Republicans Introduce Legislation Allowing 18-20-Year-Olds to Purchase Handguns

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert is among those sponsoring the legislation. (Photo: Lauren Boebert Facebook)

Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate introduced legislation last week that would allow all American adults to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed dealer. Current law prohibits handgun purchases for anyone under the age of 21.

The legislation, dubbed The Second Amendment Mandates Equality (SAME) Act of 2021, was introduced in the Senate by Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis and in the House by Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie.

Proponents argue that age requirements for firearm purchases are arbitrary and violate the Second Amendment rights of adult Americans. They also point out that adults over 18 are trusted to vote, fight in the military, and form business contracts, and they should be trusted to purchase handguns as well.

“The Second Amendment is a constitutional right, and does not treat 18-year-olds as second-class adults,” Senator Lummis said. “In keeping with the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, the SAME Act would overturn our current restrictive anti-handgun statute and ensure equal treatment under law for adults under 21. Ultimately, if we trust 18-year-olds enough to defend our country and to choose our elected officials, we should trust them enough to purchase a handgun.”

SEE ALSO: SAF: Federal Judge Rules California’s ‘3-to-1’ Handgun Law Provision May Violate 2A

“Why should a 20-year-old single mom be denied the right to defend herself and her children?” asked Representative Massie. “Eighteen, 19, and 20-year-olds are considered adults and can vote on important public policy issues. They can also form business contracts, get married, and serve in the military. As adults, these Americans should not be deprived of basic constitutional rights.”

The legislation would not supersede age restrictions imposed by state governments, barring a Supreme Court decision to the contrary.

The legislation is being co-sponsored in the Senate by a group of Republican legislators, including Cindy Hyde-Smith, Steve Daines, Kevin Cramer, Mike Braun, Mike Crapo, and Jim Risch. In the House, the legislation is being co-sponsored by Republicans Lauren Boebert, Alex Mooney, Jody Hice, Paul Gosar, Doug LaMalfa, Andrew Clyde, Scott DesJarlais, Ralph Norman, Mo Brooks.

Proponents of keeping the minimum age at 18 argue that 18-20-year-olds lack the cognitive function to responsibley own and operate a handgun.

SEE ALSO: 18, 19, and 20-Year-Old Washington Residents Can No Longer Purchase Semi-Auto Rifles

“While an 18-year-old’s brain is similar to that of a fully mature adult, key cognitive processes continue to develop until age 26. These include impulse control, which can affect an individual’s ability to safely and appropriately use a gun,” said public health professor Cassandra Crifasi, writing for the anti-gun outlet The Trace.

If this is true, Crifasi does not explain why the minimum age should be 21, not 26. She also does not explain why 18-20-year-olds lack the cognitive function to operate a handgun but possess the cognitive function to drive, vote, and join the military.

The SAME Act has not yet been assigned a bill or committee. It has little chance of passing either the Democrat-controlled House or Senate this year, but legislation is frequently introduced many years before it passes both chambers.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Mike Colorado May 8, 2021, 12:34 am

    Sounds very common sense but it would be better if we could get down to the meat and potatoes and have mandatory military service in our country like other countries do for everyone regardless of what your sex is. A little old two year stint of active duty and then active duty reserve would make a lot of folks grow up and no more of the very few being maimed and killed while everyone else enjoys the benefits of their service. Kind of funny though women shall be registering for the draft very, very soon. So yes if you can be drafted at 18 years old you should be able to purchase a handgun. When the first bullet goes whizzing by you in combat I do not think anybody is going to pipe up and say their 18 year old brain is not fully developed enough to pull the trigger to defend themselves and their fellow service members. But alas someone always has to bring up a kid taking a gun to school but lets look at the root cause of that and it comes down to one word “Bullying”. You stop that asinine behavior and you will not have to worry about someones child who is a victim of the behavior bringing a gun to school to issue their own kind of school yard justice because they can’t get help to stop the behavior. The kids who are showing this evilness of bullying are not getting straightened out by their parents. Schools are suppose to be in the business of teaching and not in the business of disciplining someones student, that responsibility falls to the parent or parents.

  • dave brown May 7, 2021, 12:22 pm

    To Be Honest I have not read this news, but I will chime in that I am in favor of it. I date back to having a draft number to Nam, turning 18 just weeks befoe I got out of High School, and I had the right to Vote, drink 3.2 Beer in SD, and be drafted. I do not remember if I had the right to purchase firearms without my parent signing for me, but I believe I did. Now I have been gunning since I was 14 or 54 years ago, and I have seen many of the Gun Control Issues many of us are concerned about actually become Law and later revoked. Now most of those laws did not make a big difference in my gunning as waiting 3 days to pickup my purchase was not a huge deal. The Saturday Night Specail and Big Mags issues kind of sucked, so I know own many of those Banned cheap firearms just for Fun.

