Raise the standard minimum age for buying guns to 25 years

The national debate on gun violence often overlooks these two intertwined factors that combine to produce daily carnage: people under the age of 25 commit much of the gun violence, including mass shootings, and existing laws that require a minimum age for buying guns are all over the place.

Here’s a simple solution that addresses both: raise the minimum age across the states for buying a gun to 25 years.

Given the obvious public safety threats created by mixing guns and young people, federal law already requires people to be at least 18 years old to possess a handgun and 21 years old to buy one from a federally licensed dealer. But plenty of legal loopholes exist, such as the one that allows federally licensed dealers to sell a rifle to anyone of any age. Some states have minimum age requirements, but they constitute a hodgepodge of laws; state laws also close only some of the legal loopholes in federal law.

The remedy is straightforward: set a national minimum age. Then set it at 25, the age at which science tells the human brain is fully mature biologically, capable of impulse control as well as complex reasoning and decision-making.

For more information, see “There’s a simple way to reduce gun violence: Raise the gun age” The Washington Post (2016).

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