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OK: Lawmakers Advance Measure To Let 18- to 20-Year-Olds Buy Handguns

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When it comes to denying a certain group of Americans a constitutional right, there are few examples as egregious as the infringement upon the Second Amendment rights of adults aged 18 to 20 years old. While considering them adults in every other way, the government apparently considers them second-class citizens, banning them from purchasing certain guns because of the size of those firearms—namely handguns.

Now, lawmakers in Oklahoma are set to do something about this infringement. A measure that would lower the age to purchase a handgun in the state was passed by the State Powers Committee on Thursday by a 6-to-1 vote along partisan lines.

Unlike many pieces of legislation Senate Bill 1218 is just one page long, straightforward and simple in nature. The measure, by Republican state Sen. David Bullard, states: “No person eighteen (18) years or older within this state shall be denied the purchase of a firearm based on his or her age unless otherwise prohibited by state law.”

Republican Rep. Jay Steagall, House sponsor of the bill, said the measure is designed to get rid of discrimination against young adults.

“A federal judge out in West Virginia has ruled that the ban on purchases of firearms for individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 is unconstitutional,” Steagall said during debate on the measure.

Oklahoma is not alone in this fight, as similar laws are being considered—and some adjudicated—in a number of states. In fact, some courts have, indeed, found infringements on the rights of young adults to be unconstitutional. One case—Hirschfeld v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives—revolved around an 18-year-old Virginia woman who filed for and received a restraining order against her violent ex. In her desperation to try to keep the man from hurting or even killing her, she went to her local gun shop, only to be told she couldn’t purchase a handgun to protect herself because of federal law.

The opinion explaining the 2-1 decision in favor of the plaintiffs was well reasoned and to the point.

“When do constitutional rights vest?” Circuit Court Judge Julius Richardson wrote in the ruling. “At 18 or 21? 16 or 25? Why not 13 or 33? In the law, a line must sometimes be drawn. But there must be a reason why constitutional rights cannot be enjoyed until a certain age. Our nation’s most cherished constitutional rights vest no later than 18. And the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is no different.”

While that was a major victory, it was all for naught. Only a few months later the same judge threw out the decision because the plaintiffs in the case had reached age 21 so were no longer being unconstitutionally infringed!

Incidentally, the effort to infringe 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds of their Second Amendment right is also occurring at the federal level. Even President Joe Biden is making a concerted effort to clamp down on the right to keep and bear arms of these young adults—considered qualified to practice their other rights.

In fact, in a speech last year the president specifically mentioned adults in this age group when pushing to ban so-called “assault weapons.” “If we can’t ban assault weapons, as we should, we must at least raise the age to be able to purchase one to 21,” Biden said.

And he’s not alone. In a 50-point action wish list released last December by the Violence Policy Center, infringing on the rights of 18- to 20-year-olds was high on the list. “The goal on both the state and federal levels should be a ban on the possession of long guns and handguns for those under the age of 21,” VPC stated in the report.

VPC then suggested the possibility of making the age even higher than 21 to purchase some firearms the group considers especially evil.

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