Guns for 18-21: How do you feel? (Old Guys Welcome)

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.


There we agree.

And you’re back off the rails. If the government can restrict the exercise of a CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHT by one group through licensing/training standards/etc, what is to stop them from extending said restrictions to everyone. Guess what, now it’s not a right but a privilege subject to the whim of politicians.

Pepper spray? A stun gun/taser? You ever notice that when police deploy those against violent aggressors, there’s always a second officer there with a REAL firearm drawn in case they fail which they do more often than not? Find me ONE defensive tool that levels the playing field between your average 130# woman, and a 180# 18-25yo male assailant. I’m not talking about Ronda Rousey vs some middle aged couch potato, but your average woman who DOESN’T spend hours a day training in martial arts vs a moderately fit/testosterone through the roof/statistically likely to commit a violent felony 18-25yo male. I wont hold my breath.

Not that this has anything to do with the subject at hand(age), but see my responses in the “30-30 vs 7.62x39” thread here. The science doesn’t back up your opinion.


Here is one reason I think concealed carry should be allowed for 18+, and it’s personal experience.

About a year and a half ago (at the aforementioned ripe old age of 18), I was the party at fault in a fender-bender at a local Wal-Mart. My 7-year old sister was in the back seat, so I immediately turned around to check on her.

Next thing I knew, the other driver was in my front passenger seat, yelling and ranting. In my car.

Because of the laws we’re discussing, I was nervous about so much as keeping the gun in my center console. That day, I made a conscious decision to leave it at home. And in that moment, I regretted that choice.

Long story short, I’m fine. My sister is fine. The incident did not escalate any further, and I was happy to let it go at that. (Heck, I don’t think we ever were in danger, I credit that to God.) But it was a valuable lesson on just how fast something can go downhill.

I’ve been in a couple other situations where I could not have a gun, and might have needed one. It’s not fun. Although every 18-21 year old may not face dangerous circumstances during those three years, I have. Being deprived of that right severely limits my options. And I don’t like that.


I don’t shop at the stores that have instituted this policy anymore. I also think the pistol age should be dropped. My kids are learning proper gun safety and shooting. When my daughter goes to college, what’s she supposed to do if that takes her into bad neighborhoods? Why doesn’t she get to have the right to defend herself? Therefore IMO at the age when kids commonly go off on their own, they should be able to buy anything and CC. I also agree with the thinking that when you’re an adult, you should be treated as an adult, but because of the reasoning I just presented, I’m against raising the age for all “adult” things to 21 or whatever.


CzechsixTV - actually, from what I have seen personally, as well as on many videos, rifle rounds in general do overpenetrate when it comes to home defense. Of course, someone well versed in the various types of ammo could find some rounds that overcome that problem. Do you really suppose the average 18 year old goes that far - to do the research and know the limitations of the gun and ammo he/she uses?

Regarding constitutionally protected right - I am not sure that 18 year olds are specifically protected by the constitution. The general public - yes. What about 17 year olds? They seem to be left out of the equation, but could still be attacked, raped, or worse. Should we allow them to own and carry guns, too? Yes, it is a slippery slope as to where to draw the line and trusting the government to properly draw that line is gambling, at best. This is where different state governments, even local governments, draw their own lines and the locals can either attempt to change their government’s rulings, or move. So, yes, the federal government should develop the most flexible rules and let the local or state governments develop them more strictly as they see fit, subject to their constituents’ will.

But, to your point of right versus privilege - absolutely agree that gun ownership by adults is a right, not a privilege. It seems we may differ in opinion as to what constitutes an adult for gun ownership.

Lots of private citizens successfully defend themselves with sub-lethal weapons. Yes, guns are the all-great equalizers (person’s size and age don’t matter much). But again, proper use is the key. And, if a person is willing to get some minimal training (CCW permit training is already established by each state - so what is the issue, here? Yes, an anti-gun government could get ridiculous about it, but that is already a risk for CCW, but it does not seem to be getting out of hand anywhere I know of. So, to have any/all persons do some minimal training - perhaps that could be a high school senior course? - then, 18 year olds would much more likely be mentally qualified to own guns.

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Are you under the impression that someone in their thirties suddenly becomes a critical thinker, researching the minutia of their decisions? The fact is, as people get older they get more set in their ways and LESS likely to do research. They simply stick with what they heard/were taught, right or wrong, regardless of the validity.

Again, the question is at what age is someone an adult? At 18 you are no longer a minor. At 18 you get to vote(the bedrock of CITIZENSHIP). At 18 you are EMANCIPATED and legally fully responsible for your own actions.

The constitution doesn’t protect “the general public”, it is meant to protect EVERY free US citizen. Before you say that voting or traveling is limited for minors, see my above statement of being EMANCIPATED. Until one reaches the age of 18, under current law, they are legally a ward of their parent(s)/guardian(s) unless emancipated by the court(which is extremely rare).

