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Brown, Fitzpatrick Renew Call to Pass Bipartisan Legislation Raising the Age to Buy Semi-Automatic Weapons

“We can take this step today to make every neighborhood in our country safer.”

Under current federal law, you must be 21 to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer but only 18 to purchase semi-automatic rifles—the same weapons the 18-year-old shooter in Uvalde purchased soon after his 18th birthday and found at the scene of the mass shooting that same month. The same weapon was used by the 18-year-old shooter at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) renewed their push for action on their legislation to increase the age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old, following the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo New York that left 19 children, two educators and ten Black supermarket customers dead.

Under current federal law, you must be 21 to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer but only 18 to purchase semi-automatic rifles—the same weapons the 18-year-old shooter in Uvalde purchased soon after his 18th birthday and found at the scene of the mass shooting that same month. The same weapon was used by the 18-year-old shooter at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo.

“After dual horrifying tragedies in Uvalde and Buffalo, too often hear words of solace without any action. That inaction costs us lives. I used these weapons of war on as a soldier. They have no place in our neighborhoods, let alone in the hands of an 18-year-old. Raising the age to buy weapons capable of this kind of mass death is as commonsense as it gets,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “We’ve known for a long time that our gun laws have glaring loopholes in them. We’ve known for a long time white supremacists and individuals intending to carry out mass murder exploit these loopholes. We can no longer delay. Our children are being killed and our communities are being torn apart. We can take this step today to make every neighborhood in our country safer.”

“In the wake of the many tragedies we have seen as of late, it is time to put aside partisanship and stand together in an effort to combat this unnecessary gun violence,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. “I am pleased to work with Congressman Brown on supporting bipartisan legislation that will raise the minimum age for semi-automatic weapon purchases. There are significant measures that Congress can and should take to protect our citizens while continuing to preserve our 2nd Amendment.”

The Raise the Age Act would create parity between the two policies by raising the age to purchase a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has or can accept a magazine of five rounds or more, while providing an exemption for active duty military and full-time law enforcement officers. This legislation also includes a reporting requirement for the FBI to submit recommendations on how to improve the Public Access Line (PAL) Tip Line.

The Raise the Age Act is endorsed by Giffords, Brady, Everytown for Gun Safety and VoteVets.

“We have witnessed yet again the devastation that can be caused when a young person has easy access to assault rifles. The tragic events in Buffalo and Uvalde are the latest, urgent reminders that these deadly firearms should be more difficult to buy than handguns. The Raise the Age Act is a necessary piece of legislation to protect our communities from more tragedies. We thank Representatives Brown and Fitzpatrick for their leadership on this issue,” said Nico Bocour, Giffords Government Affairs Director.

“We have seen too many tragic incidents in which young people, and particularly young men, use semi-automatic rifles paired with high capacity magazines to attack and terrorize our communities,” said Brady President Kris Brown. “These weapons of war are designed to inflict maximum casualties, yet are available to young people before they can even purchase a handgun. It is time that the law reflects the enhanced danger that these weapons pose to public safety. Brady thanks Reps. Brown and Fitzpatrick for introducing this common-sense and important bill.”

“Over the course of just ten days, both Buffalo and Uvalde paid a devastating price for an outdated federal law that allows 18-year-olds to buy assault rifles from gun dealers," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. "We applaud Congressmen Brown and Fitzpatrick for championing this lifesaving legislation, which is timely proof that there is bipartisan support for common-sense gun laws.” 

“At the bare minimum, we should all agree that teenagers shouldn’t be able to purchase weapons of war, which would have kept those rifles out of the hands of the mass shooter, yesterday. Congressman Brown’s bill is a common-sense first step towards curbing gun violence. It’s a measure that the state of Florida even took. We should all agree it is a good idea, pass it, and get it to President Biden immediately,” said Mary Kaszynski, Director of Government Relations, VoteVets.

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