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Parkland aftermath: Trump’s age requirement suggestion sparks debate

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

Last week President Trump discussed raising the legal age to purchase “long guns” from 18 to 21 and banning bump stocks in light of the recent tragedy in Parkland.

19-year-old Nikolas Cruz reportedly purchased an AR-15 legally before using it during the shooting at the Florida high school which left 17 people dead. Firearm expert, Cliff Cargill, says that a long gun can range from a shotgun used for hunting to the AR-15. The gun control conversation has the nation at odds over how to move forward.

Cargill says that raising the age limit is not the correct way to react to the issue because it punishes all responsible gun owners for the actions of one person.

“There are fundamental flaws with that policy. You can join the military at 18, and we send our young people into dangerous situations on behalf of this county. To tell law-abiding citizens that vote, pay taxes and work that they are now deprived of their constitutional right because of the actions of one person when the FBI dropped the ball on the shooter in Florida; I don’t think that is good policy.

Expounding on his point, Cargill mentioned that the FBI had received tips about Cruz from several sources and failed to take the appropriate action. He says that the same failure existed in the Texas church shooting that occurred back in 2017. The shooter’s records from the Air Force should’ve stopped him from getting his hands on a gun, but Cargill says the resulting shooting shows a systematic failure from law enforcement.

“We’re dealing with the same situation in Florida. You cannot punish the whole population when law enforcement has failed that whole population. You are punishing law-abiding gun owners for the actions of evil individuals and a federal government that fails us,” Cargill said.

Constitutional Attorney Stephen Stamboulieh agrees and says that the actions of the shooter should not be pushed onto others.

“It’s always the person that commits the violent acts fault,” he said. “It’s not anyone else’s, but the state bears some culpability along the FBI and the police; they all bear some but ultimately, it’s that kids’ fault for bringing the gun to the school and shooting. I think people are quick to blame everyone else and then conveniently forget that it is the shooter’s fault.”

Stamboulieh went on to say, similarly to Cargill, that law enforcement had tips about Cruz that they failed to follow up on and that they missed several “red flags.”

The banning of bump stocks, which are used to make semi-auto weapons faster, has been debated as well. Cargill says it would have little impact on stopping them from making their way into the wrong hands.

“Criminals are criminals because they don’t obey the law,” he said. “If you look back in history at things that have been banned, there was plenty of alcohol that flooded society during prohibition. We’ve been in a war on drugs my entire adult life and yet, here we are.”

While President Trump has said that the NRA backs the proposal of raising the age from 18 to 21, the organization seemed to disprove that in a public statement.

“Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving them of their constitutional right to self-protection,” the NRA said in a statement.

An increased emphasis on background checks has also been discussed as it relates to those with mental illnesses being able to purchase a gun.

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