Justin Yang is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
After the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, there has been a renewed national debate on gun control, and one that thankfully seems to be different than those in the past. Media attention has been sustained, and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas and elsewhere have effectively organized walk-outs and marches. Many proposals that have arisen through this debate are worth considering, from an assault weapons ban to limits on the size of magazines. However, although I support a broad range of gun control provisions, one proposal being seriously discussed would run into immediate constitutional and legal issues—the proposal to raise the gun-purchasing age to 21.
According to current federal law, it is illegal for federally licensed gun dealers to sell a handgun to someone under 21 years of age.  However, while handguns can be sold to 18-year-olds in private sales and gun shows, long guns such as rifles and shotguns can be sold to 18-year-olds by both licensed dealers and unlicensed sellers.  Clearly, there are still a wide variety of ways an 18-year-old can legally buy a gun, which has raised concerns among gun-control advocates and even traditional gun-rights advocates—Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott has recently signed a bill that, among other things, raises the minimum age for purchasing rifles to 21, and politicians such as President Donald Trump, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Kansas Senator Pat Roberts have signalled their support for such a proposal.  After all, the shooter in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was 19-years-old and had used his own legally purchased semi-automatic rifle to kill.  Many others have pointed out current law allows a person who cannot legally buy alcohol to be able to walk into a store and purchase an AR-15 with little difficulty.  Clearly, the argument goes, the law needs to be fixed to resolve this absurdity.