed legislation is never effective), is just a very minor step on a long road and they well know that the end of that long road is gun confiscation.

      1. Is it 70 percent of the public that favors gun safety provisions the NRA stridently opposes. or is it 80 percent?

        1. Is it 70 percent of the public that favors gun safety provisions the NRA stridently opposes. or is it 80 percent?

          This is a bullshit statistic on par with saying 40% support universal background checks and 30% support assault-style weapons bans and the NRA opposes both of those, so 70% oppose the NRA. Might as well just shout “Consensus!” and declare the science to be settled.

        2. I find it funny how these “gun safety provisions” always receive popular support when the details are vague, but dramatically lose support when the details are hashed out.

          Like that popular “Universal Background Check” thing that Everytown pushes, that allegedly has 90% support. In Washington State, only 60% voted for the official referendum (and the rural county police have actively stated that they won’t attempt to enforce it); in Nevada, just barely north of 50% (which ironically had no enforcement, because the FBI refused to participate); in Maine, the referendum died just south of 50%.

          If these proposals really have such high approval, why is it that they are so easy to kill? Heck, the NRA’s power *isn’t* in the money it donates — the NRA’s power is in how many people they can get to the polls. Thus, the NRA should be powerless to stop such legislation — yet it still has power. Why?

          It’s because Democrats, when creating these laws, always significantly overreach. It’s as if they have a goal of banning guns, and can’t help but push themselves to achieve it, or something….

  29. If my son is old enough to find my AR15 after a tragic boating accident, he’s old enough to keep it.

  30. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government?even the Third Branch of Government?the power to decide on a case by case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future
    judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad. –DC v. Heller

    1. I’m sure Democrats will propose repealing the 2nd Amendment any time now. Those that aren’t interested in reelection anyway.

  31. My libertarian take.

    Age restriction is arbitrary.

    We have many of those. There are age restrictions for driving a car, purchasing tobacco, alchohol, legal pot, sex, marriage, many things

    Who says that this 15 year old is less able to operate a car than that 17 year old?

    Guns require some experience and maturity to be safely operated. Almost anyone can learn it.

    So in legal sense one could go with no age restrictions at all. Instead one could have proof of proficiency. This killer had that. He was a member of the shooting team jrotc.

    Something is wrong. This happened and I know it should not.

    1. In the late 70’s, when I was in high school, we had a firing range in the basement of the JROTC building. We were taught by retired marines the fundamentals of marksmanship and gun safety. It’s something I’ll never forget. The age of majority ought not be more than 18 for most things. We have to let people grow up and stop coddling them. There are far too many snowflakes in the world.

    2. Theoretically, I’d be fine with such “proficiency tests”. Can you demonstrate that you understand the uses, risks, side-effects, and possible harms of condoms/guns/cigarettes/heroine/loot boxes/online gamblings/etc./so-on? Then sure, you can partake. So if you have a pre-teen whiz kid at math that shows that yeah, he really understands poker, he can go to Vegas and stake his college fund at the poker tables.

      It’d probably need a cut-off though. “Proficiency of X shall be assumed at age Y, even if not previously demonstrated” sort of thing.

      The problem is who gets to administer the tests and determine what “proficiency” means? And are you comfortable enough with the idea that in a decade someone new will be in charge?

      1. Ironically, and I don’t mean this as exactly against anything you said, the NRA has been both responsible and wildly popular with regard to this issue almost since it’s inception in 1871. They certainly aren’t the only program out there and, of course, they don’t necessarily get to issue any given license, but there isn’t a singular private organization that’s been as successful and successfully devoted to a ‘well regulated militia’ as the NRA.

        I’m not a huge fan of the NRA’s pro-cop stance and a few of their other policy issues but this is one place where, if they don’t shine, you at least have to admit that there really aren’t any legitimate contenders that could do what they do at the level at which they do it.

