Friday, June 01, 2018

Gov. Abbott: raise the age at which youth are considered children, but only for purposes of gun-storage rules (?)

In his plan to address school shootings, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called on the Legislature to "to raise the age at which someone is considered a child from whom adult gun owners would have to secure their guns; Abbott wants to raise that one year to include 17-year-olds like the shooter at Santa Fe High School," reported the Austin Statesman.

Grits' thought: Isn't there a philosophical link between the Governor's proposal to consider 17 year olds "children" for purposes of gun ownership and the "raise the age" proposal to charge 17 year olds as juveniles instead of adults in criminal court?

If someone should be "considered a child" at 17 for purposes of access to firearms, can Texas really justify prosecuting 17-year olds as adults in other contexts?

After all, what is the nature of the developmental deficiency among 17-year olds that the governor thinks a birthday will fix? Why might one consider 17 year olds less than reliable when it comes to prioritizing firearms safety?

Why, it's for the same reason most states don't charge 17 year olds as adults when they commit crimes: The portions of their brains responsible for cognitive reasoning are less well developed than they will be when they are older. Or, in layman's terms, 17-year old youth are not yet as mature as adults.

Surely, if that's his position, the Governor should get behind raising "the age at which someone is considered a child" in general from 17 to 18, not just on this one, narrow, gun-safety provision.

Either 17-year olds are adults who're prepared for all of life's responsibilities, and the resulting consequences from not fulfilling them, or they're not.  And clearly Gov. Abbott doesn't believe Texans can rely upon 17-year olds to behave in a responsible fashion, or such a law wouldn't be necessary. (Indeed, most parents of a 17-year old would likely tell you themselves that their child isn't prepared to face the world on their own as an adult.)

Gov. Abbott's proposal challenges the legalistic pretense that 17-year olds can and should be expected to behave as responsible adults. But he should be consistent. If parents are still responsible for their children's 2nd Amendment rights at 17 because a 17-year old's cognitive reasoning is under-developed, surely it make little sense for the criminal-justice system to prosecute those same youth as adults when they break the law?

Gov. Abbott's arguments for raising the age in this narrow context highlight how inappropriate it can be to assign adult expectations to 17-year old actors. These are lessons state leaders must eventually embrace much more broadly, but journeys of a thousand miles always begin with first steps.


Phelps said...

I’m against narrow anything. Minors don’t have agency, and it is time that we uniformly recognized that, rather than applying it where we like and ignoring it when it is Inconvenient for those of us of the Majority. We don’t have a good system for imposing responsibility on those people who keep the agency for these minors (when was the last time a parent was held responsible for the delinquent they FAILED to raise properly?)

Should the majority be 18? The let’s make it 18, and impose the entire gamut. Voting, criminal liability, guns, alcohol, all of it. Too soon? Then 21. I fail to see how military service and criminal liability are fine for 18 year olds but alcohol and handguns are not. Either they are adults or they are not. When we emancipate someone, we need to do it totally, and get rid of our age apartheids.

Anonymous said...

When was the last time a parent was held responsible for the delinquent they FAILED to raise properly?

Happens constantly by republicans who read FOX news articles regarding black children who are murdered by cops, just read the comments they post.

bradtipton said...

Excellent topic,
Now a day there are few military service and criminal liability which work for beneficial for 18 year olds. There should be proper setup to brings our children save from any criminal scenes.

Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Ecclesiastes 1(2) “Nothing makes sense! Everything is nonsense. I have seen it all-nothing makes sense”!

Tony2Wolves said...

Having worked with youth offenders as a mental health professional I can tell you people under the age of 25 do not have mature brains. Stop and think about how your view on many topics have changed over the years you have been alive. Many are shocked to find themselves becoming their parents when they hit 40. Based on my behavioral science training, at one of the fine Texas Baptist Universities (UMHB), I would move the age to 25 across the board. No voting, alcohol, adult criminal charges, military service, unsupervised firearm use off family property, or unsupervised knife use off family property. A person is a child or an adult not some mix depending on the particular activity.

I like Gov. Abbot as a person, but I don't always like everything he does and says. As for me (Old guy 67), I consider myself to be a conservative who attempts to operate on logic, not emotion. Operating in the emotional world of political correctness does not work out most times.

Rule #1 - Follow the money
Rule #2 - Never forget Rule #1
Rule #3 - When interacting with a politician definitely never forget Rule #1 and feel free to jump to your worst case conclusion until proven otherwise.....