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Brown, Fitzpatrick Lead Bipartisan Effort to Raise the Age to Purchase Assault Weapons

Bipartisan Bill Would Raise Minimum Age to Buy AR-15

Washington, DC, February 27, 2018
Tags: Congress
Congressmen Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) announced they are leading a bipartisan effort to raise the age to purchase an assault weapon. They introduced the ‘Raise the Age Act’ (H.R.5090) on Monday with 18 of their colleagues - the first bipartisan bill to tighten gun safety since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Today, Congressmen Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) announced they are leading a bipartisan effort to raise the age to purchase an assault weapon. They introduced the ‘Raise the Age Act’ (H.R.5090) on Monday with 18 of their colleagues - the first bipartisan bill to tighten gun safety since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“The weight of this tragedy and the countless shootings before Parkland demand that Congress take meaningful action,” said Congressman Brown. “This common-sense bipartisan bill is a critical first step that closes a dangerous loophole in our gun laws. Teenagers should not be able to buy assault weapons. Representative Fitzpatrick and I will do everything we can to marshal our colleagues, address gun violence and demonstrate to the American people that Congress can work together to make our communities safer.”  

Under current federal law, you must be 21 to purchase a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer but only 18 to purchase a semiautomatic military-style rifle, such as an AR-15. This legislation would create parity between the two classes of firearms 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. The bill would not create additional restrictions on shotguns or other long guns - not typically classified as assault weapons - used primarily for hunting or recreation.

“As we pray as a nation for all the victims and families devastated by the Parkland school shooting, we must not allow yet another tragedy to go unanswered. It is incumbent upon all of us to identify the root causes of this senseless violence and move to address it immediately,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “All options must be on the table, including raising the age restrictions for purchasing these weapons. This bill does just that, with the goal of preventing Parkland from ever happening again. While continuing to support Second Amendment rights, this Congress can, and must, take meaningful action to put aside partisanship and work together to protect our children.”

The legislation also includes a requirement for the FBI to submit a report on the operations of the Public Access Line (PAL) Tip Line and recommendations on how to improve it. The FBI determined that established protocols were not followed for information received by the PAL on January 5 regarding the Parkland shooter.  

"If the 19-year-old Parkland shooter couldn't walk into a gun store and legally buy a handgun, then it's just common sense that he shouldn't have been able to legally buy a semi-automatic rifle. This an area where both political parties should work together, and we applaud Reps. Brown and Fitzpatrick,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety.

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, 70% of Americans back stricter gun laws and there is broad cross-party support for raising the age at which a person can purchase a firearm. In recent weeks, President Trump and a bipartisan group of Governors and Senators have indicated public support to raise the age to buy assault rifles.

The legislation is available online here.

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