Dear New York Times Editors,
After reading your editorial about the NRA's push to overturn handgun age restrictions for citizens 18-20 years old, I can only surmize that no one in your editorial staff has ever read, nor would ever care to read, the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that foundational document does it state that one's rights activate on one's 21st birthday. The NRA isn't being irresponsible, as you suggest. Rather, it is holding our government accountable to the promises it made two centuries ago; promises long-since forgotten by many in the Capital. In fact, the 14th Amendment specifically states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Not only does this not indicate a 21-year buffer prior to one's rights activating in our laws, but in fact seems to indicate that one's rights are active fully at birth! Indeed, it rather specifically states that "equal protection" be enforced for every citizen, not just those who are at least 21 years old. Unless, that is, the New York Times staff is aware of some other section of the Constitution that indicates that all or some rights begin at 21 years of age. I certainly was unable find any indication of this. In fact, age is only mentioned in the Constitution for the purposes of voting and as a requirement to serve in elective Federal office!
An 18 year old man can be drafted, handed a rifle and sent to foreign soil to fight and die for your right to print that wretched editorial, yet he is not allowed to own a handgun for his own self-defense. While the Times prints the "statistic" that 18-20 year olds commit a larger than average share of violent crimes, it ignores the fact that many of those crimes are committed by people with existing criminal records who would not be permitted to lawfully own a gun even if those restrictions were removed! Conflating law-abiding gun owners with criminals has been the excuse for the aggressive style of gun control in Washington, DC and Chicago for decades, yet these two cities consistently top the nation's violent crime lists. Conflating 18-20 year old criminals with law-abiding 18-20 year olds is insulting at best!
Would your staff argue that an individual 18-20 years old is not entitled to the freedom of public speech? Should these individuals give up their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination? Should they expect their right against unwarranted search to be suspended merely due to their age? Can you be so intellectually honest?
If the Times wishes to keep and enact more restrictive gun control legislation, then the Times should first argue for the repeal of the Second Amendment. As long as this article remains in effect, the government is duty-bound to uphold the rights of citizens to purchase, own and carry firearms. Again I ask, can you be so intellectually honest as to clamor and argue for the repeal of the Second Amendment?
Shame on the New York Times for printing such a belligerent editorial! Shame on the New York Times for arguing for the continued abridgement of the Constitutional rights of America's lawful gun owners and the law-abiding citizens 18-20 years of age.
Lawful handgun owner
Concealed Firearms License Holder
United States Citizen
29 years of age