Rep. Crenshaw: 'If You're Going to Look at Immutable Characteristics That Are Consistent Amongst Gun Crime, Well, Then It's Men'

Janey Olohan | June 15, 2022 | 10:32am EDT
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House Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas)
House Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas)

(CNS News) -- When asked whether the legal age to drink alcohol, 21, should be lowered to 18, which is the legal age to purchase a rifle, such as the AR-15, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said, “We can’t just arbitrarily decide when you are an adult and when you are not an adult.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, June 9, CNS News asked Rep. Crenshaw, “Under federal law a person can buy a rifle at 18, but they can’t buy alcohol until they are 21. Should the drinking age be lowered to 18?”

Crenshaw said, “Well, I think the question is do we change the definition of an adult? Twenty-one is a pretty arbitrary number for alcohol too, I mean. And it certainly doesn’t change what 18 year olds do with alcohol, does it?”

“So, if we decide that 18 year olds are simply too immature, which is, by the way, a very valid discussion to be having, especially in this day and age, then let’s have that discussion, and say maybe it's 20, 22, maybe it's 25, I don't know," he said. “But we can’t just kind of arbitrarily decide when you are an adult and when you are not an adult. I don’t see the benefit in doing that.”

"And if you're going to look at immutable characteristics that are consistent amongst gun crime, well, then it's men," he said. "So, now, if you really want to be logical about it, then you would have to say, well, no men can own guns, and we're obviously not going to do that."

"I don't see it having the outcome that people want," he said. "I mean, it would have put a speed bump in front of this kid in Uvalde, but for the most part it's a very mixed bag on who commits these shootings.  And, whether they wait until their 21 to commit the shooting that they've decided they're going to do, or whether they just obtain a gun by some other way--usually by stealing it, is how most illegal guns are obtained. Somebody with a lot of will, don't underestimate them--and that is the sad reality we live in.

“The deeper question is why do we have so many violent, deranged people,” said Crenshaw. “And we do seem to have more of that than other places. And it all seems to occur right after Columbine. We had plenty of guns before that, we did not have these kind of shootings, these dramatic sort of attention-seeking shootings. And, so, there's clearly a social contagion that's been happening. That's a very difficult problem to fix. I'm not sure how to fix that."

Currently, federal law states that those who are 18 and older may purchase rifles, such as an AR-15 and shotguns; however, to purchase handguns from a licensed vendor the minimum age is 21.

Crenshaw, who owns an AR-15, stated on June 11 that he supports certain gun control measures, such as increased background checks on gun sales between the ages of 18 and 21. He believes that juvenile history as well as mental records should be taken into account before issuing guns to young adults.

(Screenshot, Mossberg)
(Screenshot, Mossberg)

However, he does not support red flag laws. Crenshaw called red flag laws, “trying to enforce a law before it’s been broken.” 

On Wednesday, June 8, the House voted to pass sweeping gun control legislation in the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” following the Uvalde, Texas school shooting. The Act would raise the age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21 years old, while also cracking down on so-called ghost guns and gun trafficking.

The Senate is also working on new gun control legislation, which includes red flag rules. Reportedly, at least 10 Republicans have joined with the Democrats to help pass the bill. Some of those Republican senators include Mitt Romney (Utah), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Mitch McConnell (Ky.).

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