Share this article

print logo

Letter: Raising age to purchase guns is unconstitutional

Raising age to purchase guns is unconstitutional

In the recent highly polarized debate over firearms ownership and use, the idea that people under age 21 should be restricted from purchasing and/or possessing firearms has been suggested. Currently two major corporations, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, have accepted the premise that citizens under 21 should not be allowed to purchase, and by extension possess, firearms.

The effort to “raise the age” of firearms ownership through either legislation or individual corporate policy change is a result of focused pressure from national gun control organizations, some of which support incremental paths to a complete prohibition of privately owned firearms. Raising the age of firearms ownership to 21 is legally and constitutionally problematic in the sense that firearms ownership is a protected civil right.

While decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court have suggested that the exact type of firearms to be sold and possessed may be subject to some form of governmental limitation, those decisions do not affirm the idea that this right can be limited to the point of substantial infringement by rather arbitrary age limitations.

It stands to reason that if an individual is able to exercise his right to vote at 18, and if male citizens are mandated to register with the Selective Service for the purposes of a nationwide military draft at 18, then the right to keep and bear some form of firearm also begins at 18.

Matthew D. Williams

Orchard Park

There are no comments - be the first to comment