Kansas Republican backs raising age to buy semiautomatic rifles

Sen. Pat Roberts is voicing support for restricting access to semiautomatic rifles for those under the age of 21....

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 8:40 AM
Updated: Feb 23, 2018 8:40 AM

Sen. Pat Roberts is voicing support for restricting access to semiautomatic rifles for those under the age of 21.

"Certainly nobody under 21 should have an AR-15," the Kansas Republican said when speaking to reporters at the Kansas Statehouse, according to the The Wichita Eagle.

His stance echoes that of fellow Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake following the school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead.

In the wake of the mass shooting last week, there have been renewed calls on lawmakers for gun control measures, and his comments are the latest indication of a shift in the dialogue surrounding the issue, which many see as gridlocked.

"This is an opportunity, if you look at these youngsters who are so emotionally tied into this grief of losing their friends - but it's more than gun control. But I think we're ready as a Congress to actually pass something, and I think it's going to be better background checks," Roberts said, according to the newspaper.

On Wednesday, Flake, an Arizona Republican, announced he was backing a bill that would increase the age to buy a semiautomatic rifle.

"A kid too young buy a handgun should be too young to buy an #AR15," Flake said in a tweet. "Working with @SenFeinstein on a bipartisan bill that will raise the minimum purchase age for non-military buyers from 18 to 21 -- the same age you currently have to be to purchase a handgun."

President Donald Trump also said age restrictions in purchasing various weapons was something the administration was looking at.

"In addition to what we're going to do about background checks, we're going to go very strong into age, age of purchase, and we're also going to go very strong into the mental health aspect," Trump said at a listening session at the White House with people who have been affected by school shootings.

Rubio said during a CNN town hall Wednesday that he "absolutely" believes that 18-year-olds should be restricted from purchasing rifles.

"I absolutely believe that in this country, if you are 18 years of age, you should not be able to buy a rifle, and I will support a law that takes that right away," Rubio said.

However, also on Wednesday evening, the National Rifle Association said it disagreed with the notion of raising the purchasing age for rifles.

"Federal law prohibits adults under the age of 21 from purchasing a handgun from a licensed firearm dealer," said Jennifer Baker, the NRA public affairs director. "Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving them of their constitutional right to self-protection."

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