Obviously, we disagree about normal 18 year olds’ ability to reason regarding use of guns. For the college girl being raped - your best point, I believe - that is tough as a gun is the best defense. Perhaps, the better approach goes back to my point about training. Frankly, I believe we gun owners should all seek out training as early and often as we can regarding proper use of guns for defense, as well as how to maintain our guns properly, and how to shoot accurately and safely. For those 18 to 20 year olds that want to own guns, this could be the solution - allow them to own guns if they have passed some minimal training (much like CCW permit holders have to do).
Regarding my comments about my being an avid gun owner and NRA Life Member - I only mentioned those things to dispel any concerns of my being anti-gun (I am very pro gun, in general).
Voting, drinking, smoking, et al - these things rarely, if ever, require split second life and death decisions, so not as important to have the additional training, wisdom, and everything else that should come with the extra few years of age.
Boot camp is not ‘magical’, but it is a lot more than what most people get for training in firearms. And regarding who is/isn’t an expert - I think most people have some expertise in something or other, but firearms safety - no, most 18 year olds would not be experts in that regard. Remember, there are other weapons that don’t have so many potential unintended hazards as firearms, but are still pretty effective. Think about it. Doesn’t it scare you that if you fire a gun in your home that if you miss the intended target (the perp), that the bullet could harm one of your neighbors? For that reason, I especially like shotguns (particularly 20 gauge) for most home defense, backed up by a small handgun for the really up-close defense (home or otherwise). Firing anything with extended range to it (such as an AR15 or AK47) inside an urban home is truly dangerous (my opinion), as the bullet could penetrate walls and easily still kill some innocent person.