The police/state/government have ZERO legal duty to protect anyone, only “the general public”. Under the age of 18, parents ARE legally responsible for the safety of their children(again, unless emancipated by the court). Above the age of 18, parents have NO SUCH LEGAL OBLIGATION. That leaves >18yo’s wholly responsible for their own safety. This is a large reason the '68 GCA only raised the age to purchase pistols to 21 and not long guns. The justification was “we’re not taking protected 2A rights away from free people, they can still buy a long gun to defend them self at 18”.

So you think it’s better for lower governments to trample on peoples rights? So can Utah pass laws making Mormonism the official state religion and the practices of any other a crime? Can Vermont(94% white) bar minorities from voting? In Vermont whites are the “general” public, anyone else can just move right?
Well hell, why didn’t blacks just move out of the Jim Crow south?

Haven’t spent much time in NY, NJ, CA, RI, or HI have you? Have you looked at Illinois(and more specifically Chicago) law prior to McDonald v Chicago? Or how DC used training and storage requirements to prevent almost all firearms ownership, including it being a felony to keep a gun loaded IN YOUR HOME(even with a license) for self defense?

See above.

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CzechsixTV - I am getting the impression that no matter what, you and I will tend to disagree with most things. So, let’s just agree to disagree. (For the record, yes, in my thirties I view things far more critically/in more detail, than I ever did in my teens or twenties. I look at things in even more detail now.)


Correction to my prior post: …in my thirties, I viewed…

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I agree with 58marine.


Hi folks.
Not offering any dispute on this subject, but I would suggest that in 18th century life moved at a much different pace. I haven’t really researched anything, but I’m fairly sure that there were a lot of teenagers helping to put meat on the table and participating in militia activity. They may even have been tipping a few mugs at the tavern and starting families.

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radagast - you make an excellent point - that being, that with the right circumstances, younger people can rise to the challenge that life requires. So, I am thinking now it is more about training, than age.


I am thinking now it is more about training, than age.

100% agree!

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IMO, the age is pointless. It’s an infringement and nothing more than feel good legislation to say “we did something!”. I’ve had a gun since i was 10. Of course, i was taught how to use it, back in the day when , if you screwed up, you literally got a knot on your head. I agree that training is critical. I take my daughter to the range with her friends (13-14 yr olds) all the time. Some of these kids have never shot a gun before. A couple trips and they learn discipline and start to become proficient. Now, knowing these kids, without having been taught, i would never suggest they have a gun at an early age. This is where parenting comes in. If your kids show an interest, get them in some classes or at least with a competent instructor. I would consider support of requiring some type of training before purchasing a firearm if i thought that wouldn’t end up with government overreach taking too much control.


KeithP - I absolutely agree that we should start training our kids from an early age. I first started shooting (a .22 rifle), at age 10. Supervision and coaching of such young adults with guns is critical. Also, control of access to the guns - not letting them have any kind of access without your being there with them. My focus was on uncontrolled access (ie - young gun owners living away from their parents). I suppose with enough of the right training, 18+ year olds can manage okay. I do still wonder if they would always make the same decisions when confronted by criminals as the parents would.


Great post John. Exactly how I feel

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Thanks, Mister_Torgue.

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Nope. Thats kind of the whole issue. It’s not really a number (age) thing as it is a life experience thing. At 18, you’re barely learning to put the toilet seat down after you piss. By your early 20s, you’ve had some “Oh Sh!t” moments. It’s impossible to put an exact age to this because things happen when they happen. Life experiences are the only way one can reasonably predict how certain situations are going to unfold.



To CzechsixTV’s point about a college girl getting raped - how is she supposed to defend herself if she is unable to buy a gun under the age of 21 - in very obvious cases like that where it is an immediate threat that won’t stop until after the damage is done, allowing the college girl to have a gun makes a lot of sense and the outcome is likely the same as it would be even if she was in her thirties, forties, or beyond. But, from what I have seen and heard so far (personal experience plus news), most cases are not so simple. The problem is, we never know which kind of attack it would be that at any particular age we would encounter. This goes back to the training - yes, it helps, no - it does not totally replace wisdom, but what else can we do ? That is where the different views have their merits with no single, perfect answer.

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We did an exercise with my daughter one day. She had a holstered 1911 and my buddy was the runner. They stood shoulder to shoulder, facing opposite directions. The runner yelled “GO” and ran as fast as he could, She had to draw (open carry) and fire a center mass shot at the same time. 10’ is her best draw/shoot from open carry. Think about that… a unsuspecting girl is ambushed suddenly. There is no time to draw a firearm unless the attacker is at least 10’ away, or further, when she recognizes the threat. That is a best case scenario. You cant always get to your gun in the time you have available. The first thing i taught my daughter, before guns, is what to do with a knife. IMO, everyone should have a blade on them. One quick stab to the armpit is all you need.
All that being said, i know of many situations where a woman i knew personally, simply presented her firearm and her “followers” changed their mind. every situation is different. It’s not possible to write blanket legislation to solve all our problems. I’ll take my risky freedom over a safety bubble any day.

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This is such an important point that I needed to quote it.

I’ve got a razor sharp carbon steel knife always on me and also several in various random spots in the house and cars.

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