A new study confirmed what most gun rights activists have been saying all along. Researchers from the University of Washington analyzed homicides committed by 18-20-year olds in states that adopted age-based restrictions and those that didn't. They found that such restrictions have no effect on homicide rates within the studied age group.
"This study found that stricter state minimum age laws were not associated with significantly lower rates of young adult–perpetrated homicide in states that adopted them compared with states that did not, and policymakers should reassess their use," the study says.
Teenagers have many ways of illegally acquiring firearms, such that banning lawful purchases couldn't prevent them from owning one, Caitlin Moe, a PhD student in epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health said.
"The central issue is that there's a very high degree of informal access to firearms, such as through family members or illicit channels," Moe said. "And we can't address that kind of availability with age limits."
The study analyzed crime data for New York, Wyoming, New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts between 1995-2017. The five states have a higher minimum legal age for purchasing a handgun compared to that set by the federal government.
The report authors compared the data from the five states with that from the other 32 states that didn't adopt age-based restrictions. The researchers pointed out that the firearm-related crimes committed by 18-20-year olds resulted from illegal firearms in both the five states and others. Consequently, banning youths under 21 from owning handguns had no effects on crime levels.
"It's incredibly important that we address this major cause of death in young people," Moe concludes.
Coincidentally, firearms are the second leading cause of deaths for 18-20-year olds, after motor vehicle accidents. Many anti-gun activists push for motor vehicle style regulations, the same which failed to prevent auto accidents.
The results of the UW study concurs with the Rand Research showing that age-based restrictions have little to no effect on mass shootings or suicides committed by the youths under 21. However, Rand Research and Child Trends indicate that kids aged 16-21 are the most likely victims of homicides and rape. Thus, denying them legal means to defend themselves puts them in grave danger.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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