Nineteen children slain in a single classroom, along with two adults, but America’s extremes are simply lining up in their default positions on gun control. How about finding a compromise that could make a difference?
Gov. Kathy Hochul offered one good idea Wednesday, calling for a New York law to ban the sale of at least some rifles to those under age 21. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a bill for a national under-21 long-gun ban.
Yes, a federal court this month struck down California’s under-21 ban, but that was just two judges (with another disagreeing). It’s well worth testing what the Second Amendment really guarantees. (Those “conservative” Supreme Court justices sometimes surprise you.)
After all, the Golden State’s ban on buying handguns before 21 still stands, and that limit is common across the country.
Yep: You can purchase a Bushmaster at 18 in places where you can’t buy a pistol until you’re 21.
Indeed, in Buffalo as well as Parkland, the killers in all three couldn’t drink legally but could buy (or were gifted) their own weapons of war. (It’s still not certain whether the Uvalde shooter used a rifle as well as a handgun.)
The human brain is still maturing through age 21 or so; it’s the age when many mental illnesses typically first manifest. A ban on under-21 long-gun ownership won’t prevent you from hunting with an adult or going to a range; it would merely add another barrier to the slaughter of innocents.
We stand by our longtime call for truly universal background checks, longer waiting periods and, most important, a national ban on assault weapons — rifles with high muzzle velocity, rate of fire and so on. (Actually, we’d ban assault-style handguns, too, like the one used in last year’s Boulder, Colo., supermarket slay — but that’s another battle.)
Not all mass shooters use long guns, let alone semi-automatic ones, but it’s been the favorite weapon of these killers for years now. Yet the authors of the Second Amendment didn’t aim to make every American capable of mass slaughter. Home protection and hunting and are one thing — but what civilian needs an AR-15?
Yet, since such a ban seems impossible to get through Congress, how about at least (the very least) raising the age to own a long gun?
No, it won’t prevent all mass shootings, nor even all by teens. The kids might still be able to illegally acquire these rifles. But it’d be harder than just walking into a store and plunking down the cash.
“It won’t fix everything” is no excuse for doing nothing.