|December 30, 2022 09:56 AM
|Representative Darisha K. Parker
|All House members
|Raising the Minimum Age to Purchase and Possess a Firearm to 21
| Purchasing and possessing a lethal weapon is a serious responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Currently in our country, we set minimum age requirements for driving, voting, and drinking alcohol because we know that young people have not fully developed the parts of their brain responsible for impulse control, judgement, and long-term planning. Further, younger people’s brains and hormonal changes can lead to a lack of self-control and aggressive impulses.
We know that young people disproportionately commit gun homicides. According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, though 18 to 20-year-olds comprise just 4% of the population, they account for 17% of known homicide offenders. Further, the highest rates of suicide attempts that result in death or hospital treatment are found from age 14 through 21, and gun access significantly increases these risks. There is evidence that laws raising the minimum legal age to purchase firearms to 21 are associated with decreases in firearm deaths and suicides among young people, especially among 18 to 20-year-olds.
In light of this, I will be introducing legislation that would raise the minimum age to purchase and possess a firearm from 18 to 21. My legislation has an exception that ensures that legal firearm owners who possessed a firearm prior to the effective date of the bill will not be affected by this increase to the minimum age. My goal is not to remove firearms from the hands of legal gun owners, but to reduce rates of firearm violence and self-harm among our young people.
The time is now to take action to protect our young people. We cannot sit around and wait for yet another mass shooting to occur before taking action to save lives. Please join me in preventing the next school shooting before it happens.
Introduced as HB898