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Dan and I were schmoozing with my 19 and 23 years-old daughters the other day. My UK-based progeny crowed that they can drink at 18, and scoffed at The Land of the Free’s National Minimum Drinking Age Act (restricting alcohol purchases to 21-year-olds and up). “Did you drink when you were 16?” I asked.

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallSarah admitted she had. As had her friends. “Did anything bad happen because of it? Are you an alcoholic? ” She shook her head. “So why should the state decide when you’re ‘ready’ to drink? Isn’t that down to parenting?”

Whether or not you agree, you have to wonder why 21 is the “magic” number for drinking — and carrying a handgun. Commentator Gman left this underneath our post BREAKING: Federal Judge Denies UT Profs’ Request for Preliminary Injunction to Stop Campus Carry

The vast majority of these students are denied their natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected right to self defense by virtue of their age. When is this travesty going to be corrected? We need to address the disparity of trust we engender in our youth.

One can sign a legal document at age 18. One can join the military and die for their country and yet never have had a beer or shot of Jack. And one can be in the military, well trained in the safe and effective use of firearms, entrusted with fully automatic rifles, and still denied the right to purchase certain very bearable firearms and the required ammunition.

And this is the real issue. Our government doesn’t seem to trust our youth, and it isn’t getting any better.

Should the minimum age for concealed or open carry be lowered to 18 across the board? If nothing else, the law leaves the vast majority of college students — an extremely vulnerable population — disarmed.  Should there even be a minimum age?

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  1. Whatever age is considered an adult, ALL adult privileges / rights should start that day. 18 or 21, make it uniform. Voting, firearms, enlisting, tobacco , alcohol, etc.

      • The problem with enlistment is that the peak fitness age and peak mental responsibility age are not timed the same.
        Around 18 tendons and ligaments, muscle groups, bones, etc h ave fully matured and are less likely to be altered by the high stress, but the mind, that baby isn’t really ready to process the full idea of consequences just yet.
        Anyone in the service can attest to the stupid stuff that gets done.

        This has already been thought about and discussed.
        21 is chosen for the maturity level, driving is lowered due to transportation to jobs which are critical in early development, if it wasn’t for that the driving age would be 21 as well.
        Since alcohol and tobacco don’t help in any positive ways they are usually pushed to later dates.

        So, while its a good thought that they should be allowed to defend themselves, so should a 4 year old, but neither usually fully grasps the consequences of their actions.
        Most young adults can’t remember not to leave their children in hot cars, let alone be responsible for a firearm on their person.

        • Agreed. We were fit when we entered Military Service, but we didn’t always make the best decisions. (God knows we have matured since then).

        • That remark about cars is painting with a mighty broad brush. Regardless. If an individual is considered an adult at 18 they should have all rights and responsibilites.

          Millions of us carried guns, operated dangerous machinery, fought in wars, had kids and supported our communities before 21.

          Yes. Some will fuck up. But many more will not. And unless we are willing to give the state pre crime powers we need to accept that these adults have a right to try. Whether they succeed or fail……..

        • If you are right in your assessment, then 18-20 years olds should not be allowed to enlist either. They lack the mental and emotional maturity to know what they are signing up for. Remember that they are signing up to potentially lay down their lives, be maimed, and/or kill or maim other people. Military service is a VERY SERIOUS decision.

          I think the military/government actually counts on that as a desirable thing. They like signing up gullible youths. Gullible young men are easy to indoctrinate, and are more likely to follow orders without thinking. That is what the brass and the politicians want.

          We need to be consistent. Either 18 is an adult, or it isn’t. Either 18 across the board, or 21 across the board. As a guy in my 40’s, I’d generally suggest that 21 across the board is preferable (but I would have disagreed when I was 18).

        • Then bump it to 21 and make all of those adult things 21. If most 18-year-olds aren’t yet capable of making mature, rational decisions then they shouldn’t be able to sign their lives away and enlist in the military or vote, etc etc. If 21 is the age of maturity, then 21 is the age for the stuff Steve listed. If 18 is old enough to make the decision to join the military and receive weapons training and go abroad and fight for the country, then an 18-y/o should damn well be able to consume alcohol, purchase and carry handguns, etc as well.

        • On average 18yr olds males are much less “mature” now than 20, 50, 75 years ago. Society is raising pansiezed wimps.

          AND much less physically fit, which will NOT improve past 18, Has been a significant problem with basic training for at least 25yr. Only so much you can do in a few weeks with a never in shape, videogaming butterball.

        • I disagree. It’s about parenting and not leaving your children to be raised by Uncle Sam in the form of a fucked up educational system that doesn’t give a shit about them and in fact has a vested interest in dumbing them down into good little drones.

          When I first started high school loads of kids at my school had guns and knives on school property and the worst thing we ever had was a fist fight. No one went out to their car or truck and got a weapon to hurt someone else EVER. In over 100 years of that high school’s existence guns were allowed and nothing bad ever happened because of that. Then Columbine occurred and the state decided we just were not responsible enough to have deer rifles, shotguns and hunting knives on campus anymore. People obeyed the rules and… nothing ever happened. The change in the law made no difference because the kids in the area I grew up in were taught to respect a gun and to respect life. The law was a solution in want of a problem.

