N.Y. Times Opposes NRA On Gun Rights Under Age 21


The New York Times editorial page objects to stances of the National Rifle Association on various issues. Last week, President Obama had barely nominated a new director at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is supposed to control firearms – Andrew Traver, a well-qualified career professional – before the gun lobby denounced him as “deeply aligned with gun control advocates.” His sin was associating with a police chief's group that wants to reduce the use of handguns on city streets. The nomination was rated dead on arrival in the next Congress, where the NRA will be more powerful.

Then there are two NRA lawsuits in federal court in Lubbock, Tx., to compel the state to allow young people between 18 and 20 to buy handguns and carry them concealed in public places. One case challenges the longstanding federal law prohibiting licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to anyone under 21. The second contests a Texas law setting 21 as the minimum age for carrying a concealed weapon. Both lawsuits should fail, the Times believes. In recent Second Amendment rulings, the Supreme Court struck down complete bans on handgun ownership, but left room for limits on gun ownership and possession by felons and the mentally ill, and other reasonable restrictions like Texas' age limitations. The Supreme Court has said nothing to suggest that the Second Amendment requires Americans to allow armed teenagers in their communities. The newspaper calls the idea that people 18 to 20 have a constitutional right to buy weapons and carry them loaded and concealed in public “breathtakingly irresponsible.”

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