Raising Age Requirement Would Have Little Effect On Mass Shootings

Will Trump proposal to raise age requirement for "assault weapons" to 21 have any effect? Image Source:scmp.com

President Trump has proposed raising the age requirement to 21 for purchasing so-called “assault weapons.” Like the one Nikolas Cruz, 19, legally purchased and used to kill 17 people at a Florida high school on Feb. 14.

After meeting with shooting survivors and families, President Trump proposes raising age requirement for "assault weapons" to 21. Image Source: AP

After meeting with shooting survivors and families, President Trump proposes raising age requirement for “assault weapons” to 21. Image Source: AP

However, ABC News reports that an overwhelming number of U.S. mass shootings over the last 50 years were committed by adults older than 21 who would not have been affected by Trump’s proposal.

Furthermore, in nearly all the mass shootings by shooters younger than 21, the guns were stolen from relatives or illegally purchased or the shooters were armed with guns not considered “assault weapons.”

Here’s a look at the shooters younger than 21 and the guns they used:

Jaylen Fryberg, 15.

Oct. 14, 2014, Marysville, Washington high school shooting. He was armed with .40 caliber handgun he stole from his father. Fryberg’s father was later convicted of illegally obtaining the gun for failing to disclose a tribal domestic-violence protective order on his background check.

Adam Lanza, 20.

Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut. before killing himself at the scene. He He killed his mom and stole her legally purchased firearms.

Robert Hawkins, 19.

Dec. 5, 2007 Omaha, Nebraska mall shooting. He was armed with a semi-automatic rifle he stole from his stepfather, who legally purchased the weapon.

Tyler Peterson, 20.

Oct. 7, 2007, Tyler, an off-duty Deputy Sheriff killed six people at a high school homecoming party in Crandon, Wisconsin. He was armed with the semi-automatic rifle issued to him by the sheriff’s department where he worked.

Sulejman Talovic, 18.

Feb. 12, 2007, Salt Lake City mall shooting. He was armed with a shotgun and handgun he legally purchased at a pawn shop. Neither is classified as an “assault weapon.”

Arcan Cetin, 20.

Sept. 23, 2016, Burlington, Washington mall shooting. He was armed with a .22-caliber rifle stolen from his father.

Jeffrey Weise, 16.

March 21, 2005, Red Lake, Minnesota high school shooting. He was armed with .22-caliber handgun and a shotgun stolen from his grandfather, a police officer who legally owned the weapons.

The following occurred during the 10 year Assault Weapons Ban 1994-2004.

Eric Harris, 18 and Dylan


April 20, 1999, Columbine High School shooting. They were armed with two shotguns and a 9 mm carbine rifle and a 9 mm pistol. An 18-year-old classmate purchased the firearms for Harris and Klebold because the two were underage at the time of the purchase. Mark Manes, who was 22 at the time, was sentenced to six years in prison for illegally selling the semi-automatic pistol to the underage Klebold.

Kip Kinkle, 15.

May 21, 1998, Springfield, Oregon high school shooting. He was armed with a .32-caliber pistol he purchased from a classmate, who stole it from his father.

Mitchell Johnson, 13 and Andrew Golden, 15.

March 24, 1998 the pair killed four students and a teacher at a middle school near Jonesboro, Arkansas. They were armed with nine weapons stolen from Golden’s grandfather. Each was convicted of murder in juvenile court and released from prison after their 21st birthdays.

PRE-1994 Assault Weapons Ban

Nathan Dunlap, 19.

Dec. 14, 1993, Aurora, Colorado Chuck E. Cheese pizza restaurant shooting. He was armed with a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol. It’s unclear how Dunlap obtained the gun.

Eric Houston, 20.

On May 1, 1992 Houston killed three students and a teacher at a high school near Marysville, California. He was armed with a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and a sawed-off .22 caliber rifle legally purchased at a gun store. Neither gun is considered an “assault weapon.”

Emile Benoist, 20.

Aug. 26, 1977 Benoist killed six people as he wandered along railroad tracks in Hackettstown, New Jersey. He was armed with a .44-caliber semi-automatic rifle. It’s unclear where he obtained the gun, but criminal convictions prohibited him from owning firearms.

Robert Smith, 18.

Nov. 1, 1977 Smith killed five people at a Mesa, Arizona hairdressers’ school. He was armed with a .22-caliber pistol given to him by his parents.

These are just the mass shootings perpetrated by those who would be effected by the increased age requirement. Of the 14 cases above, 6 involved stolen guns. Columbine was an illegal straw purchase, bought by a legal purchaser and sold to an illegal purchaser. Which is already, you guessed it, illegal.

The rest were legally purchased non-assault weapons, gifts, unknown origin or worst of all a Sheriff’s Department issued duty weapon.

The only mass shooting that an age increase on “assault weapons” would have effected is the most recent Parkland FL. High school shooting.

This is reactionary policy with no credible justification. It’s based on a false narrative, “he can buy an assault weapon, but can’take buy a beer.” Part of an already disjointed web of baseless age requirements on supposed adults. We set an age of adulthood at 18, but apparently that’s not adult enough to drink or buy a gun.

However, it is adult enough to join law enforcement or the military and be issued a gun. It is adult enough to vote, sign contracts, get married, be tried, convicted and sentenced to death as an adult.

Passing laws based on one incident that does not effect the pattern or perpetrators of the vast majority of such events makes no sense. If an age increase is warranted, then it should be applied to ALL aspects of adulthood. You are either an adult, fully vested in your rights and responsibilities, or you’re not. Retroactively addressing one event in a way that does not address the overall issue is not good policy.

About the Author

Jon Britton
Author, Advocate, Blogger & Zombie Aficionado. Air Force veteran and jack of all trades, with a wide range of experience with many different cultures around the world as well as working alongside both CEOs and average Joes. "Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion." A passion that has taken him in many directions from history to zombies to advocacy to News especially in this day and age of "Fake News" and "Alternative Facts." The Truth Is Out There!

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