          The root of all that? None of us were anywhere near as afraid of discipline from the school as we were from getting it at home. I did some of the dumb shit I see kids do these days and my dad would have beat my ass.

          Then off to college I went. Holy crap what a change. Tons of these kids had never held a job, ever! Mommy and Daddy just paid for whatever the kids wanted. There was no discipline or responsibility in their household. Get a DUI underage? Daddy pays to get you off. Wreck a car? Here’s a new one. Knocked up your girlfriend? Here’s money for an abortion. These kids invariably fucked up hard when they had access to alcohol. I mean they had no sense of personal responsibility when they were sober do you think they’re magically gonna grow a sense of responsibility when they’re drunk?

          No matter where you look in life you’ll find jackasses. But the root cause of that IMHO, whether you’re talking about college, the military or life in general is a lack of discipline while growing up.

          As for the military specifically, what do you expect when you have recruiters actively encouraging fraudulent enlistment? My recruiter told me “When you go to MEPS you’re Superman. You’ve never been sick, you’re not allergic to anything, you’ve never taken any meds and you sure as hell have never done drugs. Just don’t tell them anything and you’ll get through this”. Fuck that. I’m allergic to 1st generation cephalosporins so you can be damn sure I told the MEPS docs that hoping that no one would ever give them to me. It’s not a DQ so who cares? Well, he cared. He got pissed that I didn’t do as I was told. If recruiters are going to tell you to specifically not to be responsible you’re probably gonna get some irresponsible people in the service even though these days it is all volunteer.

    • That’s just populist pablum. The fact is you will never reached unanimity of what the age of majority should be. Even if you could, there will always be individuals who aren’t ready for adult responsibilities then, or ever. Unless we rule by fiat and whim, on a case by case basis, which itself is prone to error and abuse, then there must be some uniform, least-bad age-cutoff.

      However, that’s not to say that there must be one age for all events. In fact, we do recognize different ages for different events because the level of maturity required varies.

      18 is an adult, but one must be at least 25 to be a Representative, 30 to be a Senator, and 35 to be a President. Would you really want Lindsay Lohan’s finger on the nuclear button? I wouldn’t even want it on a Keltec trigger.

      • Why should we have age limits on offices either. Its just more government control to say who we can and can’t vote for for any reason. Heck with parental consent why couldn’t a 7 year old run for office? If we are not failing in education and informing ourselves and our communities there is no reason for our choices for any office to be restricted for any reason. Besides it couldn’t make the choices any worse.

    • Firearms are not an “adult privilege”, they are a natural right with infringement prohibited by the Constitution. Ergo, any “minimum age” or similar concept, in order to be valid, needs to be passed by the people of the entire US as a Constitutional Amendment. Likewise, each “gun free zone” needs to be established by an Amendment. See how important this crap is when it actually requires an effort, rather than your city council outlawing firearms for everyone, or whatever.

  2. I’m with Steve. I had a wife and a kid at 20. I don’t recommend that but I grew up really quickly. Bury Soetoro wants your baby on Odumbo care ’till he’s 26…

    • How about society letting kids carry pocket knives again? I always carried a pocket knife to school back in the 80s and early 90s. I never stabbed anyone or even thought of doing something like that. It was just a tool. Kids use to keep rifles and shotguns in their cars/trucks and go hunting before/after school as well. No problem.

      We’ve become such a society of wusses.

      • I can never remember a time where I didn’t carry a pocket knife. Once I was old enough to play outside by myself, my dad gave me a little one and told me to be careful with it. Always had one on me since then. It was and still should be standard issue to every little boy.

        • Exactly! A pocket knife is standard basic equipment for boyhood. Knives are good for girls as well, though they usually have less interest in them.

        • Besides a nice knife, I have also begun carrying a miniature Bic lighter, someday I might need to start a fire! Doesn’t weigh anything, takes up little room in your pocket, doesn’t even cost anything to speak of, or require maintenance. If necessary, I could start a fire with what I carry each day, could you?

        • Exactly so.

          I’ve carried a pocket knife very nearly every day since I was about 5 years old, maybe before then.

          Of course, I was already well into firearm’s safety training by then as well.

  3. Government age restrictions are ridiculous.
    You’re an adult at 18 but at 21 you become more adulter.
    You can’t drive this hatchback until your 16 but at 12 here’s an Amadas Combine.
    Barring medical/physical/real age concerns everything else is arbitrary and inherently pointless.

    • That’s an asinine way of thinking.
      The combine isn’t barrelling up the road at 70-80 mph in a public space.

      This way of thinking is exactly why we have age restrictions. Due to the lack there of…

  4. If you really want to watch some heads explode, explain to people that they can’t buy handguns til they’re 21 but all high school seniors can legally buy “assault rifles” the moment they turn 18.

    • And thats exactly what I bought 3 days after I turned 18, an AR-15, yet I couldn’t buy a revolver, or even a single shot target pistol. At least I could buy a semi- auto rifle with 30 round mags and also capable of taking mags that hold 100 rounds.

