Eighteen Is Too Young for Concealed Carry

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The national concealed weapons permit age minimum may soon be changed to 18 years old. Currently, the conceal carry age in most states is 21. In others, you are allowed to carry certain registered weapons at 18. Vermont allows people as young as 16 to conceal carry and some states don’t specify an age at all. The argument shouldn’t be difficult to make: 18 is too young for a person to be licensed to carry a deadly weapon.

When camping, weapon-use is understandably different. When you’re camping you’re usually surrounded by experienced shooters and you’re usually hunting animals. Going to shoot cans in the desert is only slightly different. There are specific designated areas and safety precautions. Even owning a gun in remote areas, like the desert or in the mountains, is different: The gun is not always loaded and on your person, especially not during moments of sudden bursts of rage, like what happens frequently on the road. When used for sport, guns are put away in a safe or cabinet at home. By allowing anyone to have a gun on their person at all times, everyone is put at constant risk.

I know what you might be thinking. That getting a permit puts you through the necessary precautions of owning a gun and that mental stability and criminal records are checked far in advance. This point is invalidated considering how many 18-year-olds might qualify for emotional or psychological disorders but don’t simply because they’ve yet to accrue a criminal record or have run-ins with authorities. Though not true in all cases, by allowing those so inclined to possess a gun, accidents (or attacks) are only a matter of time

18-year-olds go through more stress than arguably any other age group. They have to graduate high school, choose whether or not to go to college, select their major or career, move away from home, and try to find a social group that they are comfortable in. Putting a weapon in the hands of someone going through that much stress and letting them walk the streets is dangerous to that person and to others. Most shooters aren’t professional criminals, they’re kids or young adults who were pushed too far. You can’t have a criminal record to get a concealed carry permit. Sure, they background check you, but sometimes it’s not until after a person has a gun that they become dangerous.

In October 2016 there was a rape on the University of Utah’s campus which involved a gun. The probability that person was licensed to carry is extremely high. There are those who will argue that if the victim had a gun, the rapist could have been stopped. However, if the victim had a gun on her person, the risk of the incident escalating to homicide would certainly have increased. While the risk in that situation is nuanced, more guns almost never mean less violence.

In December 2016 there was an incident in the U’s Research Park where a man in his early twenties killed his wife and then himself over a domestic issue. That incident, among thousands of others every year, illustrates further that guns are truly one of the most commercially effective way to kill. It’s a rule that’s true, at least in the United States: the more people who have guns, the more people will die.

Dark humor has also grown exponentially since the eighties. Every day you can hear students saying “I want to die,” or “I’d be fine if I went to sleep and never woke up,” or, the most common, “Run me over, please.” Of course, they’re only “joking.” But what if a person finds themselves in a situation where their faculties are impaired, like being drunk, and they’re not paying attention? Having a piece of paper that says you took a class and had some doctor’s appointments doesn’t change anything if guns are easily accessible and widely available.

I’m not saying that we should ban guns (even though I believe we should greatly increase gun control, seeing as how death rates would considerably decrease). But let’s face it, 18 is too young to have a concealed carry permit.

letters@dailyutahchronicle.com 

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