Demographics and RKBA

What do you think about age requirements for CCW?

  • Just fine the way it is: 21 years old.

    Votes: 28 39.4%
  • Needs to be dropped to 18 years old.

    Votes: 30 42.3%
  • With proper instruction we can drive a car at 16... and CCW should be there too.

    Votes: 6 8.5%
  • 21 years old for men, 18 years old for women... to discourage rape and disparity of force.

    Votes: 3 4.2%
  • 21 years old for men, 16 years old for women... to discourage rape and disparity of force.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other suggestions and ideas, posted in the thread...

    Votes: 4 5.6%

  • Total voters
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Dec 14, 2009
Paradise (Pacific Northwest)
Please answer the poll and share your ideas.

I got to thinking about demographics... age groups, minorities, male/female, etc.

How can these things be used in RKBA activism to encourage positive change?

My first idea for a poll is this age group catagory.

ie: we can drive a car at age 16, drive a tank into war at 18, but can't carry a pistol until 21...

ie: should we push for allowing women to carry guns at age 18? How about 16?

Who knows... maybe the Heller and McDonald cases will effectively abolish age limiting laws for CCW... but in the meantime, what angles can we exploit for the improvement of RKBA, our freedoms, and our safety?
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I'm for dropping it. If someone isn't mature enough to responsibly carry a firearm at 18 (or less), they won't be at 21 either.

I'm 21, but I would have been ready to carry one years ago.
I think it should stay at 21 personally. If you would have asked me when i was 19, I would not have thought this of course. The fact is, 18 year olds are in high school. It's not that none of them possess the skills and maturity to carry, it's just that most of them don't. I am 24 years old now, and when I look at the way myself and others acted at 18-20, I don't think it would have been a good thing. I am only about 60/40 on that opinion though, because I know there are some responsible young souls out there who could carry safely, I just don't know many of them. lol
The idea of carrying is used as a means of self-defense which could ultimately result in the taking of a life. Now I'm not speaking for everyone but from my experience as a kid (18 years old) knowing what proper measures to take when it came to defending myself didn't always include walking away, when that was in all honest the smarter thing to do. On top of that let's just say he or she has made the proper judgement call to take a life in self-defense, it's a heavy burden to deal with, facing mortality is not an easy pill to swallow. Of course dealing with the burden of taking a life in self-defense is the obvious choice over losing your own life. The real question shouldn't be, "should carrying a gun at 18 be legal?" but rather, "Is an 18 year old ready to make the correct judgement of when to use it and deal with the consequences?". Of course that's just my two cents. . . which if you give me a penny for your thoughts someone is making a profit now aren't they?
Good points, you guys. My biggest questions revolve around how CCW age limits stand up when you pit them against other age limit laws.

At 16, you can be put in charge of a child's safety and security, earn your own wages, and drive the statistically most-deadly piece of machinery in civilian hands.

At 18, you can burn up your lungs, get drafted (men), blow things up and kill people in combat, sign contracts, and vote.

At 21, you can drink, buy and sell handguns, and CCW.

To sum up:

16 years old: babysitting, working, driving...
18 years old: smoking, the draft (men), joining the armed forces, legal independance, voting...
21 years old: drinking, handguns, CCW...

Am I missing anything important? I mean, other than the fact that we are sooner trusted with the soldier's ability to kill hundreds, or even thousands, of people... before we're trusted with the right to defend our own life on the streets with a handgun.

Responsibility indeed.

In response to Demitrios' excellent points about responsibility: I agree with you, from that angle... but I also would very much like to see it from the other angle. Namely, why are people 16-21 so irresponsible in the first place? Our history is rife with examples of responsible adolescents. What ever happened to high expectations? That goes as much for parenting as it does for our kids.

I think we need to shart or get off the pot. Either we should admit that our youth cannot be trusted with responsibility and raise the driving age to 18 or 21, or start teaching them about guns in school and lower the CCW age to 18.

It's the disparity that bugs me.
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This is more of a discussion instead of a plan so let's move it to Activism Discussion where it can grow.
In Texas it is 21 with the exception of active duty military can carry at 18. I agree with the Texas law here.
I agree with the Texas law too. I think the disparity in maturity between 18 and 21 is huge. I think active duty military should be trusted at 18. My issue with under 21 is that in my state there are no requirements besides not being a felon (a few misdemeanors will disqualify you too) and completing the NRA basic pistol course. My experience with the NRA pistol course is that it has too little requirements (applied) to be a good judge of ability or maturity.
I find it interesting that many of you feel that a person matures immensely during the 18-21 year ages.