    • I’ve said this before, here, but it’s been awhile … 25+ years ago I was in the military, overseas (I think it would be the same within the US), when my wife and I had a short conversation with a gate guard where I was stationed. We had noticed that, on this day, he was carrying an M-16 instead of wearing a pistol as was usual, we asked if there was a threat increase or such. No, he explained, he had not yet turned 21, could not carry a pistol, so he was forced to make do with a machine gun. Does that make any sense to anyone?

  5. I was 17 when I hit boot camp. My rich uncle saw fit to trust me with items like an m16 with the giggle switch and various explodey thingies.

    If a person is old enough to sign binding contracts they’re old enough for all rights.

  6. I know people will say if a kid can go to war carrying a gun, they should be able to drink and carry a gun in civilian life. I have mixed feeling about it. I was a Navy officer and I had a young sailor under my command who murdered a civilian in a bar fight with an illegally concealed knife. In the states, he couldn’t have even been in the bar.

    I also know that young sailors were very carefully restricted with weapons on duty. Generally only petty officers were armed on shore patrol and in repel boarders teams and they were always over 21. Also, I think kids who serve in the military are a cut above the average kid. Most kids are even more immature. Plus, I think the age of majority has always been a states’ rights issue and I think it should not be delegated to the feds. Personally, I think we could save a lot of lives raising the driving age to 18.

    BTW, I learned to shoot a handgun at age 12 and had free access to guns and ammo after that. But no way should I have been carrying one around town

    • If kids are never given responsibilities they will never become more responsible. Making their moms have to drive them everywhere for 2 more years isn’t going to make them a safer driver when they are 18. I also hate when people say “I wasn’t mature enough at the age” or “I know some people that age I wouldn’t trust with that”. Well just because you or your friends weren’t responsible enough doesn’t mean everyone isn’t. There are some 40, 50, and 60 year olds that I wouldn’t trust with guns or driving a car. Does that mean no one should drive a car or have guns? Since you deem everyone under 21 not capable of carrying a gun does that mean we should take away their first amendment right to free speech too? No saying bad things about the government until you are 21. If a couple is under 21 can we force them to allow soldiers and police officers to live in their homes and search them whenever they want? Is cruel and unusual punishment ok for 8 year olds?



        I think .gov missed that memo. They have the ‘what are you going to do about it’ mentality.

        Seems another govt that held this land once held that viewpoint as well.

    • I was 19 in a squad with the oldest guy barely being 21 and we carried all mess of weapons around Afghan land, and managed to be completely safe without adult supervision

      • Right… but this guy was in the NAVY. Honestly, would you trust any of them with guns?

      • Surely that’s not correct. Think back, now, certainly you had a great variety of machine guns, possibly select-fire SBRs and such, along with unlimited supplies of free ammo, cases of grenades, but admit it, now, certainly not *handguns*! Oh, the humanity!

    • Personally, I know damn well we could save a lot of lives if we raised the driving age to 70. And I think it’s a wonderful idea, since I just turned (wait for it!) 70! What a coincidence. Cars were not invented to save lives, nor is that what they are sold for, today.

  7. I can’t think of a good reason why an 18 year old can enlist and vote but can’t buy a beer.
    Sure, young people are more likely to have impulse control issues, but those don’t magically disappear at age 21.

    • We should probably allow 18 year olds to buy and carry handguns, and to buy beer, but NOT to vote.

      Just kidding. We should be consistent. Its just that 18-20 year olds tend to vote for some unsavory candidates sometimes.

  8. As an 18 year old college student I definitely think the age should be lowered. However, many on this site including me are fans of constitutional carry so going by that instead of lowering the age requirement we should remove it. Nowhere in the constitution does it say rights can be taken away based on age. “the right of the people” not “the right of the people 18(or 21) and older.” Yes we all probably agree that a 5 year old shouldn’t be walking around alone with a gun on there hip but parents then shouldn’t allow like they don’t allow it now. But the problem comes with how is somebody exactly 18 years worthy of their rights but not someone 17 years 364 days old. Did they really mature and gain that much responsibility in that one day? No they didn’t. There is no reason a responsible 16 or 17 year old should not be allowed to carry a gun if they so choose. There parents may not allow them if they don’t feel they are ready or if they act irresponsibly with them (like brandishing) then the police will deal with them. If a 16 year old girl or boy though gets attacked they deserve their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms to defend themselves just like a 46 year old man or woman.

  9. The answer is maybe. I’m for 18, but I know some 60 year olds who I wouldn’t trust with either a drink or a gun.

  10. Of course. Unless they are police, then there should be series of tests, maybe even brain scans first. Those tests should then be annual.

  11. Got my first FID a week before turning 18 and joined the Army NG when I was 17 with consent. Got to use some heavy hardware in the military too. I think with the correct training perhaps. It certainly bears discussion. We had a real nub in our unit and eventually the DI’s got him squared away and he qualified ok in pistol, he shook like a lopey big-block on day 1 at the range.

