3 Republican governors want to raise age to buy rifles to 21 (VIDEOS)

The governors of Florida, Tennessee and Utah are advocating increasing the age to buy rifles to 21, a move the National Rifle Association argues punishes law-abiding citizens for the acts of criminals.

Now in the second week following a school shooting in Parkland, Florida by a 19-year-old with a legally purchased AR-15, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced a multi-pronged agenda of actions that includes investing in mental health and school security, as well as legislative steps to introduce gun violence restraining orders in the state and raise the threshold age for long arm purchases.

“Also, we will require all individuals purchasing firearms to be 21 or older. Let me repeat – we will require all individuals purchasing firearms to be 21 or older,” Scott said. “There will be exceptions for active duty and reserve military and spouses, National Guard members, and law enforcement.”

Marion Hammer, former NRA president and current head of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, thinks such a move is punitive and misguided.

“Eighteen-year-olds can vote, purchase a car, sign a legal contract, become a law enforcement officer, join the military and go overseas and die for our country – but they shouldn’t be able to buy a rifle or shotgun for self-defense, hunting or target shooting?” Hammer said in a statement.

On a national level, the NRA is of the same mindset, pointing out that proposals that prevent adults aged 18 to 20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns in effect prohibit them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving millions of their Second Amendment rights.

However, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert have also cited bumping up the minimum age for some long arm sales to 21, among other actions.

Meanwhile, in Congress, ardent gun rights supporters among Capitol Hill Republicans caution there may not be enough support for any age increase. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s powerful Majority Whip, said not only will the move prove difficult, it doesn’t strike at the “root of the problem.” In the House, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, chair of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, argued on Meet the Press over the weekend that the current law limiting handgun sales to those age 21 and over should, in turn, be lowered to 18.

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