Letter: We need to discuss age requirements, maturity

From: Dart Liebrandt


There is a lot of discussion of implementing a law requiring a person to be 21 years old in order to purchase a gun. Is this because a 21-year-old person has reached a level of maturity to own and possess a gun?

Indiana law requires a person to be 21 to purchase and consume alcohol. Was that decision made by the residents of Indiana because people under the age of 21 sometimes make immature decisions?

Recently, the state of Indiana considered raising the age limit to 21 in order to purchase tobacco products. Was that because people under the age of 21 are unable to make mature decisions concerning tobacco?

The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act allowed parents to cover their children with health insurance until the age of 26. Was that age established due to the inability of our young people to make mature health care decisions?

Unfortunately, I am confused concerning the decisions being made establishing the age a person is mature enough to conduct responsible and legal actions.

For instance, a person can get a driver’s license at the age of 16 — operating a 2,000- to 4,000-pound vehicle going at speeds up to 70 mph. Was this age established because Indiana citizens considered a 16-year-old mature enough?

A person can get married at the age of 18 without requiring parental consent. That is a lifetime commitment with another person requiring a very mature decision.

A person can commit to and sign a legally binding contract at the age of 18. This means they can buy a car, a home, get a loan and so forth. That requires a lot of maturity.

A person can get an abortion at the age of 18 without parental consent, thus making a mature decision concerning their own body but also making a mature decision on the future of a fetus.

A person can join or be drafted into the military at the age of 18 without requiring parental consent. That is a decision requiring a level of maturity.

A person can legally vote at the age of 18, making important mature decisions on who and how our local community, county, state and country will be governed.

So if I understand, a person under the age of 21 is considered not mature enough to own a gun, drink alcohol or possibly purchase tobacco. But a person under the age of 21 is mature enough to drive a car, get married, buy a home, get a loan, get an abortion, be in the military and vote in elections.

All of these actions and decisions require a level of maturity. Therefore, I think we need to discuss further why the age limit of maturity for some actions are 21, but 18 and below for others.