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Letter: People under 21 who want guns should join a service branch

People under 21 who want guns should join a service branch

There is opposition to the raising of the age to possess a long gun from 18 to 21. The National Rifle Association believes that this change would be a violation of the Second Amendment, infringing on gun ownership. The NRA’s argument is that at age 18 males and females may enlist in the military, shoot weapons and fight for the United States.

The First Amendment protections for free speech are not absolute. The Second Amendment right to bear arms is not absolute, either. No private citizen may legally buy or possess a machine gun, flame thrower or grenade launcher.

There is a way to reconcile the raising of the age, by using the Second Amendment language, referring to a “well-regulated militia.” It is perfectly fair to assume that any 18-year-old who wishes to possess a weapon should enlist in a “well-regulated militia,” such as any of the branches of the armed forces, including the Reserves and the National Guard or a college ROTC program.

During their training they would receive instruction on the proper use of the weapons in the arsenal of the United States. They would learn how to use these weapons in stressful situations. They would have target practice and continuous training throughout the time of their service. They would have instruction in the “rules of engagement” for the use of the weaponry.

If someone between the ages of 18 and 21 cannot qualify for service in a “well-regulated militia,” due to a physical or mental impairment, then he or she should have no constitutional right to “bear arms.”

Larry Finkelstein

East Amherst

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