Monday, March 12, 2018


News story passed along on Twitter: 
"The NRA [National Rifle Association ...]
just sued Florida based on the astounding 
argument that 18 year olds have a constitutional
right to buy assault rifles."

On this issue, I'm kind of with the NRA, which is something that hasn't happened much since I quit high school ROTC and the rifle team (in the 1950s) and since the NRA was taken over by fanatics.

I'll get in the argument this far, with my standard comment on young adults but with a bit of a twist: As is frequent, a wide-spread problem in the US about which we must DO SOMETHING!! is shifted to the schools and to young people. Mass shootings are only a small proportion of US gun deaths; most mass shootings do not occur in schools; the great majority of shooters in mass shootings are White males between the ages of 20 and 49, not teens. 

Humans mature into our social roles at different speeds and in complex ways, some people living long lives but never making it to adulthood. "The age of majority," therefore — when one gets pretty much the full rights and responsibilities of adulthood — is always somewhat arbitrary. That is *not*, however, a good argument for adulthood by degrees, but for setting a minimally ambiguous age of majority, enforcing it, and, in a manner appropriate in a secular republic, ritualizing it with some brief ceremony/"rite of passage." 

Old enough to be conscripted to take up weapons in defense of the country, old enough to vote. Old enough to function as a sovereign citizen electing officials and voting on referendums, old enough to buy legal psychotropic drugs such as ethyl alcohol (street names: booze, "drink" ...). Old enough to buy booze, old enough to keep and bear legal firearms: which I'd have bolt or pump-action, single-shot, small caliber long-guns unless one has a really good reason for something more deadly — plus a background check, training, and a license that needs periodic renewal after testing at least as rigorous as for initial drivers' licenses.

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