Bipartisan Group Introduces Legislation to Raise Minimum Age to Purchase Firearms
Today, U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL), Pete King (R-NY), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced a bipartisan bill which would raise the minimum age requirement from 18 to 21 for gun buyers purchasing any firearm, including shotguns or rifles, from federally licensed dealers. Currently, the federal minimum age requirement to purchase handguns is 21, while the minimum age requirement for shotguns or rifles is 18.
The bill would make exceptions for law enforcement officers, correctional officers, or members of the military, and would not prohibit someone under the age of 21 from possessing a firearm.
“As I pledged to the Stoneman Douglas community, I will look for every opportunity to take action that can help keep our communities safe,” said Congressman Deutch. “Most Americans want to raise the minimum age to buy a firearm. With this bill, my Republican colleague Congressman Rooney and I are offering a bipartisan plan to help accomplish this. This legislation isn’t perfect and is only one piece of what Congress must consider. But it represents one more important bipartisan step toward our ultimate goal of comprehensive gun safety laws.”
“Florida is often considered the starting point for gun laws in the United States, and this year’s state legislative session saw the passage of one of the most comprehensive gun control reforms in Florida’s history,” Congressman Rooney said. “This wasn’t accomplished by one party’s votes over another. It was a group effort, achieved not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans ready to make a difference for the future of the state. We need to show we can cut through the partisan divide and do the same in Washington.”
“Federal courts have consistently upheld the Constitutionality of age-based restrictions on the commercial sale of firearms to protect public safety,” Congressman Rooney, a former professor of Constitutional law, continued. “If you can’t drink a beer until you turn 21, it makes sense that you should have to wait until you’re 21 to buy a gun. This bill may not be the end-all, be-all for commonsense gun legislation, but it is the type of bipartisan compromise on a tough issue that we don’t see enough of in today’s politics.”
“There is no single law that can put an end to mass shootings or gun violence, but there are certainly proactive steps we can take to reduce gun violence," Congressman Peter King said. "As government officials it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and when it comes to gun violence we must do more. I will continue to support efforts such as the 21 Bill to reduce gun violence. The overwhelming majority of Americans want to see action, and we owe it to the victims and their families to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.”
“Leaders on both sides of the aisle must show the political courage necessary to improve our nation’s gun laws. I’m proud our bipartisan bill demonstrates that leadership, bringing needed reform to keep our children safe,” said Congressman Crist.
“This bill is a common-sense proposal that could mitigate some of the violent tragedies being seen in communities like Parkland, without infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens," said Congressman Curbelo. "Americans are calling for and deserve meaningful action to ensure public safety. I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort to answer that call.”
“Raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm is a crucial step toward protecting our communities from gun violence. In Parkland, the 19-year-old shooter was able to carry out horrific violence with a gun he purchased legally – that shouldn't be the case," said Congresswoman Jayapal. "Since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, 7,000 children have lost their lives as a result of gun violence. They have been senselessly robbed of birthdays, futures and their right to grow up. Every day in our communities, people are dying because of this gun epidemic and it's past time for Congress to act. If this concrete step can prevent even one gun violence tragedy, it will be worth it. Lives are on the line."