  12. I can’t find a valid argument as to why we should have age restrictions, and at that, multiple levels. A constitutionally protected GOD-given right applies to all. Unfortunately, it brings with it the question of maturity and responsibility. If a 12 year old can demonstrate self-control then I’d rather see him carry instead of 21 year-old that can’t mow the lawn/take out trash @ MOM’s house! The caveat for me in regards to the law be age-uniform is this: We as Americans, have to stop babying our children. Although I’m working on this – I’m guilty of it myself. Stop giving out trophies-for-everyone, make them repeat grades, eat-this-or-go-hungry. I am dumbfounded that my father had a F/T job, own car, and self sufficient at 16 – vs. my 13yr old in-law nephew didn’t know how to operate nail-clippers!!! It is times like these I admire the Amish, that a 10 year old boy operates autonomously, saddle/hitch horse & buggy, help his parents raise ‘the children’, and begin a trade-skill (build a chair worth-a-damn). I’m all for, as a generality, accepting government-ruled ‘XX’ age is universally an adult (i.e. 18). But, we can’t also, at 17 pat little Johnny on the hand, and say, “It’s ok if you don’t want to try, we’re still proud of you.”!

    • “A constitutionally protected GOD-given right applies to all.”

      The larger problem is that an ever-growing mass of the US population doesn’t believe in ‘God-Given’ anything. They believe that rights are granted by the govt. or ‘allowed’ by consent of their pajama-wearing, latte-swilling brethren. To them, everything changes with the whim of society (and social media)

  13. Asks question if 18 year olds should be allowed to carry, shows picture of 12 year old with a gun.

    TTAG has had a derp moment.

    • I was more concerned with his off hand grip. But his concentration and stare tell me he is in control.

  14. All of you against 18 year olds carrying are just helping out the gun grabbers. They say all people except police cannot be trusted with firearms and our argument is always that we have the constitutionally protected right to bear arms. If you then say it is ok to take the right to bear arms away from this class of citizen though, strictly because of there age then you are acknowledging that the gov’t can take away a constitutionally protected right. If you let them take away the right from 18-21 year olds whats to stop them from expanding that age group to 60 year olds because 60 is the magic number where you have enough wisdom to carry a firearm.

  15. Some say that 18-20 year olds are irresponsible and thus as a whole should be prevented from carrying. My response to this is that I should not be denied my rights based of the maturity level of some entitled frat kid any more than you should be based on the actions of the people that show up in ttag’s irresponsible gun owner of the day segments. It is an affront to the idea of due process that an individual be denied their rights based on the actions of another person who just so happens to fit in the same box as you. In addition, when you think of a stereotypical irresponsible young adult that you wouldn’t want carrying, do you really picture someone who would go through the time, effort, and inconvenience of getting a carry permit and following through by carrying, let alone even having the thought cross their mind?

  16. You should be allowed to carry, concealed or openly, as soon as you physically can. Requiring someone wait till they are 18, much less 21, is a denial of a natural right.

    Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (correctly) stated free speech does not begin at 18. To treat the second amendment any differently than the first is saying that the right to keep and bear arms can be infringed. Any reason to the contrary is just recycled disarmament lies that have long been disproven.

  17. Kind of off-topic with respect to guns, but the 21 year-old drinking age has got to be one of the worst ideas in our constellation of laws. Laws, especially criminal laws, should codify what sort of behavior is considered beyond the pale in society at large, and thus behavior that society is willing to use force in punishing. Yet the social norm in the US seems to be that young people get introduced to alcohol in high school, if not before, and that fact seems to have remained stable for decades. When legislative bodies enact laws that the general population routinely flouts, when it shows no inclination to change that, it exposes the law to ridicule as both clueless and impotent. Further, as the law is so universally ignored, it fails utterly to accomplish its stated purposes. Finally, what would be accomplished if we actually were to begin comprehensively enforcing such a law? We’d succeed mainly in using a great deal of government violence on teenagers, saddling them with the stain of criminality, for something it would be perfectly legal to do a few years down the road – all in the name of protecting them. I’m sorry, that’s insane.


  18. Being able to carry a firearm without randomly shooting people isn’t a difficult task. The military does it all the time. The age thing is simply a social construct of mistrust for one of the most easiest of tasks. Driving requires far more than carrying a loaded a weapon and yet we literally allow sub 16 year olds to do it all the time.

  19. Yes, 18 year-old ADULTS should be able to carry openly or concealed.

    It isn’t difficult to figure out. Is a bad guy maiming/killing? If yes, then you can draw and shoot. If not, don’t draw and shoot. Any 18 year old can handle that. Just ask Vermont where you can carry openly or concealed at age 16.

  20. Either they’re too dangerous to make critical decisions like shoot/don’t shoot/vote, or they’re not. Pick one.

    I say let them carry for one reason. At 18, the parents are no longer legally responsible for the child, and as such are not legally required to defend them. Police are not legally responsible for your defense at any age. So denying 18 year old adults the right to effectively defend themselves is immoral. So either raise the age of responsibility, or let them be responsible for themselves.

  21. Like many things in life your mileage may vary. It depends on the individual and the effort they put in (training and logic mostly)…

    The Government should leave it to the People they serve… Spare us your Nanny State nonsense… If you take the training and pass the vetting process I say carry on!!!

