To the editor:
In a recent letter concerning school safety, I stated that you had to be at least 25 years old to rent a car in all but two states. As has been pointed out, that was not accurate. Only two states, New York and Michigan, have laws that require rental companies to rent to 18-year-olds. In all other states it is up to the company. But all rental companies impose additional fees and other restrictions on anyone under 25. The point being that 18-year-olds have a tendency to act in a less than responsible manner more than older individuals.
It would seem that we have a potpourri of different standards for the allowable age for many things like tobacco, liquor, buying guns,and renting cars and, in many places, renting a motel room. The voting age for federal elections was 21 until 1971. Somehow we made it through two World Wars and countless other situations since 1788 without 18-year-olds voting. Somehow the Republic survived. Our Constitution sets the minimum age for elected representatives at 25 and 30 for senators.
So at what age should people become full citizens with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that it entails? I would submit to you that 21 is closer to that age than 18 based on demonstrated performance. Having said that, repealing the 26th Amendment is never going to happen, but what can happen is raising the age to 21 to legally purchase any firearm. Doing this does not take anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights away.
The real issue is still how to secure our schools. Banning so-called assault rifles, improved background checks, raising the legal age for firearms purchase, etc., will have marginal effects at best. Where did most of the school shooters get their weapons? They got them by stealing, straw buyers, access to family firearms or legal purchases in almost every case. Securing the target at the point of attack with entry control, armed security, metal detectors and searches of all bags/backpacks will be much more effective in reducing not just shootings but school stabbings and drug use. We should be used to these measures by now in this post-911 world. All of my children are grown and gone, but I would not mind paying a few dollars more in taxes for some real security in our schools.