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Should Teens Be Allowed to Buy a Firearm?

Maturity and understanding the value of life go a long way.

There has been some controversy lately about a young man who was denied a firearm sale from a chain retailer. He was approximately 20 years old, although the story changes as time goes on. He wanted to buy a Ruger .22 caliber rifle, and denied. He is now suing the retailer for age discrimination.

I can only speak for myself, as a 34 year old man, father, and gun owner. At age 18, I had no business owning a firearm. I was young, angry, and irresponsible. I had a lot of maturing and growing up to do before I could feel like that I could safely and maturely handle a firearm. That’s not to say I didn’t go squirrel hunting with my friends when I was 16 or 17, but I didn’t need a handgun or a rifle in my back window of my truck.

I could and probably would have severely harmed or killed someone at this age. As I said, I was angry and self-centered as most 18 year olds are. You’re coming out of school, trying to decide what to do with your life, and trying to maintain your social rank. It’s an insane juggling act that is very hard to handle. Your only thoughts during this time are me, me, me. That’s not to say that this young man is irresponsible, I’m just speaking as I reflect back on my years.

I had no direction in life, we think we are immortal in our teens, and are more open to trying wild and crazy things that could potentially get us hurt or killed. I thought I know what I wanted out of life, but you consistently go back and forth, just kind of drifting along to see what happens. Sometimes it falls in your lap, sometimes you have to make things happen.

You can drive when you are 16, provided you pass the test and have the required license. By the time I was 18, I could drink a six pack and drive to work like nothing was going on. I would go on my lunch break to get more when I turned 21. As I said, I was irresponsible and self-centered, not thinking about how my actions had consequences and could affect someone else’s life.

Owning a firearm is both a privilege and a responsibility. You see all kinds of fails on YouTube and social media, showing grown adults letting children play with guns. Some of these have turned out fatal. These adults were not responsible, just as I have a responsibility to keep a firearm out of my child’s hands, until he is the appropriate age to understand the responsibility, care, and safety that goes into handling a firearm.

We keep shouting about the second amendment and the right to bear arms, which I am for. However, would you let the craziest person you work with drive a forklift around you? Should they not have the proper training and safety in order to use that piece of machinery? We have to understand that sometimes there are bad intentions, and sometimes there are bad decisions, and both can affect the life of yourself and others. As George Carlin once said, “The bill of rights are nothing but a list of temporary privileges that the government will strip you of one by one.” While you are shouting about the second amendment, people are losing the first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth.

If you want to talk about tyranny, it is all around you. You are just too distracted by one matter to notice how it is affecting you and others, because you too are self-centered. You can be angry, but be angry and therefore driven to change what you see around you. Homelessness, child abuse, starvation, war. I know I quote Henry Rollins a lot, only because I have respect for him. He once said that, “it’s easier to start a war than build a school.” I have witnessed this in my hometown, as they voted to teardown a perfectly good prison, refused to build another school, and built another prison instead.

That’s tyranny to me, a child that can’t be educated because the teacher is too busy and overwhelmed trying to educate everyone at once. Yet we are up in arms because a teen going into adulthood can’t buy a firearm. When that child can’t afford lunch, and the school lets them do without, that’s tyranny. Think about the ripple effect, and how everything affects the people around you. Think about the big picture. Think about yourself honestly at that age, and then tell me whether 18 year old you should have been armed. I know that some of you were, and that nothing bad ever happened. I remember seeing rifles in back windows of trucks at school, without a word said.

What we have to remember is that the world has changed since then, and it will continue to change. As long as we are narcissistic, self-centered, and narrow minded, it will not change for the good, only the bad, and that affects us all, just like a virus or epidemic, invading our bodies and spreading to others, and it will only be downhill from here. 

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