      • Very good point… Thanks for replying JWM.

        Should the government mandate the right to carry? Hell no…

        Should the individual know enough about firearms safety and the law to stay out of the poky and avoid shooting people and things they don’t intend to? I’m thinking that’s a very good idea…

        Should that training be mandatory is the slippery slope I seem to be struggling with… Being Liberty minded I have to say no… Leave it to the individual to decide how they will use their right…

        Thanks again Sir… I needed that… 🙂

        • I think the reasonable compromise, when it comes to concerns about untrained people wielding firearms, is to provide universal training on firearms through the public schools. That way, no extra bureaucratic hurdles are created to exercising a constitutional right, while any problem with untrained firearm owners is minimized.

        • Dave, I agree. With a mandated 1-day course on firearms given close to the end of senior year, the firearms IQ of the nation would positively skyrocket, as those kids would refute the lies being passed around by the ignorant/evil. Hands on, with dummy cartridges and no firing pins, hand them around and let people see what they are.

        • Yep. Solves a lot of problems. If they have condom safety in schools, a form of gun control(bit of a stretch, i know) they can teach basic gun safety and handling.

          Gun training is a good thing. It just can’t be required and stay within the boundaries of the constitution.

        • 1 day senior year? Time was kids a lot younger than seniors carried a rifle to school because they were part of the school’s team.

          1 day a year for every grade level over say… grade 5 seems more reasonable. Hell, you can make it “Firearms Fridays” and take the kids out to the range every week for all I care. It’s not like the kids are learning anything useful in the public education system now so no one can argue it would be an educational loss. Billy and Sally aren’t gonna learn basic math, history, science, economics or anything else that’s useful so you might as well take 20% of their time and make it firearms instruction where they actually do learn something useful.

  22. The absurdity of laws as applied to youth firearms ownership and carrying is mindboggling. My 19 year old daughter owns two pistols and two rifles. If she goes to the range with her Beretta Neos she can’t buy .22LR ammo. If she takes her 10/22 she can. If she takes her SR9C she can’t buy ammo, but if she takes her 30-30 she can. She can’t get her CHP until she is 21, yet she can open carry all she wants. The myriad of conflicting laws are downright asinine. I guess what really boggles me is that our elected officials don’t even seem to care.

    • When I was 20 I had this argument about a .40 cal carbine with the guy at Wal-Mart. Finally I just said screw it and went over to the LGS where they knew me and would sell me .40.

  23. If you’re old enough to join the military, you’re old old enough to carry and purchase any gun you want. If we trust you enough to defend millions of Americans with advanced weaponry, I think we can trust you to defend yourself with a handgun. If you fvck that up, then there are consequences; however you have to fvck up first.

    People always talk about “compromise”, without really paying attention to what the definition of what that word actually means. But wouldn’t a compromise be “allowing” 18 yo with no criminal or drug abuse history to open carry handguns, legally purchased by a family member?

    • What does the military have to do with anything? Grown ass men soldiers aren’t even allowed to carry personal firearms on base! Those few who carry duty weapons are under supervision and may only do so while on duty.

      Even in combat, where only a tiny, tiny percentage of military members actually serve and the situation is 180 degrees opposite a peaceful home country civilian environment, they’re still supervised.

      In practical terms, the thrust of your comparison is “Hey, we let wayward 18 year olds shovel bird crap off runways in Guam, or serve up powdered eggs in the bowels if some ship at sea, so why not let them carry a firearm in public in busy, stressful cities? It’s basically the same thing.”

      • But isn’t it the case that if one really wants to be assigned a combat MOS, they’ll get one? Sure, the vast majority of servicemembers will shovel guano or perform other support jobs, but if you really are motivated to carry an M4 or M240 or whatnot, you can get that job. Even at 18.

        You’re either an adult at 18 or you’re not. With everything that involves — voting, enlisting, drinking, and keeping/bearing arms. Any other position is inconsistent, which is more characteristic of the antis than us.

  24. I am for universal endowment of rights at the point that society deems one an adult regardless of what that age is. Buy and carry a firearm, smoke, drink, sign binding contracts, enlist, and vote should be all or nothing. Right now that is at 18 so at 18 it should be the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

    I am also in favor of extending those rights as privileges to minors with jobs. If you are old enough to work and contribute to the economy and government through taxes you should have a right to say how that money is spent. (No taxation without representation right?) If society gives you the ability to vote it is silly to not give the rest of the package too.

    • Great. Soooo…’re cool with your 15 year old daughter, who bags groceries at the local supermarket, dropping out of school, leaving home, and running away with a 40 year old man she met on the Internet? Adult decisions for our little economy contributor, right?

      • Actually, yes! If your 15-year-old daughter is that desperate to get away from your home, she should be allowed to do so, as long as it does not cost the taxpayer (me) anything. And if she has been working long enough to have bought a handgun, she should be able to carry it with her, concealed or not.

  25. If the age of legal emancipation is 18 then why would any of your rights be restricted until some later arbitrary date/age? The idea of waiting until you are ‘adult enough at age X’ to exercise this other rights that we have withheld from you because you weren’t adult enough yet is as arbitrary and specious as magazine limits.

