Raising long gun age limit does have precedent

Firearm regulation is a vexing issue when it comes to compromise. Especially when it comes to translating concepts — such as common-sense gun safety — into legislation.

But age restrictions on firearm purchases, as being endorsed by President Donald Trump, may be one avenue to middle ground.

Trump hasn’t been specific on which firearms those age 18-20 no longer would be able to purchase. Perhaps it would encompass all long guns. Perhaps it would be limited to auto-loading firearms.

Such a restriction is not without precedent. Those under the age of 21 already are prohibited from buying handguns. So the change apparently could withstand a legal challenge.

Those younger than 21 also are prohibited from buying alcoholic beverages.

Would it be effective? Most shootings at schools have been committed by those younger than 21.

Shootings at colleges and universities, meanwhile, have involved adults; violent attacks, whether in workplaces or places of learning, tend to involve contemporaries.

Restricting all or most firearm purchases to those age 21 and older could be awkward when those age 18-20 are able to enlist in the armed forces. Indeed, males are required to register for Selective Service after reaching the age of 18 (but not females — that’s another issue).

Yet the compromise wouldn’t address why a modular rifle system that has been available for decades has been used to commit mayhem with greater frequency in just the past 10 years.

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