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Congressman Brown Reintroduces Legislation Raising the Age to Buy Semi-Automatic Weapons

Following wear orange weekend, raising awareness for gun violence, it’s time to redouble legislative efforts to save lives

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) reintroduced the Raise the Age Act to increase the age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old. Most Americans have to wait until the age of 21 before they can legally buy alcohol, rent a vehicle or gamble in most states. But under federal law, an 18-year-old can walk into a gun store and buy a military-style assault weapon. That same teenager is prohibited from purchasing a handgun.

In April, a 19-year old legally purchased semiautomatic rifles and killed eight individuals at FedEx facility in Indianapolis. This past weekend, advocates around the country wore orange to raise awareness of gun violence and Congressional action needed to end this deadly epidemic. 

“Mass shootings have become tragically familiar occurrences in our country. What makes them all the more painful is that they were preventable through commonsense reforms to our nation’s gun laws that would prevent young people from purchasing dangerous weaponry. We have not done nearly enough to tackle the epidemic of gun violence Americans experience on our streets, our workplaces, public venues, and at our schools,” said Congressman Brown. “ Too many have died because Congress has failed to act. We have a moral obligation to stop these senseless tragedies.”

Many retailers have already raised the age to purchase weapons and ammunition to 21, and multiple states have passed similar laws to prevent teenagers from being able to purchase semi-automatic weapons. Currently, anywhere from 7-in-10 to 8-in-10 Americans support raising the permissible age for buying a gun, and more than 6-in-10 Americans in gun-owning households support increasing the purchasing age to 21.

Original cosponsors of the Raise the Age Act include: Reps. Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Jim Langevin (RI-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

The Raise the Age Act is endorsed by Giffords.

“A young person's ability to easily access an assault rifle is devastating our nation, causing tragedy after tragedy. The recent shooting in Indianapolis is the latest, urgent reminder that these deadly firearms should be more difficult to buy than handguns. In just a few minutes, the 19-year old shooter was able to kill 8 people and injure several more using an assault rifle. The Raise the Age Act is a necessary piece of legislation to protect our communities from more tragedies. We thank Representative Brown for his leadership on this issue,” said Adzi Vokhiwa, Giffords Federal Affairs Director.

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