Mill Valley News

Adult rights should be given all at once

Instead of receiving some adult rights at 18 and some at 21, one should receive all rights at the same age

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Adult rights should be given all at once

Samantha Volkamer, JAG copy editor and organizations editor

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After witnessing many seniors vote in this year’s midterm elections, I began to think about when you truly become an adult. Legally, one is an adult when they turn 18, but due to other laws and restrictions, that is not really the case. While I think the age to become an adult should not be 18, I do think receiving adult rights should happen all at once.

When one turns 18, they are able to vote, join the military, purchase tobacco products federally, get a tattoo or body piercing, be selected for jury duty, get married, their parents are no longer responsible for their actions, etc. When one turns 21, they are able to drink alcohol legally, rent a car, gamble, buy a handgun, etc.

When one becomes responsible for themselves, is able to vote and can purchase tobacco products, they should also be able to drink. It is absolutely ridiculous that these major rights are separated between three years. They should all be given at the same age. It is just pure common sense.

Most 18 year olds are still in high school and live under their parents’ roof. In reality, they still have to abide by their parents rules and are still children. Yet we give them the right to vote on our country’s leaders and decide other’s fates through jury duty.

The ability to join the military also happens when one turns 18. Joining the military gives people the responsibility of serving our country and using guns. We trust 18 year olds to use a gun, which can be very violent if used incorrectly, but we don’t let them do something as simple as rent a car.

In addition, one is able to purchase and use tobacco products federally. Some states and cities have moved the age to purchase tobacco up to 21, but because it is federally 18, people who are not yet 21 are still able to be in possession of those products. Tobacco leaves lasting effects on people, but we are allowing teens to use them. If the right to purchase and use tobacco products is given at age 18, why is the right to purchase and consume alcohol or rent a car given at age 21?

With all of that being said, I do not believe one truly becomes an “adult” until they are 21. Although 18 year olds have not received all rights they still are able to make major decisions. Therefore, if people received all of these rights at the same time they would actually become an adult all at once.

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