In 1989, Phyllis Kahn, a DFL state representative from Minneapolis at the time, introduced a bill in the Minnesota House asking that voters decide if the Minnesota Constitution should be amended to allow state residents 12 years old and up to vote. Although her proposal was met with questions about her sincerity and sanity, she was, indeed, very sincere with her proposal and voters in her district must have trusted her mind as they kept her in office for nearly three decades after that idea.

She argued at the time that lowering the age limit shouldn’t pose a problem because most government pamphlets intentionally gear their content to a 12-year-old’s reading level. She also noted that women’s rights didn’t make much progress until women were empowered with the vote in 1920.

“No longer can we depend on our society or parents to be the sole protectors for our children,” she told media at the time. “We must urge our children to join us in the decision-making process, particularly on the issues that affect them.”

As expected, the proposal never made it near the ballot since that would have been a radical change in the election process anywhere in the world. However, 18 years later, Kahn moderated some, proposing a vote on a constitutional amendment to allow 16-year-olds to vote in school board elections. She reasoned that if we trust 16-year-olds to drive on our public roads at 16, we should trust them to vote.

Perhaps Kahn was just ahead of her time. She left office at the end of 2016, but her idea of lowering the voting age is now being discussed throughout the United States.

The reason for the recent push is the activism of students from Parkland, Florida, who are articulately voicing their opinions on gun control after their school was the site of another mass shooting that too often victimizes our youngest citizens.

The last time our nation lowered the voting age was in 1971 when the Vietnam conflict was raging. The change was driven primarily by young people who argued they were old enough to be drafted and sent overseas to die in a foreign conflict, but had no say in the political process that sent them there.

However, that wasn’t a decision that quickly popped up due to the Vietnam conflict. A senator proposed lowering the voting age way back in 1941 and President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his 1954 State of the Union address became the first president to publicly state his support for allowing 18-year-olds to vote.

Although Kahn had been a lone voice when it came to lowering the voting age from 18, there are 13 states that allow cities the option to lower the voting age to 16 in local elections through charter amendments. The City of Takoma Park, Maryland, became the first to follow through, lowering its voting age to 16 in 2013 for elections on local issues only. Since then, only two other U.S. cities, both in Maryland, have done the same.

All of a sudden, though, the conversation is progressing rapidly as there is serious discussion about lowering the voting age for all elections in entire states. The motivation is driven by the outrage that those most vulnerable to school shootings have no say in how that violence is best prevented.

Since the move is intertwined with gun control measures that many of the Florida students area advocating, the proposal is viewed politically rather than pragmatically by some officials, making it more difficult to push through partisan bodies.

Others wonder about the capability of young people to grasp complex issues since they are prone to get caught up in dangerous fads such as the Tide pod challenge.

Psychological studies have shown that while people that young may still lack self-regulation to control emotions, the skills necessary to make informed decisions are in place by age 16. That means older teens can be sensible people when given time to reason, but they still need some impulse supervision, which is why youthful restrictions will always remain good practices.

One argument in favor of lowering the vote is that it might get 16- and 17-year-olds excited about voting, something that could create a lifetime habit that is sorely needed in the United States where voting participation is declining.

Internationally, 20 countries allow citizens under the age of 18 to vote. In 2011, when Norway tested allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote, 58 percent showed up to the polls, more than first-time voters ages 18 to 21. Austria, the first European country to lower its voting age to 16 in 2008, has also seen a similar trend with generally positive results.

While 16- and 17-year-olds can’t vote in any state or national elections in the United States, there are six people that age running for governor of Kansas. An attentive 16-year-old noticed that Kansas laws have no wording on age limits for candidates, so he filed for the office earlier this year. Five others followed him.

Although the youthful ambitions were met with laughs at first, all of a sudden it isn’t so far-fetched. After all, President Donald Trump touted his lack of experience and political outsider status as a positive trait. Then the Florida students showed that thoughtful, persuasive ideas may come from young minds.

The young candidates are being taken seriously enough that there is pushback from threatened adult politicians who have introduced a bill in a legislative committee to establish an age of candidacy in Kansas.

There hasn’t been a mass school shooting in Kansas, but the young people have another reason to feel victimized. The previous governor’s giant tax cuts were so extreme that the Kansas Supreme Court found they violated the state’s Constitution, which guarantees all children the right to a quality education.

The young candidates, though, are campaigning on adult issues, taking stands on such things as the Affordable Care Act, water quality, net neutrality and the minimum wage.

It is unlikely any of them will make it to the ballot on Election Day as the Republican or Democratic nominee in Kansas. In reality, it is probably just as unlikely that 16-year-olds will be voting in national elections in 2020.

However, raising the possibility of allowing our young people to vote isn’t considered a gag or an eccentric proposition anymore.