  32. So, let me get this straight, as if ‘gun-free zones’ do anything but create ‘sitting duck zones,’ you’re saying we will draft 18 year old men (and women, presumably), arm them and send them off to war with guns to defend our freedoms, but when they have completed their service and return, we will deny them the right to carry a firearm in their own country?

  33. More feel good legislation-gotta show “we’re doing something!”
    I would not have a problem making 21 the age for all “adult” privileges (drinking, smoking, driving, gun owning) so long as the age for military service and voting age are also raised to 21 as well.

  34. What in the world is the president doing listening to one of the chief authors of the Florida massacre? The mirage of “gun free zones” was brought to us mid 90’s with her help. But the short answer to the titled question is no. Once again, society is being moved by hacks to retard the maturity of young adults by deferring resposibility. How about we take a step backward, and do something to make maturity visit our youth at an earlier date? I suggest that high school should end a year earlier. People can go to college, trade school, or go to work. The business of extending the teenage years may not just be toxic, but deadly in an atmosphere where public schools are no longer allowed to reflect community standards by displaying the ten commandments. The left has shown their hand – they want to infantilize our sons and daughters into their mid twenties as the structure of the ACA informs. That’s a road to nowhere, and the world will pass us by: we’ll be speaking spanish and saluting the flag of China in 30 years if we take the advice of the soft spoken mavens of socialism.

  35. Given what we are learning about brain development, restricting the sale of military grade munitions to those over 21 makes a lot of sense. One can make a better case that a pistol is a legitimate self-defense weapon, yet it is deemed acceptable to restrict them to people over 21.

    1. And fireworks. Cigarettes and alcohol too. Young people are really bad at thinking about the consequences of ibuprofen toxicity too, so 21 and over for Motrin. Sex. They are among the highest risk groups for unwanted pregnancy, so sex should be prohibited. At least until you’re 21. That’s when brain development stops, so you’re good.

      Prohibition always achieves its intended goal! Let’s do some society-shaping! Who’s with me???

      1. At least until you’re 21. That’s when brain development stops, so you’re good.

        Also, before 45 if you’ve played contact sports, been within earshot of a combat zone, or are a heavy drinker/drug user. TBI sets in.

        None of these shooters have been diagnosed with TBI or ‘an underdeveloped brain’ and virtually everyone else with TBI and underdeveloped brains manage not to shoot up schools and, without regard to either of those symptoms, people still drive trucks through crowds of people and go on stabbing sprees, but you know, better not really safer and still sorry than not safe and really sorry. Or something.

  36. This is the type of weapon that need to be rethought.

    1. The good doctor’s complete omission of any attempt to link the mechanical action of the gun to wound cavitation makes me question not just his familiarity with firearms, but his credentials as a radiologist. Several states won’t allow you to hunt game with a .223 due to its inability to impart lethal energy on prey. Meanwhile, several-to-many handgun calibers are fair game.

      He should’ve written an article advising NASA on the size of rocket boosters to use for a manned mission to Mars. At least then he probably would’ve been modestly humbled about the breadth and depth of his lack of knowledge.

  37. So what I’m reading is that private sales are the problem.

  38. Since 19 year olds are always so good at making rational decisions and thinking about consequences, I have no doubt that passing a law targeted at them will work.

  39. They are just trying to do whatever they can to restrict guns. The first choice would be an outright ban on all guns, but they know they can’t do that, so they “aren’t letting a crisis go to waste.”

  40. There are two things that can happen that I have no problem. First, stop the transfer of long guns across state lines like we have for handguns. If you buy one in a state where you do not live, require it be shipped to a FFL dealer in you state who will complete the background check. The second is lets the states decide how guns will be regulated within their borders, not the Federal Government as it was intended. The 10th amendment clearly gives this power to the states. For decades, states decided how people could carry and use firearms in their borders. I do not want Feinstein, Schumer or any other blue state Dem making laws related to how I am able to exercise my rights in Texas.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.