Joe Simonson on February 20, 2018
One columnist at CNN has a novel way to change America’s gun laws: give children full voting rights.
“When you can’t change laws, change who decides the lawmakers” — or something like that — is the gist of Joshua Douglas’s column on CNN.com Tuesday.
After the horrific shooting in Parkland, Fla., liberals haven’t missed a beat in their quest for stricter gun control laws. Problem is, millions of Americans like their guns and a radical cultural change likely isn’t popular through our current legislative process.
One way to fix that problem is to let 16-year-old kids vote, at least according to a law professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law.
“Lowering the voting age has the potential to increase turnout significantly. One of the biggest predictors of whether someone will vote is if they voted previously. Yet turning 18 is a tough time to expect young people to start the habit of voting. They are usually leaving home for school or the workforce, and they must navigate the hurdles of registering and requesting an absentee ballot if they are not at home,” writes Douglas.
Interestingly, much of Douglas’s argument rests on the idea that the teenagers he’s focussing on — the Parkland students media organizations have given tremendous airtime to in recent days — all happen to agree with him on a single policy issue: gun control.
“The young advocates from Stoneman Douglas High are mostly 16 and 17 years old, and they are the ones most forcefully demanding change. They have started the #NeverAgain Movement, planning a national protest and walkout. They are calling out politicians like Donald Trump and Marco Rubio for their failure to support gun control laws and for their ties to the NRA. They are holding rallies. They are engaging the media, keeping national attention on the issue.”
Douglas cites a study showing that “brains are fully formed for ‘cold cognition,’ or reasoned, deliberate decision making by age 16, which is the kind of thinking needed for voting.”
However, there is a plethora of studies that show brains are, in fact, not fully developed until individuals are well into their 20s.
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