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Brown Praises Passage of his Bipartisan Legislation Raising the Age to Buy Semi-Automatic Weapons

“These weapons have no place in our neighborhoods, let alone, in the hands of an 18-year-old.”

"After years of inaction, enough is enough. It’s time to treat these deadly weapons with the same seriousness that we treat handguns. My bill, which just passed the House with Democrats and Republicans, does just that. It’s commonsense, it's bipartisan, it will save lives and I urge the Senate to act quickly to get this bill to President Biden’s desk.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) praised the House passage of his legislation to increase the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old, in line with handguns. The title passed on one of the largest bipartisan votes, 228-199, as part of House Democrats’ “Protecting Our Kids” package of gun violence prevention legislation. The Raise the Age Act co-lead is Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).

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 shooters in Uvalde and Buffalo purchased legally and used to murder more than 30 individuals. 

“As a soldier, I’ve seen firsthand the carnage semiautomatic rifles can inflict and the responsibility they require. These weapons have no place in our neighborhoods, let alone, in the hands of an 18-year-old. In a little over a week, more than 30 individuals including 19 children were murdered. Had this barrier existed, we may have prevented these 18-year-olds from legally purchasing these weapons and causing such immense tragedy,” said Congressman Brown. “After years of inaction, enough is enough. It’s time to treat these deadly weapons with the same seriousness that we treat handguns. My bill, which just passed the House with Democrats and Republicans, does just that. It’s commonsense, it's bipartisan, it will save lives and I urge the Senate to act quickly to get this bill to President Biden’s desk.” 

In the last five years, there’s been four mass shootings - in Parkland, Indianapolis, Buffalo and Uvalde - where the gunmen were under the age of 21 and purchased their weapons legally. There have already been more than 232 mass shootings in the United States during 2022.

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, VoteVets, the American Federation of Teachers, the American College of Physicians and Amnesty International.

“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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