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What are the positions on gun control? Show more Show less

There are more than 300,000,000 guns in the United States. Guns have claimed the lives of more American citizens than all the wars since the American revolution put together. With guns holding a unique place in the American psyche, should there be measures in place to limit gun ownership? What should these measures look like?

Gun ownership should be controlled Show more Show less

The Second Amendment doesn't grant unlimited rights. The government can limit ownership in some cases.
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Gun ownership should be limited to those over 21

Only those over the age of 21 should be permitted to own a firearm.
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age gun control guns

Context

Current federal law sets the minimum age of handguns to 21, but 18-year-olds can buy assault-style weapons like AR15s.[1] There are also loopholes which allow 18-year-olds to purchase handguns at a gun show or from private collectors. They can also legally receive them as a gift from a parent or guardian.

The Argument

The minimum age of all gun ownership should be increased to 21 and all loopholes that allow 18-year-olds to obtain weapons should be closed. Teenagers' brains are not yet fully developed, and they do not have the mental capacity or impulse control to own guns.[2] Teenagers brains are not fully developed and have difficulty in fully evaluating risk. Keeping guns out of the hands of teenagers may go some way towards reducing gun deaths. It could help prevent school shootings and make schools in the United States a safer place.[3] There is also evidence to suggest that it could reduce the rate of suicide.[4][5]

Counter arguments

Setting the legal age of procurement at 21 won't stop school shootings or mass killings. The average age of a mass shooter in the United States is 34.[6] As the 18-21 demographic is not the biggest culprit in mass shootings, there is no reason to limit their gun rights. Nor are they the biggest culprits in gun-related homicide cases. 18-21-year-olds commit far fewer firearm offences than the 20-24 demographic. Raising the minimum age of firearm ownership to 21 doesn't make any empirical sense. It is just an arbitrary age introduced by people who want to take guns away.[1] If anything, taking guns away from the 18-21 demographic leaves one of the most vulnerable segments of the population without protection. They are not the biggest gun offenders but are the biggest victims of gun-related crimes and violent crime more generally. This demographic needs guns for protection more than any other age group.[1]

Framing

- Older people are more likely to make good decisions.

Premises

[P1] Teenagers' brains are not fully developed to evaluate risk. [P2] They should not be permitted to own weapons.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The 18-21 demographic is not the most dangerous gun-owning demographic. A rise in the minimum age for gun ownership would be unfair. They are actually the biggest targets of violent crime. Therefore, they need guns as protection more than any other age group.

Proponents

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Further Reading

Webster, Daniel W. “Association Between Youth-Focused Firearm Laws and Youth Suicides.” JAMA, vol. 292, no. 5, 2004, pp. 594–601. Crossref, doi:10.1001/jama.292.5.594.

References

  1. https://takecareblog.com/blog/do-18-year-olds-have-a-constitutional-right-to-guns
  2. https://www.thetrace.org/2019/02/rifle-purchase-age-gun-policy/
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-wide-wide-world-psychology/201506/why-are-teen-brains-designed-risk-taking
  4. https://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/minimum-age/
  5. https://www.rand.org/research/gun-policy/analysis/minimum-age/suicide.html
  6. https://www.heritage.org/firearms/commentary/6-reasons-gun-control-will-not-solve-mass-killings

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 8 Apr 2020 at 13:24 UTC