    Now you may be saying who cares, and I actually do care as I picked up the first year CC Permit in SD about 40 years ago, and up until then I could only open carry or be Illegal is SD of all places. Also, I have been waiting for about 40 years for National CC, and so far the so called parites have done little or nothing about givng it to us. So, I would suggest that the Sponsor of this bill add one for National Carry, a serious one, not just Smoke and Mirrors. I won’t hold my breath as both the right and the left are mainly in it for themselves and not for US.

  • Daddio7 May 7, 2021, 12:05 pm

    OK, pass this, how long before some disaffected white high school senior buys a 9mm and with two extra magazines takes it to graduation and takes care of business.

    • Jim May 7, 2021, 1:01 pm

      What does being white have to do with it? Are you racist?

  • D.J. May 7, 2021, 11:11 am

    HUZZAH !!! To you Nicholas !

    Right -on , my Brother !

  • Nicholas May 7, 2021, 9:49 am

    I have come to an epiphany. Those who believe in the RKBA will never make the right moves in law to stop and reverse gun control.
    Take this bill to allow 18-20 year old people to purchase a handgun.
    From the law, as in the Militia Act, Approved Feb. 28, 1795…
    “in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside…” (This was revised in 1861 to read all able-bodied males.)
    Despite the fact that the term Militia appears 4 times in the original Constitution, and twice in the Bill of Rights, you might think that people would understand that it has a meaning outside what those yahoo’s in the Michigan Militia, and other groups believe. Well, it does. Militia, when operating according to statute has the only recognized constitutional authority “to execute the Laws of the Union…”
    Consider the fact that Militia is a constitutional entity and cannot be changed or removed without employing the amendment process. By changed, I’m referring to the National Guard that was brought about by the failure of the people to maintain the militia. It was enacted by Article I, § 10, Cl. 3 to be “Troops of War”, a branch of the army so it can never be the militia, and to define it as such may rise to a felony.
    All these people in congress have to do is say, we have these laws on the books and we will have them enforced.

  • Geo Ling May 7, 2021, 8:59 am

    This is not true:

    “The Second Amendment is a constitutional right, and does not treat 18-year-olds as second-class adults,” Senator Lummis said.“

    The 2nd Amendment RECOGNIZES and protects an INALIENABLE right endowed upon us by our Creator.

  • D.J. May 7, 2021, 8:40 am

    ” Don’t have the cognitive ability ” to properly use a handgun ?
    Nor purchase or drink alcohol , or tobacco ?

    No problem having the ” cognitive ability ” to vote , however , right ?

    No wonder we get blithering idiots in Washington .

  • area 52 May 7, 2021, 8:30 am

    I think the the pro 2nd amendment members of congress better find was to fend off anti gun legislation for now. The thought if this bill going anywhere is wishful thinking. Even if the GOP held both houses this bill would be in for an uphill battle.

  • Anthony Romano May 7, 2021, 7:17 am

    I’ve been saying this for years! Quit treating 18-20 yr olds as half citizens. They can die for us in the military but can’t buy a handgun legally! Ridiculous!

  • GG May 4, 2021, 9:13 pm

    Time to fight fire with fire don’t you think ? Or maybe never ?

  • Blue Dog (he/him) May 4, 2021, 10:07 am

    This is just crass political theatre. There is no way this is passing right now, the Democrats would never let this happen. If they were serious about this, they would have tried it three or four years ago when the Republicans ran both houses of Congress alongside that silly silencer business – what was it called, the HUSH act? Not even Trump would support such foolishness after a mass shooting.

    Y’all should be the ones upset about this. They are just playing to firearm extremists with this bill that defies common sense and has no chance of passing in this session of Congress. Stuntin’ and frontin’.

    • Kb31416 May 7, 2021, 6:34 am

      BD, i’m Shocked, but I actually agree with you (except for your obnoxious troll “extremists “ term), this is nothing but typical mental masterbation that is unfortunately so typical from the useless and impotent GOP.
      And yes, they should have passed the hearing protection act and much more when they had the chance.

    • Elapid King May 8, 2021, 7:46 pm

      If 18 to 20 year olds are too immature to purchase and possess firearms then they are most definitely too immature to vote. Historically, far more damage has been caused by the ballot box than the cartridge box.

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