    • Except it isn’t arbitrary. The quality of decisions made by age groups vary.

      Did you keeo your kids in a crib until age 18? Of course not. You afforded them greater responsibility as they grew up and demonstrated greater maturity. Why does that model fall off a cliff at 18?

      It doesn’t and shouldn’t. There are still some things most people are not quite ready to handle on their own at age 18.

      • So parents should have control/responsibility until their kids turn 25? Since I understand the brain is finally complete somewhere after 23? How about a compromise, for those of us who have been made aware that it is essentially impossible to maintain control of a 17-yr-old, maybe 16, and would rather not be responsible for those “children’s” misdeeds until they are 25, let’s call it 18 and be done with it!

      • “..The quality of decisions made by age groups vary”

        So it’s OK for an 18 year old to do this thing that could have serious consequences, like financial aid for school for example, but they aren’t mature enough to do this other thing that could have serious consequences, like handgun ownership.

        Do you realize how much you sound like the anti-rights crowd? Only this group if whomevers is capable of handling the awesome responsibility that is gun ownership, the rest of you just can’t handle it.

  26. NO, just because the law considers them an adult doesn’t mean they are mentally ready to carry a firearm without supervision. I roomed with a friend at age 19 and i had a gun. i found out later, that he would regularly show it off to people and even fire it outside, inside city limits, without my knowledge. this is a PRIME example of why it should be 21, the same to buy liquor. if you are stupid enough to think to yourself “well sounds like you need better friends” then you being incredibly intellectually dishonest. we all know people like this at one point in our lives so to act as if my friend was a fluke, is absurd.
    alot of guys on here think the only way they can champion gun rights appropriately, is to let every and anyone have access to them unrestricted in every way possible. that is a non sequitur of magnanimous proportions. and quite frankly, its idiotic.
    I know, I know, they get more than that if they are in the military but they are under supervision in the military, so it doesn’t quite match up.

    • No, you did’t need better friends. You needed to make better decisions. You left a firearm in a situation where someone who shouldn’t have had access to it did. That’s on you. You wouldn’t let your grandfather with Alzheimer’s have access to his old .44 mag so why the hell would you let some incompetent jackass have access to a gun?

      Whether you like it or not what happened is ultimately your fault because you failed to properly secure your firearm. It’s no different than if your kids play with a gun and shoot a friend. It’s your gun therefore it’s your responsibility. You failed. Own up to that, learn from it and don’t do it again.

  27. There’s a big difference between enlisting at 18 and a civilian carrying a gun at 18.

    18 yo enlisteds are servants of the State. An armed 18 yo civilian is not. Clearly, servants of the State are superior to independent men.

    At least, that’s what the State would have you believe.

    18 yo voters are also special favorites of the State, since they’ve had a lifetime of indoctrination and no time to figure things out on their own. They’re more impressionable than people who are even a few years older, so the State trusts them to be good little statists.

    BTW, I’ve known a lot of 18 yo guys who carried. Lots.

    • Apparently, Chicago knows lots of 12-15-yr-olds who carry, too. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

  28. Neuroscience is much more advanced than in generations past. We know now that the prefrontal cortex and its linkages are not fully formed until age 25. These areas are responsible for cause and effect reasoning, risk assessment, and most importantly, impulse control.

    The old 18 or even 21 cutoff ages were created in the context of much shorter life expectancies, much lower average I.Q.s, and much less potential impact on others from one person’s poor judgment. In modern society, the stakes are much higher and most 18 year olds don’t have it in them to carry a firearm responsibly. My biggest concern isn’t so much blood in the streets feuds, but rather negligent discharges.

    Just ask the insurance companies, the hotel companies, and the car rental companies about who’s mature and skillful enough, at what ages, to warrant taking on major responsibilities. There’s a reason males’ premiums are higher than females’, why everyone’s premiums are higher before 25, and why virtually nobody can rent a car before 25 or a room at a legitimate hotel before 21.

    Let 18 year olds own firearms, at home. That’s fine. Let them get some ownership experience first before roaming the streets armed. Now, if specific under-21s want to get a special carry license, just like certain under-16s can get a driver license or even be emancipated, then ok. Let’s set some standards for that amd worthy 18-20s who have proven themselves acn carry, but not all of the as a matter of course.

    • “In modern society … most 18 year olds don’t have it in them to carry a firearm responsibly.”

      And your evidence of that is what exactly?

      In my state a 16 year old can go hunting without an adult. That means a 16 year old with a loaded shotgun or rifle expecting — hoping — to shoot at an animal. I have yet to learn of a single negligent discharge/injury from anyone age 16 to 21 years old.

      You are overcomplicating the idea and assessing way more risk than is really there. All a person has to do is acquire a proper fitting holster that covers the trigger of the handgun and keep that handgun in the holster. If they can do that — and it isn’t rocket science — there won’t be negligent discharges. Finally, the carrier knows that they cannot draw their handgun unless a “reasonable person” in their shoes would agree that a violent, life-threatening attack is imminent.