To be completely honest here, there are MANY 40 year olds that are not mature enough to carry a firearm. If only those of us that can handle it were the only ones who pursued it. In states that allow open carry what is the age requirement?
It's best left alone. That one kid is having a hard enough time staying out of jail for hunting before school :cuss:
I think the schools are trying their best to teach children that only those in authority have rights... and responsibilities.
if a guy can go serve in the military at age 18 he or she should have the right to be armed as a civilian...........

...there are MANY 40 year olds that are not mature enough to carry a firearm...

Good point... and, depending on locality, a responsible 21 (or 18) year old might be just as likely to defend himself (or herself) against a 40 year old idiot as he (or she) would a 17 year old idiot.

Age is just one factor in the development of wisdom and responsibility.

Would we let our 16 year old kids drive without any developmental instruction? Of course, there are 40 year olds that can't be trusted to drive a car safely. Maybe that is the angle on this issue... adequate instruction and evaluation.

I wouldn't say that age is a non-factor, but in my opinion it's generally not the most important factor. Maybe it qualifies as secondary in overall importance... maybe not even that...

What factors should be considered in evaluating INDIVIDUAL ABILITY? How could that be done?
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Theres no good way to answer this question really. Some 18 year old kids could handle it without any trouble. I had a handun in my hands regularly before I was that old but I didnt conceal until I turned 21. I also was raised to respect firearms. But as far as pushing the letter for females to be able to carry before males at 16 or even 18 I would have to disagree with. I say everyone or keep it as is.
I don't know whether there are any intangible human qualities that we can assess by counting the number of years a person has lived. Abilities, yes. Age is only determinant of how long a person has lived; nothing beyond that. Obesrvation of a person in various situations is very likely the only way to gain some sort of measure of the quality of that person's decision-making ability. When I was 20 I was an infantry sergeant in the Regular Army, judged by my superiors to have whatever is required to direct the performance of 10 or 12 other men in potentially deadly circumstances. So the various age threshholds mentioned here can really be said to be arbitrarily and capriciously devised and imposed. I don't know the law well enough to have an opinion about such threshholds when imposed by law, but a bureaucratic rule or regulation imposing such age criteria would not verry likely withstand a test in court. All IMO, of course.
Same thing as alcohol laws.

If you are old enough to serve your nation, you are old enough to carry a gun.

At 18, a person is considered an adult by law. To deny them the right to carry is age discrimination.
Lowered to age 18. To me it seems pretty simple: if you are old enough to carry a weapon on your hip and one in your arms in battle for self-defense and defense of others -- having gone through the training etc. -- then you are old enough to carry one concealed in polite society with proper training.

This assumes a certain level of aptitude and maturity in an 18 year old that I've seen lacking in some 48 year olds.
I would rather not see any CCW 'laws' other than what's in the constitution and it should be up to parent's to decide when their child is responsible enough to handle the act of carrying a firearm, concealed or not.

I really think there should be no age restriction for concealed carry in public areas.
All age restriction laws are arbitrary and make victims and criminals of otherwise law-abiding young people.

You don't encourage maturity in young people by perpetuating the belief that they are always going to be immature until they reach a certain age. People under the age of 16 will show a lot of maturity, if you teach them to.
In Texas it is 21 with the exception of active duty military can carry at 18. I agree with the Texas law here

Ditto. I like the way Texas handles CCW permits. You have to take a class and demonstrate that you can handle a gun safely. Same with a car. I do belive that they could lower the age to 18 with the same criteria. Now if we could get them to do away with gun free zones we would be onto something there.
A 21 year old can fly a military fighter jet worth millions, but yet not, (in some states) rent a vehicle. Unfortunately these "laws" cannot be based on an individual basis. One person at 16 may be more mature than a 50 year old or have better judgement. For my vote, 18 if out of school, employed, etc. Otherwise 21.
I think comparing any right or privelidge to what a person is judged capable of while serving in the military is misplaced when extended to those outside the military. To even get to wear a uniform a person undergoes very intense training. When it comes to using a rifle, driving a tank, using explosives, or whatever, the person is required to have even more training and demonstrate that they know what they are doing with that piece of equipment.

Resorting to a concealed handgun as self defense should be the last resort. While some folks may be able to accept this at 18 I believe the odds are against it. For better or for worse, I think 21 is a pretty good age (especially when the years 18-21 are/were spent in the military).
To the OP:

Your poll has a fundamental flaw in it, with the age disparity based on gender. The Supreme Court held in Craig v. Boren (429 U.S. 190) that gender is a suspect class, and that laws differentiating a suspect class inherently violate the Equal Protections clause of the Constitution.

Personally, I voted for dropping the age to 18, as should be the drinking age. When you establish the age of majority for legal/criminal matters, you are establishing what is an adult. An adult is an adult. Period.

Finally, unless I am mistaken, 21 is not an across the board age for CCW/CHL/Concealed Carry. In Missouri, for example, the age is 23.
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