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“At 18 years of age, law-abiding citizens in this country are considered adults for almost all purposes and certainly for purposes of the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights,” claims Chris Cox , executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. The NRA’s taking the issue to court. They’re challenging the 1968 federal law that prohibits 18-to-20-year-olds from purchasing handguns from federally licensed dealers and Texas’ 1995 concealed-handgun license law, which sets 21 as the minimum age for packing heat undercover. Specifically, the NRA’s got the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Texas Department of Public Safety in its crosshairs. Neither of whom are commenting. The Brady Campaign and the New York Times are not nearly as tight-lipped . . .

“This is an unprecedented attempt to arm teenagers … even though most states currently restrict them from carrying a concealed weapon,” asserts Daniel Vice , senior attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Teen gang members could buy guns if this law is changed.”

‘Cause they can’t do it now, right?

While NRA officials and Thompson insist that 18-to-20-year-olds can be just as responsible as Texans over age 21 in possessing a handgun, Vice said the idea that college students could buy and carry guns is scary.

Almost as scary as the idea of a spree killer or a rapist preying on college students. But not quite. For some. Such as the solidly, resolutely, indefatigably pro-gun control folks at The New York Times.

The National Rifle Association keeps coming up with clever new ways to undermine public safety . . .

The Supreme Court has said nothing to suggest that the Second Amendment requires Americans to allow armed teenagers in their communities.

Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that young individuals ages 18 to 20 have a constitutional right to buy weapons and carry them loaded and concealed in public is breathtakingly irresponsible.

Young people in that age range commit a disproportionate amount of gun violence. F.B.I. crime data from 2009 shows arrests for murder, nonnegligent homicides and other violent crimes peaking from ages 18 to 20. That age group accounts for about 5 percent of the population but nearly 20 percent of homicide and manslaughter arrests, and nearly twice the number of such arrests for those ages 30 to 34, according to the F.B.I. figures.

What the N.R.A. should be doing is keeping our streets and our teenagers safer by working to extend the prohibition on guns sales to people 18 to 20 years old by licensed dealers to include unlicensed sellers at gun shows and elsewhere.

Like that’s gonna happen. I guess the Brady Campaign and the Times will never understand the practical differences between prohibition and prosecution.

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  1. If an 18 year old gets caught with a concealed weapon are they going to put him in juvenile detention? No, he is going to grown-folks jail. There is something inherently evil about a law with those effects.

  2. 18-20 year olds can defend their country but not themselves. They can vote but not celebrate an electorial victory with even a single beer. They can own powerful, semiautomatic rifles but not .22 caliber single-action handguns. In every state, they can drive a car, which is the most dangerous activity in the civilian world. Does any of this make sense? The way young Americans are treated reveals a degree of schizophrenia inherent in our laws that, sooner or later, must change. Either they are adults or they are children. They cannot be both.

  3. Sorry, but many 17 YOs are ready to be adults when many 23 YOs should not. I feel that under 21 should be able to have the protection of the law unless they wish to be adults. Kids that live with mommy and daddy or go to college are not really adult.
    I feel that it should be as easy as signing up to vote or get a DL to be an adult at 18. Sadly, most people are not ready by then. This does not give a killer protection, many 14 and 15 YOs have been tried as adults, but this can keep them from predatory salemen and lenders that could hurt them for many years after.

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