The Corner

Law & the Courts

16-Year-Olds Are Not Allowed Guns in California

A sheriff puts on tactical gear after a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., November 14, 2019 in this image from social media video. (KHTS Radio/Reuters)

Per the New York Times:

A suspect described as a 16-year-old male student was in custody and being treated at the hospital, the police said. Today was his birthday, and, according to the authorities, he pulled a handgun from a backpack and shot five people before turning the gun on himself.

Gun-control activists and Democratic presidential candidates have seized upon this news in order to advance the idea that it is time to pass whatever proposals they were already peddling, and, in concert, to blame those who disagree with them. In response, advocates of the right to keep and bear arms have pointed out that the shooting happened in California, which already has all the laws that Democrats in Congress tell us are necessary. This response is correct, of course, but it is also irrelevant given that the perpetrator was 16-years-old and that this case therefore doesn’t fit within our gun-control debate at all. In California, 16-year-olds are ineligible to buy handguns, to possess handguns, to carry handguns, and to take handguns onto school property. Nothing that was done here was legal at any point. No “loophole” was exploited. No liberty was abused. This was illegal from start to finish. Unless one is making a case for the forcible confiscation of every gun in America, there’s not a great deal to debate here.

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