The lead editorial in Friday’s New York Times was entitled Handguns for 18-Year-Olds? As one has come to expect from the Times, the editorial was full of the trite phrases and misleading statistics used by gun banners along with their own sense of righteous indignation.
Undermine public safety. Scuttle basic gun controls. Common-sense efforts. The deadly loophole. The gun lobby. Gun traffickers. Allow armed teenagers. Unlicensed sellers. Powerful semiautomatic weapons. Reasonable restrictions. The Times’ editorial may have left out one or two phrases from the approved lexicon of the Brady Campaign but that’s all.
The editorial starts with the accusation that the NRA “keeps coming up with clever new ways to undermine public safety.” It then launches into a litany of supposed sins committed by the NRA including opposition to the Lautenberg proposal to ban firearm sales to anyone on the FBI’s “terrorist watch list” and to a requirement for NICS checks on private sales of firearms between individuals.
The Times gets in a plug for Andrew Traver, Obama’s nominee to head ATF, calling him a “well-qualified career professional”. They bemoan opposition to him by “the gun lobby” saying his “sin” was merely to associate with “a police chief’s group that wants to reduce the use of handguns on city streets.” That it was funded by the virulently anti-gun Joyce Foundation is immaterial to them.
The meat of the editorial is an attack on the NRA for bringing the D’Cruz cases challenging the ban on the sale of handguns to legal adults under the age of 21 and challenging the Texas CHP law which sets 21 as the minimum age for non-military, non-veteran adults.
As a legal matter, both lawsuits should fail. In its recent Second Amendment rulings, the Supreme Court struck down complete bans on handgun ownership, but explicitly left room for limits on gun ownership and possession by felons and the mentally ill, and other reasonable restrictions like Texas’ age limitations. The Supreme Court has said nothing to suggest that the Second Amendment requires Americans to allow armed teenagers in their communities.
Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that young individuals ages 18 to 20 have a constitutional right to buy weapons and carry them loaded and concealed in public is breathtakingly irresponsible.
They then throw out statistics saying that 18-20 year-olds commit more violent crime than other age groups and imply that lowering the age to 18 will just put more weapons in the hands of this group. Of course, this ignores both the NICS check required for a purchase of any firearm from a licensed dealer and the training, background, and other requirements needed to obtain a Texas Concealed Handgun License. As an aside, private sales of handguns are permitted for 18-20 year olds in the State of Texas and 18-20 year olds can and do obtain Texas CHL’s if they serve or have served in the military. This, too, is ignored by the Times in their editorial.
The Brady Campaign jumped the gun with their amicus brief in D’Cruz v. McCraw and had to withdraw it. However, as this editorial illustrates, Big Media is more than willing to continue to be a shill and do the propaganda work for them. Some things just never change.