A recent article in The New York Times (“A Disturbing New Pattern in Mass Shootings: Young Assailants”) explores why the majority of these crimes are now perpetrated by young men, under the age of 25.

As researchers have learned, the part of the human brain that governs judgment and impulse control in men isn't fully developed until age 25. Due to hormones and other factors, this is particularly problematic between the ages of 15 and 25.

Now 74, I have concluded that my four biggest mistakes in life were made when I was 15, 18, 23 and 24. This is fairly typical.

Since last week’s tragic events in Uvalde, Texas, much of the debate has been over raising the age limit for gun purchases from 18 to 21. Given legislative reluctance, I doubt that such a ban will happen.

But an “in between” solution might be this: Forbid persons under 25 from possessing any semi-automatic firearm, or any handgun above .22 magnum caliber. This, at least, would deprive mentally unbalanced youths from going on the kind of murderous rampages which, sadly, have become a stereotypically American phenomenon.

Like many, I believe the Second Amendment is vital to keeping our country from ever falling under an authoritarian government. I also feel that the prevention of violent crime should focus more on the “who” and the “why,” than on the “how.” But teenagers with high-powered guns is nonsense.

Mark Behrend

Redwood City

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(2) comments

Terence Y

Actually, Mr. Behrend, your observation of “mentally unbalanced youths” is one of the keys. Some focus should be on helping them, and anyone else, become mentally balanced. As you wrote, let’s focus on the “who” but let’s not penalize all persons under 25 who are mentally balanced. Is it any surprise that over 1 million more firearms were sold last month? Anytime there’s screeching about gun control, it only results in more firearms sold. BTW, what’s with Chuck Schumer recently blocking a school safety bill? Everyone should be upset that Schumer values politics more than our kids?


I agree, but other, more important, factors must be at work.If not, there would have been similar mass killings in the past. Easy access to assault weapons is one. Mass media focuses on buying such weapons, when we should not sell them. Another overlooked cause is the role of the father, which is key.

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