Do you think that 18 years olds should be able to purchase a handgun? By federal law, 18 year olds, who can die for our country, cannot purchase a handgun at a firearms dealer or retail store. Currently, there is an NRA-backed case moving through the Fifth Circuit in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that the Federal law banning 18 year olds from purchasing a handgun from a licensed FFL dealer or firearms retailer is unconstitutional. The case Jennings v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosivesn originated in Texas.
First filed in September 2010, the suit originally involved a young man named James D’Cruz. D’Cruz, an 18-year old from Lubbock, Texas filed the suit against the BATFE. D’Cruz moved with his family to Florida and the suit now has three new plaintiffs, Rebekah Jennings, 19, Brennan Harmon, 19, and Andrew Payne, 18. Judge Sam Cummings ruled that it was not the court’s decision to determine the age restrictions. Further, he found under the Equal Protection Clause, that it did not violate the rights of the young adults. The NRA appealed the decision and on July 10, 2012, oral arguments began in this case.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 made it illegal for any FFL firearms dealer to sell a handgun to anyone under the age of 21, however, 18 year olds may purchase long guns from an FFL dealer. In some states, 18 years olds can purchase a handgun from an individual. The Second Amendment does not say a person has to be a certain age to bear arms. Historically speaking, we recognize an able-bodied adult at age 18. In fact, the Militia Act of 1792 requires men 18 years or older, and no older than 45 must enroll in the militia and arm themselves with a “good musket or firelock…” Further, David Thompson, an attorney with the NRA points out how none of our other constitutional rights has age restrictions, “All of our constitutional rights like the first amendment and the Fifth Amendment, apply to young adults at the age of 18.”
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action says, “If the law says you’re old enough to fight for your country, it should allow 18-20 year old adults to purchase and own a handgun for any lawful purpose.”
Besides this law being unconstitutional, there is no reason why a responsible 18 year old who can legally own a gun cannot purchase a handgun. Children, teenagers, and young adults taught firearms safety and shooting can handle long guns and handguns safely. In fact, Olympian Kim Rhode won a gold medal at age 17. For anyone who would like to argue the irresponsibility of young adults, the United States Department of Justice found that “boy who own legal firearms have much lower rates of delinquency and drug use and are even slightly less delinquent than non-owners of guns.”
Do you believe that the age limit be lowered to 18? Share your comments with us.The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!