      That’s it. You keep the handgun in a proper fitting holster. And you don’t draw unless a horrific violent attack is imminent. Both requirements are exceedingly simple and any 16 year old, much less 18 year old, can handle that.

  29. Most people do not mentally mature these days until around 21, We need uniformity but the government loves its taxes so naturally driving to a job gets an exception. That said 18 Y/o should have the right to carry a gun, but being able to doesn’t mean they should carry.

  30. Yes, 18 across the board. At that age a person should be considered a fully capable and accountable adult. I am not so sure the age shouldn’t be lower, but there are social, physiological and psychological consideration that make 18 seem the most reasonable legal age. For many thousands of years before our time people took on adult responsibilities and behaviors at far younger ages and it looks like the species got along just fine.

  31. I’m only going to point out that the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed to cut down on the number of drunk driving incidents along state borders.

    I lived 14 miles from Wisconsin when I turned 18. Wisconsin’s drinking age was 18, Illinois was 19 at the time, and way too many 18-yr-old “adults” from Illinois made a habit of driving up to the Wisconsin taverns and driving home after several too many.

    An 18-yr-old acquaintance of mine, driving home drunk, collided with another vehicle, resulting in a fatality.

    I don’t know what this has to do with gun rights, other than to point out that 18-yr-olds don’t always exhibit the maturity required to handle firearms responsibly. Of course that’s true at any age. The question becomes where to draw the line.

    • And now most drunk driving is by 21 year old adults.

      The most dangerous person in my experience is a 30-40 year old who decides they need a weapon and get one and are too embarrassed to ask for assistance in familiarizing themselves with it

      Women are less likely if they make the purchase themselves.

      If we expect people to behave with their freedoms, they usually do. Not all. Will always be the case.

  32. I say let ’em carry. In my father’s time the drinking age was 18. If you chose to get drunk, drive, and as a result injured or killed someone, the law dealt with you. Same thing for guns. Send an errant round into a bystander and Johnny Law will knock. It’s called taking personal responsibility, and in Obama’s kingdom of 26 year old children we need lots of it, now more than ever.

    Fiddling with legal ages and “preventative legislation” does nothing. Drinking culture itself became much more reckless and self-destructive in the past 30 years, so more young people died. The age got bumped up to 21 by MADD, or as I call them, Daughters of the American Temperance Movement. Nothing has changed, and it may have even gotten worse.

    Conversely, lessening restrictions does not mean a rash of bad things will suddenly happen as the antis preach. Spree shooters, burglars, rapists, and other people intent on doing evil don’t wait until the proper legal climate to carry out their deeds because they’ve always been okay with doing so. They’re inherently broken people whose response to the rule of law has been two extended middle fingers since birth. You can not negotiate or pamper them, they will not listen. The only thing that stops evil is raw, naked force.

    TL;DR, let ’em carry and suffer the legal consequences if they screw up.

  33. Can’t even buy a handgun from an FFL until 21 which seems discriminatory to me.

    Some question here in FL whether an 18 year old can have a handgun in their car. The statute would seem to say yes, but LEO interpretation can vary (widely).

    Where I grew up you could buy beer (3.2) at 18 but whiskey or wine was 21 (took a lot of beers).

    Right across the state line, 19 was the magic number for all joy juice.

    If you can vote, go to war, and enter into legal agreements at 18 (basically a grown-ass man or woman), you should be able to defend yourself like anyone else.

    As Colonel Cooper used to say “reckless drinking affects us locally, but reckless voting affects us all”. (may have missed it a bit but essentially the point).

    It’s amazing how people accept responsibility when it is expected.

  34. I am 18 and living over 1000 miles from my family. I am prohibited from buying a handgun, but also, even if I could obtain one somewhere, I am prohibited from carrying it. Being “underage” and going to a university campus littered with “no weapons” signs is extremely frustrating.

  35. 10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    The question should not be, “Should 18-Year-Olds Be “Allowed” To Carry?”. The question should be, why are ALL 17 year-old, able-bodied males not being trained and issued arms to carry?

  36. I say 18 for everything since, for some reason, society is fixated on having these “cut offs”.

    I don’t care about the brain or what neurologists say. It’s 100% about parenting and discipline at home unless your kid has actual mental problems (in which case I feel sorry for you, that’s a tough road).

    I’ve never had a ND and I’ve been handling firearms since I can remember which is back into the single digits of age. “Kids aren’t responsible enough/aren’t mature enough” is a cop out. Kids were fine with guns 40+ years ago and our brains didn’t suddenly change in the last generation or three. Hell, we had guns on high school grounds in the “hands” of 18 year old kids where I grew up right up until fall semester 2000. 0 problems.

    The difference is that today there is no discipline from many parents because the parents don’t have any self discipline. Left a gun out and your kid found it and shot a friend? That’s your fault. Your kid’s 16 and running the streets? Again, your fault. Your kid graduated from high school but doesn’t know shit from shinola? Your fault on multiple levels.

