The Age of Adolescence and Gun Rights

Even just reading the title of this blog, “The Readable Republican”, it’s a safe bet to say that I am pro-second amendment. Laws that allow ordinary citizens to carry firearms protect individual liberties in more ways than just being able to carry a dangerous toy in public.

The conversation opened up on the radio this morning. I like to listen to the Brian & Kathleen Morning Show on Moody Radio on my drive to work, and they brought up a development in carrying firearms on a university campus…

Framing the Conversation
Liberty University, the largest Christian University and the fifth largest university in America, has deemed it permissible to allow students to carry a firearm under specific conditions. Here is the full university policy, but suffice it to say that those with concealed carry licenses (CCL) are allowed to keep their firearm in their locked vehicle while on campus, rather than having to leave it somewhere. It is also important to note that this does not allow students with a CCL to carry or store their firearms in residence halls. It would seem that this measure strictly allows for keeping a firearm in a vehicle while on campus.

That being said, after hearing a lot of failed arguments as to why this should or should not be a viable policy, I heard one woman call into the radio show to express her concern with young adults carrying firearms. She said something to this effect:

“I have a 21 and a 25 year old and I would not be okay with them having a firearm.”
(Not a direct quote)

I am 22 years old and I know for a fact that my mother trusts me with a firearm. Is it possible that this woman may have just allowed her children to grow up without responsibility? I don’t know, but that’s not the point.

Adolescent Years
A lot of Christians I have run into complain about how we don’t raise our kids to be adults anymore and that we have coined the term “adolescence” to make up for it. We discuss how children used to be helping around the house by age 10, and by age 13 their entire day was devoted to working on the farm. But we conveniently forget that 13 year old girls were married out at this age (often to 24+ year old men) and most people died before the age of 50.

A particular article on this topic suggests that the starting point of adolescence has moved back one year for ever 25 years that elapses. It now occurs an average of 6 years earlier than it did in the 1850s, where an individual didn’t “start” their adolescent years until the age of 17-19. Now our children are starting their adolescent years between age 11-13. Not only that, but our children, instead of helping on the farm from ages 13-20, are now playing video games from ages 10-35 and avoiding responsibility like the plague. That said, we still have not reached the point I am trying to argue…

Immature Adults Making Mature Decisions
We have entered a world where almost anyone can carry a firearm, assuming they meet qualifications such as not having a criminal record, completing mandatory CCL training/competency, and not having any mental health problems. It was only in the 1990s that the 2nd amendment really began to be exercised among Americans who wish to carry a firearm. But do we fully understand the level of maturity that our 21 year old adults have achieved (or lack thereof)?

The woman on the radio, unbeknownst to her, made a very poignant statement about the mental maturity of the generation that is going through college right now. The problem I see is that our young adults are growing less mature, while our state gun laws are becoming more open.

Should we change the law? The brain is not “fully developed” until age 25, maybe that should be the new CCL age. I’m not advocating for or against this; more than anything, this shows a lack of trust in our young adults (especially with all the millennial garbage going around nowadays, which I’ll discuss at a later date) and it shows an incompetency in a parents ability to raise their child to be a fully-functioning adult.

Our children are untrustworthy by little fault of their own. The problem is that we are no longer raising adults; we are raising taller children.

Bonus Section – Bad Arguments
I just want to point out some ineffective arguments while discussing this topic, all of these are arguments I heard on the radio this morning:

  1. “It’s their second amendment right!” – This is an important point, but in the same way you cannot shout “Fire!” in a movie theater, it doesn’t mean you should be able to carry a dangerous weapon where there are potentially unstable individuals who may have the opportunity to disarm you. If I wear my firearm behind my back, and I kneel down to tie my shoes, someone could easily disarm me. I’m not saying that we should or should not allow concealed carry, I’m just pointing out that the argument does not fully assess the situation, and in order to be intellectually honest, we must deny arguments that fail to address the core issue.
  2. “Christians should live by faith that God will protect them.” – Luke 22:36 tells us, “[…] if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Jesus understood the practicality of self-defense. However, if I found myself in a situation with another man who was threatening to kill me, I might let him do it just for the sake of the possibility of him finding Jesus or to avoid compromising my own faith. But if he is threatening the lives of others, I would pull the trigger in a heartbeat. Everything must be decided on a case-by-case basis.
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