We Shouldn't Let Young Men Own Semiautomatic Rifles

Columnist Ross Douthat thinks the right to own certain weapons should be phased in with age
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2018 2:27 PM CST
We Shouldn't Let Young Men Own Semiautomatic Rifles
A video monitor shows Nikolas Cruz, center, making an appearance before Judge Kim Theresa Mollica in Broward County Court Feb. 15.   (Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat supports the right of individuals to own weapons, but last week's massacre in Florida has him floating a specific compromise on gun control. In a New York Times op-ed, Douthat suggests limiting the rights of young people to own semiautomatic rifles such as the AR-15. "After all, the fullness of adult citizenship is not bestowed at once," he notes. "Driving precedes voting precedes drinking, and the right to stand for certain offices is granted only in your thirties." We could apply the same kind of principle to gun ownership.

For example, young adults could be allowed to own hunting rifles at 18, revolvers at 21, and semiautomatic pistols at 25. Only when a person hits 30 would he be allowed to buy a semiautomatic rifle. Douthat sees this as particularly targeted toward school shootings, which are almost always carried out by young men. Plus, "it offers a kind of moral bridge between the civic vision of Second Amendment advocates and the insights of their critics—by treating bearing arms as a right but also a responsibility, the full exercise of which might only come with maturity and age." Click for the full column. (More Nikolas Cruz stories.)

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