    Sorry to you older folks, I’m not out to insult you or rattle your cage and I’m not picking anyone out here individually. However, I’m 32, the top end of the millennial age group and I didn’t turn out a screw-up because when I didn’t act right my dad beat my ass. The real truth on many, many levels is that a good chunk of the older generations didn’t do their civic duty because they were too busy doing something else and throwing money at their kids was an easy solution and a stand-in for real parenting. Well, when you’re asleep at the switch this is what you get.

  37. I just want to point out that 18 and 21 are not the only ages of adulthood floating around. Males in college are not considered adults until 24 according to FAFSA. You are apparently old enough to sign up to spend the college money at 18, old enough to drive and work, but still require yourself to be dependent on your parents taxes to qualify. Women can get around this by having children, because apparently teenage pregnancy is an adult behavior. This decision is terrible for folks that do not have financial support from their parents, yet their parents make decent or better income because it ruins your ability to get grants or loans.

    Just another example of inconsistency…

    • If emancipated, at least at my university, independent students, regardless of age, are actually eligible for more federal student aid.

      Nota Bene: I am not a financial aid specialist; if someone else knows better please share!

  38. I just read 88 posts with a lot of speculation and anecdotes. Lets try this: Missouri RSMo. Section 571.101, allows concealed carry permits to persons 19 and up, 18 and up if they are in the military. This has been the law since 2014. There has been no attempt by the Legislature or initiative petition to repeal the qualification for those 18, 19 and 20 years of age. That tells me responsible 18, 19 and 20 year old’s who get the training, do the FBI background check and pay the money for fees and equipment are doing just fine. Maine also allows active military residents and veterans age 18 and up to carry WITHOUT a permit.

  39. In the state of Montana you can get a Concealed Weapon Permit at 18 so that’s not a concern.
    What I would like is the federal law that you have to be 21 to buy a handgun and
    handgun ammunition be changed to 18. If it was not for that I would already have
    at lest one handgun or pistol-caliber-carbine.

  40. I’ve had my carry permit since I was 18. My dad had to buy my pistol & ammo for me until I turned 21, but I could legally carry. I actually carried a rifle or shotgun in my car when I was under 18, too.

  41. Yes and No, I’m a staunch second guy but I believe we need a gun ownership progression (I hate that FN word) process. An age where you can own and use certain guns and a progressive process where when you hit a certain age you can own and use others. Many children’s brains are ready for certain guns at 18 but most children’s brains aren’t fully developed until their 23 or older. Most of our mass killings have committed by persons under 23. Maybe the answer is a progression process. (ie you can’t own an AR until your 28 or 29)

    • Just spit balling here don’t shoot the messenger. Maybe a restriction on cartridge. Unless being used in a sanctioned event.

    • “…Maybe the answer is a progression process.”

      Sounds good.

      But no.

      To what other enumerated Rights should we apply this concept? If your brain isn’t fully formed until the average age of 23 why would we allow voting to anyone below that age? Voting is not just checking a box on a ballot, it is a huge responsibility that can affect the ENTIRE NATION!

      If your brain isn’t fully formed until the average age of 23 why would we allow those below that age to sign legal documents like a mortgage, or a will, or a credit card agreement? Those are all responsibilities that can have life-long impacts to an individual, or even to an entire community, if they get screwed up.

      If your brain isn’t fully formed until the average age of 23 why should those below that age be free from a police search of their home? The police are over that age so they already have fully formed brains and can take care of the 22 year old, make sure their best interests are being served by the police.

      There is an age where the line gets drawn, from here on out you are an adult and it is now your responsibility to ask questions about the things you don’t understand. Good luck and here’s your Adult Card that will get you into all the Adult Stuff that goes on.

      And if any of them screw it up…. isn’t that what we have laws for?

  42. Does it really matter, know of kids that carried at 12! Usually carried a stiletto, a door spring as it rips skin, in school; pens, pencils, belt buckles, spiral notebooks! baseball bats, chain with lock etc
    Point is if a kid want to commit carnage there are many ways outside of a gun! Hunter safety students are about 11-12
    yet they are trusted!
    this is just another way the Anti gunners drum up support!

  43. I am finding this discussion interesting.
    I would suspect the reason the age limits exist are to allow the youths to grow into their responsibilities. For example, 16 can drive on a limited basis. 18 can vote and drive anywhere, oh and enlist. 21 can drink. Not a bad idea, however, isn’t this Nanny State politics? I say normalize to 18 or 21, with the exception that anyone that is currently enlisted under the normalized age, can take advantage of certain “adult” activities. In other words, if normalized age is 21, and a kid is 18 and fighting for our country, he has earned the right to drink and carry. Shoot, if we trust some zit faced punk with driving an M1A1 in the sand box, we should trust him to drink and carry responsibly.

  44. I have no problem with legal age of drinking and firearms ownership and carry being 18.

    But, what I want to facilitate the latter (ownership/carry) is a full course of firearms training starting around age 11 or 12, in all government run schools.

    Start ’em off slow with pellet or BB guns, if necessary, learning target practice, so that breathing and trigger control and range discipline are ingrained.

    Then graduate to next steps, including .22 short, .22LR, etc, and finally in high school graduating to full power pistol/rifle competition.


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