After the tragic Parkland mass shooting in 2018, Florida lawmakers raised the age to purchase a long gun in Florida to 21. You already have to be 21 to buy a handgun, so this almost entirely removes 18-20 year-olds’ ability to buy a gun for self-defense. Now, some Republican lawmakers are now fighting to roll back that change and restore young Floridians constitutional rights.
A group just introduced the Minimum Age for Firearm Purchase or Transfer Act, which would lower the age to purchase a firearm in Florida back down to 18. The bill is being pushed by state Representatives Bobby Payne, Tyler Sirois, Randy Fine, Ralph Massullo, and Bob Rommel.
This push deserves widespread support. Depriving 18, 19, and 20-year-old adults of their constitutional right to self-defense was always an immoral restriction that did not actually make us any safer.
Think about it like this. We never would accept laws that say, make the right to free speech only apply to those age 25 and up. We would never accept legislation allowing police to unreasonably search and seize from those under 23. The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that the Second Amendment establishes an individual constitutional right to keep and bear arms—so how the heck can that right possibly be taken away from an entire demographic of legal adults simply based on their age?
And the idea that such a restriction would stop mass shootings has always been a complete farce.
In practice, legally restricting the age to purchase alcohol to 21 does not and has never actually stopped 18-20 year-olds from getting their hands on booze. And, unfortunately, your average disturbed, would-be school shooter is going to be much more determined to circumvent the legal requirement than your average high schooler simply looking to get buzzed. It wouldn’t be very difficult for them to have someone of age purchase the gun for them, as the Columbine shooters infamously did.
On the other hand, the countless young Americans who would abide by the legal age restrictions on firearm purchases are the exact law-abiding citizens we don’t need to be worrying about.
Good for these Florida Republicans for targeting this unjust restriction even though it’ll inevitably mean they face bad-faith smears about not caring about children’s safety. Here’s hoping that age-based gun control goes down in flames—in Florida and in all the other states where it has taken root.