A Florida judge issued a ruling that upholds Florida’s ban on gun sales to those who are 18-20 years old. The law was an emotional reaction to Nicolas Cruz, 19, who massacred students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The problem, as it has always been, is that punishing and an entire group for the actions of a few is egregious and should not be allowed to occur.
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The idea behind the Florida law is that age group is likely to “engage in risky, emotional behavior.” Frankly, so are older adults at this point in history. An 18 year old is a legal adult in every state. US District Court Judge Mark Walker had questions, but resolved them by ruling for “long standing prohibitions on guns.” (The Florida ban on gun sales was not long standing, by the way).
“That said, this court has grave concerns about the balance the Legislature struck,” Walker wrote. “While the act appears broad on its face, as defendant (the state) argues, many 18-to-20-year-olds who wish to obtain a firearm will be able to do so through parents or other relatives. Whether this is an effective check on rash decision-making, this court cannot say. But it is clear that this law will have little impact on many, if not most, 18-to-20-year-old Floridians. In short, then, it is not clear how much the act does to prevent tragedies like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.”
Walker also raised questions about how the law would apply to people who cannot get guns from relatives.
“Worse still, it is likely that these particular 18-to-20-year-olds are the ones who actually need firearms to defend themselves; they are likely independent, likely to live in dangerous neighborhoods, and likely to have families and children of their own,” he wrote. “Why should the 20-year-old single mother living on her own be unable to obtain a firearm for self-defense when a 20-year-old living with their parents can easily obtain one?”
In spite of the judge’s questions, his ruling upheld the Florida ban on gun sales to persons between 18-20. Nicolas Cruz purchased his gun legally. Because his record check came back clean, he was able to kill 17 students in 2018. Even though Cruz was mentally psychotic, law enforcement officials and the school completely dropped the ball with regard to his prior run-ins with the police and school officials because they wanted to “stop the pipeline to prison.” Cruz himself is to blame for the massacre with a lot of help from others, not the ordinary 18-20 year olds targeted by the law.
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