Michelle Malkin’s opinion piece on Feb. 22, “Do Not Let the Children Lead,” was particularly dismaying. This high school-led movement for reforming gun laws in our country is impressive. Adolescents are daring to draw a line in the sand that so many adults, especially our elected officials, have refused to address. Enough is enough! America’s gun laws are in serious need of reformation.
Why is it that our young people are willing to carry the charge on this serious issue?
Why hasn’t this uproar been championed by others en masse? Many Americans believe in revising current laws. A poll released Feb. 20, 2018, conducted by Quinnipiac University, reveals that American voters support stricter gun laws by 66 percent to 31 percent. The poll further reports that:
Support for universal background checks is, itself, almost universal, 97 percent;
67 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons;
83 percent favor a mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases.
Furthermore, there is plenty of data that indicates that the vast majority of Americans support banning the sale of bump stocks and sales of large magazine rounds.
Youthful protesters are taking matters a step further. They are clamoring for raising the age of gun ownership to 21. Currently Utah law provides that no person under age 18 may possess a firearm (i.e., a rifle or shotgun) unless he or she has the permission of one’s parent or guardian to have the weapon. Not a very comforting thought. Gun laws in some states allow children as young as 14 to purchase guns.
Malkin, in her argument against lowering the voting age, decries that youth are not fit decision makers because they are fueled by “pizza and Sonic shakes.” If she believes that children “do not possess any semblance of wisdom,” then why on earth would she want them to be able to access a lethal weapon? And, if a junk food diet determines how good your judgment is, heaven help us. Our administrator-in-chief has been reported to drink 12 Diet Cokes a day. He opined at one town hall that “Big Macs are great. The Quarter Pounder. It's great stuff."
Lest we be lulled by the idea that school shootings could never happen here in Utah, in 2016 there were two school-site shootings. Miraculously no one died in either case.
It is ironic that Malkin mistrusts our youth so much that she does not want them to have access to the ballot box. But a box of bullets and an automatic weapon to discharge them from? She has no problem with that whatsoever.
Do not fear the strident voices of America’s youth. Their willingness to step up and own the gun laws issue proves that they are the ones that possess the maturity necessary to bring us all to our senses. As one student mournfully declared, "We don't need comfort; we need change."
Chuck Goode is the chair of the Washington County Democratic Party