On February 24th, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was joined by HBO’s Jon Frankel to report that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) fight to allow “young kids to access guns.”
To make this case, Hayes opened the segment by focusing on the NRA’s failed challenge of a Texas law prohibiting “the majority of 18-to-20-year olds from carrying a handgun in public” with a concealed carry license. Hayes said this court challenge on behalf of “teenagers” shows the NRA “apparently believes everyone should be allowed to carry handguns.”
Hayes then brought in Frankel to discuss how the legal age to be in possession of a firearm varies from state to state, but they did this without differentiating between ages for legal possession for various gun types.
For example, Hayes and Frankel focused on how Virginia law allows a 13-year-old to possess a .22 rifle, without mentioning that the same 13-year-old is barred from possessing or transporting “a handgun or assault firearm.” Instead, the message was that teenagers too young to get “a pornographic magazine” or “beer” could get and/or possess a .22 rifle.
They pointed to seven states with “no minimum age for solo hunting” and criticized Illinois for allowing children as young as four to take “a gun safety course.”
Instead of noting the genius of teaching gun safety to kids early and having laws in place that allow them to possess some guns but not others–depending on age–Hayes and Frankel contend that state laws that do anything less than bar gun possession to anyone under 21 are proof the NRA and NSSF view “the children of today … [as] the consumers of tomorrow.”